Diocletian’s Palace with stunning Cathedral St. Domnius in the background is what you see in most photographs of Split. The palace isn’t only beautiful but also fascinating! I’ve never experienced anything like it and thanks to a change in accommodation my apartment is now in the center of the walled palace complex. There was noisy construction on a flat above me, so I moved to a different apartment yesterday morning.
The new apartment is a walk-up on Majstora Jurjan Street in a stone building within the walls of the Diocletian’s Palace. It’s like living on a side street in Venice. The apartment is small but in a really exciting location! There are cafés and shops right below my window and ancient ruins around the corner. I look out on Café Teak and found an interesting Internet write-up about it. The apartment shutters and windows can be open or closed and the windows have quadruple panes to block noise from below.
Diocletian’s Palace isn’t like other European palaces. It’s a city within a working city. The palace is one of Croatia’s top attractions and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. It is valued for Gothic and baroque buildings dating from the Middle Ages as for its Roman origins.
The palace is a functioning commercial and residential center. In the 7th century people fled to the walled palace to escape invaders.
“Emperor Diocletian was Dalmatia’s most outstanding contribution to the Roman Empire. He retired to his birthplace (Salona), and built a monumental fortified palace. Construction began in 295. For ten years the emperor oversaw the quarrying of stone from the neighboring Island of Brac. Poised between the classical and the medieval Christian civilization, Diocletian’s Palace is a compendium of all the styles that preceded it.”
“The symmetrical layout of the structure with its two intersecting streets is classical but most of the palace reflects the eclecticism of late antiquity. Part imperial villa and part fortified camp, the palace is remarkable for its diverse forms, which include the:
- Cathedral St. Domnius an Octagonal Domed Mausoleum
- Rectangular Temple of Jupiter
- Cruciform Lower Level Vestibule
- Circular Temples to Cybele and Venus
The vast Roman Empire of late antiquity easily absorbed foreign influences, apparent in the Egyptian sphinxes outside the Temple of Jupiter and mausoleum, rebuilt as the Cathedral of St. Domnius.”
“The ceremonial entrance court is the Peristil, a rectangle at the level of the surrounding streets. Six granite columns and two piers with Corinthian capitals line the longer sides. Aches decorated with a stone frieze link the columns. Several medieval buildings which fit within the ancient columns enclose the western side of the rectangle.”
Today the entrance court is a popular meeting place for locals and visitors. The area comes alive at night with live music outside the cafés – a wonderful way to end the day.