Why Visit The Beautiful Diocletian’s Palace in Split
You may love to prepare for a journey in advance. You can google most visited attractions, plan sightseeing routes and pin down every museum you want to visit. But there are certain places that are best explored spontaneously, just by going around and choosing the direction as you walk. Places where every turn holds the possibility for adventure and discovery.
There are those places and cities that have monumental skyscrapers and world-known museums. But on the other hand, there are places that are museums for themselves, where every building is an extraordinary installation in a permanent exhibition of art, architecture and history.
Split, the second-largest Croatian city, on the Adriatic coast, definitely fits into the second category. It is a place where a whole afternoon will pass in a blink of an eye as you wander inside of the city walls, exploring its rich its history and culture.
Split is the largest city in Dalmatia, and is at least 17 centuries old. It was mostly an autonomous and free city during the dark medieval days, caught in the middle of a struggle between Venice and Hungary. Its 26 meter high walls protected it against the Ottomans and Split remained one of the last unconquered cities on the Balkans, resisting the great force from the East that overran the peninsula and was stopped just outside the walls of Vienna, at the heart of Europe. Many important and great states contributed to the history of the town and signs of their presence are etched into both the buildings and culture – from Napoleon’s French Empire, Habsburg dynasty of Austria, Italy and Yugoslavia to Croatia.
Don’t go to Split in order to find a palace in the Versailles sense of a museum-palace. Diocletian’s palace, a city’s living hearth, is not a place for mumbled talks and serious academic faces discussing the differences between the Italian and Northern Renaissance! It is an open place that has the form of irregular rectangle, bounded by the city walls, packed with life and activities.
Its labyrinthine streets are filled with people selling hand-made souvenirs or joyfully offering freshly caught fish. You’ll encounter kids playing football among city walls and see locals hang out their washing above the narrow streets. Numerous bars and restaurants are full of lively groups discussing politics, weather and sports. Similar to most places in the world, but amidst an incredible setting!
The Diocletian palace covers 31,000 square meters, it contains 220 buildings within the palace boundaries and is a home to about 3000 people. You can enter the area through one of the four gates, named after a metal – Golden, Bronze, Silver and Iron gates. The Palace was built at the turn of the 4th century and it forms the center of the city of Split. It is actually more a fortress. There is a part designated for Diocletian’s personal use – imperial residence – but it also served as a housing to the military garrison.
Diocletian settled here after he had voluntarily retired on May the 1st 305. Construction lasted for 10 years and you can really sense the eclectic spirit of the Roman Empire – lustrous white stone was brought from the Island of Brač, marble was transported from Italy and Egyptian sphinxes found their new home on the other side of the Mediterranean Sea.
The Palace is not Alone
Just by cruising around the town you will also notice remnants of other eras – 12th and 13th century Romanesque churches, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque palaces, which only add to the rich history of the region. Be sure not to miss the Diocletian’s Mausoleum of the Temple of Jupiter and definitely take some time to hang out in a peristyle, open court, a place for social gatherings and interactions.
The Game Of Thrones
If you are a fan of the show, check out the Game of Thrones tour, which follows locations where certain episodes were shot. Try not to use maps and be sure to check the Palace during the night, when illuminated marble and limestone echoes from the sounds of music made by people in Roman togas. A genuine Mediterranean scenario.
We here from Click To Croatia can offer you some cool options for accommodation in Split and would love to see your vacation photos