WHS: Split with the Palace of Diocletian, Croatia

Last time we left off at the Stari Grad Plain catching the ferry back to the mainland — and as it happens, the ferry takes you directly to the city of Split, which is itself a World Heritage Site, and an extension on the Tentative List, fusing Roman and medieval construction:

Historical Complex of Split with the Palace of Diocletian

Diocletian’s Palace and the Historical Nucleus of Split (extension)

Split, Croatia

 

The ruins of Diocletian’s Palace, built between the late 3rd and the early 4th centuries A.D., can be found throughout the city. The cathedral was built in the Middle Ages, reusing materials from the ancient mausoleum. Twelfth- and 13th-century Romanesque churches, medieval fortifications, 15th-century Gothic palaces and other palaces in Renaissance and Baroque style make up the rest of the protected area.

 The channel of the Diocletian Aqueduct that brought the water to the palace had a cross section of 0.75 m x 1.60 m, and made us of a free fall from the 33 m high Jadro Spring, by Solin, over the 9 km long path to the Palace. Some 1500 litres of water a second (or 129,600 cubic metres a day) flowed through the aqueduct, which according to today’s standards would serve a city of 173,000. It is still used by the city of Split. Constantine Porphyrogenitus, Imperial author, stated in the 10th century that the water of Solin “was the best tasting of all water, as those who have tasted it aver”, adding that Diocletian’s family was from Solin. The arcade of the aqueduct in Dujmovaca was used in the Middle Ages as a striking topographic landmark: the land of the Split nuns of St Benedict, for example, was described in the 11th century as being located by and above the great arches (super magnos arcus) or below the “ruined arches” (supra minimos arcus)…

This time around we just drove by, as we’d originally tramped the Diocletian’s Palace grounds way waaay back in 1988, back when it was still Yugoslavia and the concept of “tourism” was pretty much a novel one in these parts…

… and any pictures we took then, well who knows where they’ve gotten to in the last quarter-century, so for this post we’ll head over to Wikimedia Commons and grab a couple public domain pictures of the highlights we remember:

Eastern (Silver) Gate

East Gate, Split, Croatia

The Peristyle of Diocletian’s Palace

Diocletians Mausoleum, Split, Croatia

And of course you want to climb the heights of Cathedral and Bell Tower of St. Domnius — you can see that in the center of our lead vista above — as well as descend to the depths of the Underground of Diocletian’s Palace

… although that last, that sure sounds like it has changed a lot since we were there. “We only visited the free part of the underground area which is full of stalls selling jewelry and souvenirs…”? In 1988, there was like a watchman who made sure you had a light with you, and then you were off on your own to ramble around in the spooky underworld — construction rivalling anything famous in Italy, except completely deserted. How things change, indeed.

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p dir=”ltr”>But nostalgia aside, to most people these days with Game of Thrones tours and all Split is much more their idea of a holiday destination than it was back in the Communist days, and the edifices are as magnificent as they were then; we thoroughly recommend Split as a stop not to miss on your Croatian travels!

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Alex Curylo

Alex

I go places.

Comments

  1. […] in these parts and the city completely free of Western visitors except for us; so like at Split we decided to preserve our memories of visiting back in those pre-touristy days and this time […]

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