The city of Split is the second largest municipality in Croatia, right behind the capital city of Zagreb. Split is located in the Dalmatian region stretching along the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea.
In such a lovely place as this, it’s easy to see why, more than 17 centuries ago, the Roman Emperor Diocletian erected his far-from-modest retirement home. The Diocletian Palace is chock-full of history, and essentially a walk through time. Each period and its culture over the last 1,700 years, are echoed throughout the palace’s 3.3 million square feet.
A Stunning Palace and City
Roman Emperor Diocletian spared no expense on his Palace. He imported marble from Greece and Italy, brought in sphinx from-where else?-Egypt, and spent a fortune on the decor of his massive Palace.
165 years after the death of Diocletian, and upon the fall of the Roman Empire, residents of nearby Salona sought refuge inside The Palace. Their new home was easily transformed into a city and there they remained, the first residents of what would one day become Split.
The Palace is just as much the epicenter of life in Split today as it was 17 centuries ago. In fact, Diocletian’s palace is the birthplace of Split. The Roman Emperor chose to create his “retirement home” with streets, grand reception rooms, a bath house, temple, and elaborate gardens. The infrastructure and sheer enormity of the interior made for a perfect start for a city.
Still Thriving Today
Today the city within a Palace thrives. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, the city of Split makes a wonderful destination. Ancient ruins spanning several hundred years mix with modern life, and people still live in the city inside The Palace
Where once the Emperor Diocletian put to death many a Christian there are now churches. The temple which was originally designed as Diocletian’s final resting place is now the Cathedral of St. Domnius, named for a bishop martyred at the Emperor’s hand. The cathedral is also home to the Archdiocese of Split.
Amid the ancient ruins within the white stone walls of The Palace, there exists a definite hustle and bustle of modern life. People are friendly and eager to show off their one of a kind city. Hotels, cafes, upscale restaurants and bars, homes, and shops beckon visitors, who are quickly embraced as welcomed guests.