The most famous site in the city is Diocletian's Palace. Emperor Diocletian was famous for his cruelty to Christians, and was responsible for Rome's most brutal and bloody purges. There's probably no little irony then that the Christians went and built a great Cathedral on the ruins of his palace.
Since its abandonment by the Romans it has transformed over the years to form an almost symbiotic partnership with the city and its inhabitants. Markets run in its basement, restaurants serve out of its walls, and shops sell goods in its shadow. It's hard to tell one from the other, and it's quite likely that the ruins of the Roman palace became the stones that built the Venetian homes that came later.
As well as being famous for housing a brutal Roman emperor, the palace has another claim to fame: It inspired the Neoclassical architectural movement. Take a look at the palace portico. You'll see that portico design fronting buildings across the UK, USA and USSR where neoclassical buildings were popular.
It was build around 298. AC when the Roman imperator Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus decided to start the construction of the grand villa in the bay of Split on the Dalmatian coast nearby (5 kilometres) his birth place - Salona.... His reign was remembered by great reforms. The most important one was, the system of the rule of four (two Caesars and two Augusts). Diocletian was the first emperor in history to abdicate willingly, but also he was a big Christian persecutor.
Diocletian was declared to be divinity by the Roman senate while he was still very much alive. As a Jupiter's son he retreated himself to his fortified residence in Split where he treats his rheumatics at sulphurs and thermal springs.
The palace occupies an area of about 30 000 square meters. It is rectangular and was originally fortified by 16 towers. At the same time it was residence of an emperor (villa rustica) and Roman fortification (castrum) with army troops.
After Diocletian's death the palace remained under the Roman imperial jurisdiction until 480.
Carrarina poljana, which occupaing northern part of the former Diocletianus Palace, was never planned to be a square. In fact, the only open space inside the palace planned to be a square was the imperial Peristyle. When passing throughout the Golden Gate you will find yourself at an open air space which is very pitoresque but in some way look alike unfinished. This empty space was created in the beginning of the 19th century when Napoleon conquest Dalmatia and his army crashed down pre-excisting medieval houses. That is why you can't see around any fancy facade of the buildings which usually overlooking carefully planned squares.
Nowadys this square has usual Split's "crazy" alike life style during a year but in the summer it is part of the Split Festival, using for performing plays called folk theater.
Grisogono - Cipci Palace is one of the most interesting building in whole of Split. It is fine example of incorporeting a new built building in already excisting ancient structure of the Diocletianus palace. This palace is unique and real mixture of a very different architectural styles from different ages. Here you could see late-Antique style - Romanesque - late-Gothic - Renaissance - Baroque, all in one and yet so harmonious.
The palace belonging to the noble Grisogono family, the oldest living family in Dalmatia. In the 14th century the northern part of the palace was acquired by another noble family Cipci (or Cipiko), who restored it in a Gothic style.
It seems that even great builder Jurij Dalmatinac took his part in redesigning this palace, although there excist no written records about it. Another rumour says that the upper floor of the palace was designed by another great builder, Nikola Firentinac.
The ground floor of the palace is occupied by the cafe-bar Luxor and you shouldn't miss to entrance inside of it. There on its floor you can see the remains of an ancient temple.
The upper side of the palace is... a fabulous mess.
A whole town has grown inside it, with some original remains, as the peristyle and Jupiter's temple, side by side with posterior constructions, some classified, as the cathedral built upon Diocletian's mausoleum.
To complete the scene, the town lives, in bars, shops and crowds wandering all around.
To my money Cipriano de Ciprianis is the most beautiful palace in whole of Split. This a very simple late-Romanesque styled building from 1394 used to be home of noble family originally from island of Korcula. There is beautiful statue to St. Anthony standing on the corner of the palace, but the building is unique for its six parts windows (heksaforas) which decarating its first floor from the both sides.
The palace stands on the corner of Narodin Trg, right next to the Western Gates.
The story of the people and the walls last so long, since the very beginning. Most of the historians agree that the civilisation has begun when humans started to built the walls. But let's be ironical did they built the walls for protection of the invasion or it was built to obstruct colonisation of those who aren't welcomed?
Let us see how we stand regarding the city or state walls today? Yeah, nowadays we dont built the walls anymore, but what is visa system if not the walls?
Vestibul is originally latin word for the entrance, in fact it was entrance hall to the Diocletianus rooms. It used to serve as a foyer in which guests and visitors waited to meet the Emperor. At its time vestibul was richly adorned in a such a way to impress the visitors. Imagine it, as is now, but completely panelled by the marble and adorned by numerous sculptures.
Vestibul was located in the central part of the Diocletianus Palace, right behind the Peristyle. It is spacious round room and no roof on its top.
Very well preserved the subterranean helps to have an approximated idea of the palace's concept. It evidences the huge size of the original buildings, and shows the techniques of construction, though it's hard to understand the use of most of the rooms.
A reasonably large craft commerce is installed in its entrance.
The Roman Emperor Diocletian built his palace in preparation for his retirment in May 305 AD by the bay area of Split. The rectangular palace complex consisted of a villa, a military camp, gates and towers and is encircled by fortification walls. The cathedral's belfy was added in the 12th Century.
Today you can wander through the palace and its enclosed mazes and space. In the complex there is a tourist information office and also are markets, shops, cafes and restaurants.
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