Diocletian's Palace

Split, Croatia

Considered to be one of the most imposing Roman ruins, Diocletian’s palace is certainly the main attraction of the city of Split. The ruins of palace, built between the late 3rd and the early 4th centuries A.D., can be found throughout the city. Today the remains of the palace are part of the historic core of Split, which in 1979 was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

While it is referred to as a 'palace' because of its intended use as the retirement residence of Diocletian, the term can be misleading as the structure is massive and more resembles a large fortress: about half of it was for Diocletian's personal use, and the rest housed the military garrison.

Architecture

The palace has a form of an irregular rectangle with numerous towers on the western, northern, and eastern facades. The southern façade has no towers, because it was rising directly from the waters of the sea. The design of the palace is a mix of villa and castrum architecture. The Emperor’s apartments were located on the southern part of the complex - along the seaside.

Only the foundation and lower floors of these apartments have survived to our days. Diocletian’s octagonal mausoleum (later was reconstructed into a Christian church - one of the oldest in the world) and 3 temples were also located in the southern part of the palace. One of the temples was later turned into a baptistery, the other two were destroyed.

On the crossroad of the two main roads of the palace, the so called Peristyle is located. The Peristyle is a rectangular open court decorated with colonnade and intended to become the heart of the palace, where the most powerful Roman citizens were gathering. 

Here and there in the palace one can find antiques, including three 3500 years old sphinxes, brought to Split from Egypt for the Emperor.

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Details

Founded: 4th century AD
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Croatia

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Tabita Todea (4 months ago)
A wonderful historical place right in the old town of Split. It is nice that it is free so you can walk freely and admire the ruins, the buildings and the medieval architecture. It is very nicely preserved, worth admiring both on a cloudy or sunny day. It is very close to the port and if you search a bit you can find even free parking spaces not to far from it. I truly recommend visiting this if you are passing through Split - it is more like an open space with streets to walk - you don’t feel like you entered the palace. I can’t wait to come back and get lost there. It is truly amazing. I loved the architecture especially.
Marina Ilijevic (5 months ago)
Try to wake up early in the morning or late in the night to really enjoy this marvelous piece of architecture without tourists around
Даниил Лубкин (5 months ago)
I would say that this is one of the most unique places that I have ever seen! Trough it you can see whole history of medieval Croatia. Originally it was built by Emperor of Roman Empire Diocletian. He separated empire in four parts and resigned to live his life in peace. Entire town on 10000 people was built for him. He lived and died peacefully here. Than this building was used as court house. In early medieval era it was captured by barbarians than Slavs, than Venetians, Hungarians, French, Austrians and finally independent. You can feel all this standing in center of square. Old temples of Roman times became Christina temples; materials stones and blocks were used to build small houses of Medieval period. Massive ancient walls now host apartments and stores and Sphinx captured from Egypt lie near entrance to restaurants. Visit it and see how one place can be inhabited and incorporated by so many cultures! Diocletian place is about culture and about Europe itself!
Steven (5 months ago)
What a beautiful area, every street is full of charm and the square with the main buildings is so impressive. It has a few little areas to explore, the only downside is they have split every section into separate admittance fee. We bought the ticket that covers all of them. After doing the main part we were looking for the others we had access to only to find we had already done them. I felt there was a bit of mis selling here.
Pavel Smetana (6 months ago)
Main historical tourist attraction of Split. The main ticket has entrance to 5 things, only the cathedral and bell tower are worthy though. Behind the cathedral there is ice cream shop with the best ice-cream I had in Croatia so far.
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Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.

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