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.
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.References:
The famous Italian Medici family have given two queens to France: Catherine, the spouse of Henry II, and Marie, widow of Henry IV, who built the current Luxembourg palace. Maria di Medici had never been happy at the Louvre, still semi-medieval, where the fickle king, did not hesitate to receive his mistresses. The death of Henry IV, assassinated in 1610, left the way open for Marie's project. When she became regent, she was able to give special attention to the construction of an imposing modern residence that would be reminiscent of the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens in Florence, where she grew up. The development of the 25-hectare park, which was to serve as a jewel-case for the palace, began immediately.
The architect, Salomon de Brosse, began the work in 1615. Only 16 years later was the palace was completed. Palace of Luxembourg affords a transition between the Renaissance and the Classical period.
In 1750, the Director of the King's Buildings installed in the wing the first public art-gallery in France, in which French and foreign canvases of the royal collections are shown. The Count of Provence and future Louis XVIII, who was living in Petit Luxembourg, had this gallery closed in 1780: leaving to emigrate, he fled from the palace in June 1791.
During the French Revolution the palace was first abandoned and then moved as a national prison. After that it was the seat of the French Directory, and in 1799, the home of the Sénat conservateur and the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul of the French Republic. The old apartments of Maria di Medici were altered. The floor, which the 80 senators only occupied in 1804, was built in the middle of the present Conference Hall.
Beginning in 1835 the architect Alphonse de Gisors added a new garden wing parallel to the old corps de logis, replicating the look of the original 17th-century facade so precisely that it is difficult to distinguish at first glance the old from the new. The new senate chamber was located in what would have been the courtyard area in-between.
The new wing included a library (bibliothèque) with a cycle of paintings (1845–1847) by Eugène Delacroix. In the 1850s, at the request of Emperor Napoleon III, Gisors created the highly decorated Salle des Conférences, which influenced the nature of subsequent official interiors of the Second Empire, including those of the Palais Garnier.
During the German occupation of Paris (1940–1944), Hermann Göring took over the palace as the headquarters of the Luftwaffe in France, taking for himself a sumptuous suite of rooms to accommodate his visits to the French capital. Since 1958 the Luxembourg palace has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic.