Salona Amphitheatre

Solin, Croatia

At the northwest end of Salona’s town limits, subsequently fortified, there is an amphitheatre, which forms part of the town defence system. Its remains are comparatively well-preserved, showing the benefits of the well known reconstruction made by the Danish archaeologist Ejnar Dyggve. 

Dyggve considers that the amphitheatre was designed by Roman architects who performed similar tasks elsewhere too, and that it was built in the second half of the second century AD. Today, we can see only the lower parts of its large walls, largely reconstructed in the 1950s. During the Venetian époque, it was intentionally damaged to prevent it from being used by the Turkish units during their war with Venice in the 16th and the 17th centuries. After that, it was used as a quarry from where stone for house building was being taken, like in many other places.

It is believed that it could have accommodated about fifteen thousand, or even more, spectators. In order to enable fast entrance to and evacuation from the auditorium, a double system of communications was designed: radial, as related to the building ellipse, and circular, as related to the levels of the seat rows. Such a system is quite often at large sports’ stadiums of today. Because of its location along the northern and, partly, the western town walls. Its main entrances must have been in the south and the east walls, which is a deviation from the system comprising two entrances in the east – west longitudinal axis. On its northern side, it stood on elevated soil, some of the walls built on marl (still visible) having therefore no foundations, unlike the other sides. On the southern side, and also on parts of the western and eastern sides, it had three floors: two with arcades and the third with rectangular windows.

In the vicinity of the amphitheatre, to its south, there was a cemetery for gladiators killed in the arena. From their epitaphs, we learn their names, origins, homelands and fighting specialities.

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Founded: 2nd century AD
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Croatia

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solin-info.com

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User Reviews

Igor Kos (14 months ago)
Beautiful ancient Roman amphitheatre
Steve Fletcher (15 months ago)
Stunning piece of history great to walk about
Emile K (16 months ago)
Really nice quiet place away from tourists. You can park here for free and walk around the rest of ruins.
Luke Phang (20 months ago)
You don't have to visit the Colosseum in Rome to be able to see a Roman Amphitheater now. While the conditions may not be as well-kept as the one in Rome, it is quite a historical place to be, looking at the ruins of a civilisation so long ago. It's also quite amazing that how this place, despite its historical significance, is not as touristy yet, so the area is relatively calm and quiet. Really loved it.
Pablo Sanz (2 years ago)
A magnificent discovery when visiting Split. Just a 20-minute local bus trip. There are lots a historical Roman sites in this area, all with their information boards and easily accesible by a gravel path. The amphitheater is fantastic, despite the two house on it. Relaxing place to visit with family if you wish to get away of the tourist hordes.
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