Results 1-4of 4 Reviews
April 18, 2010
Newcastle upon Tyne, England, United Kingdom
November 14, 2009
From journal Sun, Sea and Sight-Seeing in Split
by Owen Lipsett
New York, New York
June 25, 2005
The old walls of the palace are still visible (and impressive) in many places. The best way to get some sense of what must have been an impressive structure is to walk along the Riva, and then duck down through the relatively anonymous Bronze Gate and walk down a flight of stairs. In Diocletian’s time, the sea came up to the edge of the palace, so boats would have docked here. The vaulted subterranean halls, which today are mostly given over to knick-knack stands (although you can visit some empty ones for a fee) are impressive largely for their size, but they’re of interest because their floor plans are believed to present a mirror image of the imperial living quarters that were directly them. At their end you emerge up another flight of stairs into the Peristyle, and this was the central courtyard of the palace (and remains its best-preserved area). Today it’s a much photographed square and popular meeting place.
The small domed building directly above these stairs is the Vestibule – which gives a good sense of how the complex’s minor structures must have looked. To the right, a pair of amazingly well-preserved black sphinxes guard what was originally Diocletian’s Mausoleum. Ironically, as the Campanile attests, it’s now the world’s oldest Christian Cathedral, dedicated to St. Dominus. Although a choir was added to the original tomb, the building is quite shallow and still feels more like a mausoleum than a church. In a further affront to the legacy of Diocletian, who particularly loathed Christians, the former Temple of Jupiter, located down an alley opposite the Cathedral, is now its attractive Baptistery.
The view from the Campanile offers an excellent insight both into the former size of the Palace and the extent of its decay. It’s no substitute, however, for exploring the Old Town’s streets, which contain a fascinating jumble of buildings, many of which make use of or build upon the original Roman structure. Unlike most archaeological sites, which are literally and figuratively roped off, Diocletian’s Palace lives on as the heart of this compelling city.
From journal Split: Fascinating Gateway to Croatia’s Islands
June 27, 2003
There is a main gateway on the four sides (Iron Gate to the west, Golden Gate to the north, Silver Gate to the east, Bronze Gate on the south), each in a different sort of condition. The Bronze Gate once was adjacent to the Adriatic Sea, long before the appearance of the waterfront promenade. If you are in town long enough, you will go through each of these gates at least once. If you are coming from the Riva, you will stroll through dark vaulted basement cellars, which served as cool apartments for the emperor. These are now lined with vendors selling artworks, postcards, books, and assorted crafts. This is a good place to hide from the heat or from any sudden downpours.
Emerging from the steps of the cellars, you arrive at a round vestibule that has lost its dome but otherwise gives you an idea of the grandness of the scale. The colonnaded Peristyle, once the central courtyard of the palace, is nowadays filled with tourists sitting at cafes or snapping photos of the surrounding buildings. The straightforward classicism of the temple facade gives the square a historical authority that makes you feel like you are part of the Roman Empire. The Mausoleum of Diocletian (now the Split Cathedral) and the attractive Bell Tower of St. Domnius is on the eastern edge of the Peristyle. Buildings that have modified but have not destroyed the integrity of the original arched colonnades have filled up the west wall. The ruins have been recycled to become a part of the city fabric that is Split.
An alley across from the cathedral leads to the Temple of Jupiter. This temple, fronted by another sphinx and hemmed in by various constructions over the years, is now a baptistery. Meander amongst the amazing maze of a town and you will eventually find it.
From journal Bill in Croatia - SPLIT