Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Split: The Roman Bits

Split is Croatia's second-largest city, capital of the Dalmatian coast, a major tourist destination, and it has a very long history, going back, of course, to the Greek colonists of the 2nd or 3rd centuries BC. Diocletian, one of the more famous/infamous Roman emperors, was born in nearby Salona, and when he decided to retire, and possibly not get assassinated, he built his great fortified retirement palace by the sea at Split, then known as Spalatos. He abdicated in 305 AD and indeed lived another ten years in the palace (with a staff and palace guard numbering in the thousands, of course). The Empire split up, the barbarians invaded, and after they left, in the 7th century, the locals moved back in, converting the fortified palace into their fortified town. For another thousand years, Split was a pawn in the struggles among the Byzantines, the Venetians, the Turks, the Hungarians, the Austrians, the Napoleons, the Germans, the Yugoslavs, et al. It is one of the more dizzying histories I know of, especially since Split generally folded, paid a tribute, and moved on under whatever flag was asendant. Anyhow, Split endured and enough bits of Diocletian's palace endured, and, given the mountain/coastal scenery, the beaches, the protected waters, the fine warm and sunny weather, it became a major tourist destination in these parts. And the rest, as they say, ships. Anyhow, our interest was largely the old town and the palace, so I will split my Split posts between the Roman Bits and the Other Bits.
Driving into Split the night before; below you'll mostly see the old city and
the Roman stuff; most of what's there, however, is Yugoslavian-era buildings,
housing blocks, and so on; but also much new development

Artist's conception of what Diocletian's palace looked like, in its day

Aerial view of today's Split; the outline of the old fortified palace is clearly
visible; over the centuries, people just built into it, over it, around it, on top of it...

After a 5k bus ride in from our campground in Strobec, here we are entering
one of the side portals 

In the peristyle area where most all the well-preserved Roman stuff is

The tower was added in the 11th century, well into the
Christian era at Split

Roman bits almost any place you look in the old town

So Diocletian's mausoleum was converted into a cathedral, in fact, Roman
Catholicism's smallest cathedral; redesigned by the Bishop of Ravenna, whose
cathedral it loosely resembles (he did not get the memo about cruciform
cathedrals); also resembles a bit Charlemagne's church at Aachen; he visited
Ravenna in 800 AD on his victory tour after being name Holy Roman Emporer

Dome, rotunda, totally Roman

Looking from the dome into the tiny chancel/choir


Now in the Christian baptistry/Roman temple of Jupiter

Baptismal tub

More detail

This is on the harbor-view side of the palace; now apartments, B&Bs, what
have you; that's a bit of the Croatian flag in the window...World Cup, you know

Artist's conception of what the harbor side of the palace looked like back when;
have I mentioned that the interpretive language has been great, and in about 8
languages, too? Including English

Helpful bronze model #1,491

Another day, at the main entrance to the palace/old city; note Roman soldier

Part of the wall on that side

Us, there


Tawana said...

I have socks that match the Croatian and white checks. I was told not to wear them in Bosnia!

Mark said...

You should wear them Saturday when the Croats play Russia...Go, Croats!