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Split, Historical Complex with the Palace of Diocletian

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Split, Historical Complex with the Palace of Diocletian

About the site

Corridor: Via Adriatica
Country: Croatia, Split
Type: Ancient Site, Historic Town
Epoch: Modern Times, Middle Ages, Antiquity
World Heritage: Cultural Heritage
Modern TimesMiddle AgesAntiquityAncient SiteHistoric TownCultural Heritage

The ruins of Diocletian's Palace, built between the late 3rd and the early 4th centuries A.D., can be found throughout the city. The cathedral was built in the Middle Ages, reusing materials from the ancient mausoleum. Twelfth- and 13th-century Romanesque churches, medieval fortifications, 15th-century Gothic palaces and other palaces in Renaissance and Baroque style make up the rest of the protected area.


Split, the second largest town of Croatia, is today one of the most dynamic towns in the country. Situated on the coast of central Dalmatia, its historic port has what is probably the most representative passenger traffic terminal in the Mediterranean. Diocletian’s Palace is one of the most important edifices of late Roman architecture, not only because of the state of preservation of its original elements and of the palace as a whole, but also because of many original architectureal forms which prefigure the new Early Christian, Byzantine and early medieval art. The palace has the shape of a rectangle (ca 215 x 180 m) with two broad, arcaded avenues intersecting at right angles (Cardo i Decumanus) and leading from the centre of the palace to the four gates located in the middle of each of the four sides of the rectangle. The imperial apartments were in the south quadrant to the palace; the gynaeceum Iovensis –a military factory, in which woolen uniforms were made, occupied the northen part. A nine-kilometre long aqueduct brought an ample supply of water from Jadro near Solin. The palace was originally fortified with sixteen towers on the north front, while the south front – featuring monumental arcades and loggias – rose directly from the sea. The main streets meet at the centre of the palace. To the south, continuing on Cardo, is the Peristyle, whose east and west sides are lined with monumental columns with arches, oriented towards the Prothyron and the Vestibulum of the emperor’s apartmnets. The Peistil was located in the centre of the sacral space enclosed by a consecrated wall (temenos). To the east of it is Diocletian’s mausoleum. In its axis, in the west sacral area, is the excellently preserved rectangular Temple of Jupiter with a coffered ceiling.

Expert network

Read more about Split, Historical Complex with the Palace of Diocletian at the Unesco World Heritage List.