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Palace of Diocletian

Listed under Medieval Towns in Split, Croatia.

Photo of Palace of Diocletian
Photo by flickr user Jami Dwyer
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At the end of the third century the Roman Emperor Diocletian built his palace on the bay of Aspalathos and after abdicating, spent the remaining years of his life there. The palace today is the heart of the inner-city of Split.

The palace has an important place in architectural history. It lay virtually unknown to many until the architect Robert Adam had the ruins surveyed and with the help of artist and antiquary Charles-Louis Clerisseau and several draughtsmen, published Ruins of the Palace of the Emperor Diocletian at Spalatro in Dalmatia (1764). The palace was an inspiration for Adam’s new style of neoclassical architecture, and the publications of the drawing brought it into the design vocabulary of European architecture for the first time.

The Palace is built of white local limestone and marble of high quality, most of which was from marble quarries on the island of Brac, of tuff taken from the nearby river beds, and of brick made in Salonitan and other factories. Some material for decoration was imported, Egyptian granite columns and sphinxes, fine marble for revetments and some capitals produced in workshops in the Proconnesos. Water for the palace came from the Jadro River near Salona and along the road from Split to Salona the impressive remains of the original Roman aqueduct can still be seen, restored during the 19th century.

The degree of preservation marks the Palace of Diocletian out, being one of the most complete and famous architectural and cultural features on the Adriatic coast, solidifying its place in world heritage.

Written by  John Johnston.

Other expert and press reviews

“Historical Complex of Split with the Palace of Diocletian”

'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 Romanes… Read more...

Written by press. UNESCO

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