Split - Roman architecture
Known as one of the most popular tourist destinations on the Adriatic, the city of Split owes its fame to the fact that it’s nestled inside a stunning ancient Roman structure: Diocletian’s Palace, one of the best preserved pieces of Roman architecture in the world.
It was built as a combination of a luxurious villa and a Roman military camp (castrum), with two main streets dividing it in four parts. The southern part of the Palace was reserved for the emperor, whereas his guard occupied the northern part.

The Golden Gate marks the place where the emperor Diocletian entered the Palace on 1 June 305; today, it’s recognized as one of Split’s favorite tourist spots.

The Silver Gate served as a place of entrance to the Palace from the east, whereas today it will take you to Split’s central square (Pjaca). Passing through these gates, the visitors have a chance to walk the original antique pavement on the decumanus – the east-west-oriented type of Roman road.

You can pass through the Palace Substructures on your way to the seaside, and make sure you scout the Vestibule, the old imperial court, which is a monumental sight even to this day.

The Vestibule was used to enter the residential part of the palace. Peristyle, as the central Palace square, was intended for Diocletian who was celebrated as the living son of Jupiter. W

ith the construction of the new city square which included the town hall (Pjaca), Peristyle became a religious centre in the 13th/14th century. Due to its unique beauty and unusual acoustics, it became the ideal theatre location, perfect for opera classics and works of ancient literature, but it also continued to be the place of abundant urban life.

The Diocletian Palace Substructures represent one of the best preserved ancient complexes of this type in the world, which led to UNESCO’s decision to include Split’s historical core on its list of World Heritage sites in 1979.

In the Roman times, the Substructures functioned as elevation ground for the Emperor’s chambers, as well as the storage area for the entire Palace. Structurally a faithful replica of the chambers, they provide a faithful depiction of the Emperor’s quarters so we can now see what they looked like at the time.

Today, the Substructures are a place of exhibitions, theatre plays, fairs, gastronomic and oenological presentations, and many other social and cultural events. In the central hall, the main communication link between the Riva and the Peristyle, tourists can buy valuable souvenirs.

Among all European cathedrals, the one in Split prides itself with being located in one of the oldest buildings of this type – the Mausoleum of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. Mausoleum of the Emperor became a cathedral in the 7th century, and it is interesting to see altars containing relics of St Domnius and St Anastasius (martyrs executed in the nearby city of Solin).

The cathedral today is primarily a place of prayer, with a millennium long continuity, which is best seen during Sunday mass and the renewed splendor of the St Domnius’s day procession – the day of Split’s patron saint.

The bell tower of the Cathedral (57 metres high) is a piece of the 13th century original Dalmatian Medieval architecture and today you can climb its steps all the way to the top of the bell tower, where a spectacular view of the entire Split awaits you.

The main waterfront, lovingly referred to as Riva by the locals, started to look the way it does today two centuries ago, in Napoleon times. This promenade is nowadays Split’s most popular and important public place – it is a pedestrian heaven, filled with cafés and restaurants, an ideal place for a morning or afternoon coffee, or for an evening out with friends. Riva is the centre of Split’s urban life and a venue for numerous cultural and entertainment events.

Marjan, the hill that overlooks the city, has always been the most impressive part of the Split visual imagery. Holy hill, as it is often called, harbors many monuments of sacred and secular architecture which are merged perfectly into this green oasis. It offers peace and tranquility to its visitors, as well as possibilities for recreation and entertainment along its natural pathways and trim-trails.