Diocletian's Palace is an ancient palace built for the Roman Emperor Diocletian at the turn of the fourth century AD, that today forms about half the old town of Split, Croatia. While it is referred to as a palace because of its intended use as the retirement residence of Diocletian, the term can be misleading as the structure is massive and more resembles a large fortress: about half of it was for Diocletian's personal use, and the rest housed the military garrison. Diocletian built the massive palace in preparation for his retirement on 1 May 305 AD. It lies in a bay on the south side of a short peninsula running out from the Dalmatian coast, four miles from Salona, the capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia. The terrain slopes gently seaward and is typical karst, consisting of low limestone ridges running east to west with marl in the clefts between them.In November 1979 UNESCO, in line with the international convention on cultural and natural heritage, adopted a proposal that the historic city of Split built around the Palace should be included in the register of World Cultural Heritage.In November 2006 the City Council decided to permit over twenty new buildings within the palace including a shopping and garage complex, although the palace had been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Monument. It is said that this decision was politically motivated and largely due to lobbying by local property developers. Once the public in 2007 became aware of the project, they petitioned against the decision and won. No new buildings, shopping center or the underground garage was built. he World Monuments Fund has been working on a conservation project at the palace, including surveying structural integrity and cleaning and restoring the stone and plasterwork. The palace is depicted on the reverse of the Croatian 500 kuna banknote, issued in 1993.
The Diocletian Palace Substructures represent one of the best preserved ancient complexes of their kind in the world, and hence are in many ways responsible for the reason the historical core of Split was in 1979 included on the UNESCO'S World Heritage list. In the Roman times, their function was to elevate the Emperor's chambers on the floor above, but they were also the storage area for the Palace. Being structurally a faithful replica of the chambers above, they enable a faithful reconstruction of the way the Emperor's chambers looked like.In the early Middle Ages a part of them was used as a residential area, and in one of the halls, parts of an ancient oil and wine press were found, remaining exhibited in the same spot to this day. With the residence construction within the Palace, the Substructures were turned into a waste pit for those households built above them. Cleaning of the Substructure's halls was conceived and commenced in the mid 19th century by an architect Vicko Andrić, the first Split and Croatian conservationist, and today they have been excavated and reconstructed to the sixties of the last century. Only the eastern part became open to the public relatively recently, in May 1995. The entrance to the halls of the Substructures today is through Porta Aenea, from the Riva, or down the stairs from the Peristyle. Today the Substructures are full of life. They regularly host painting and sculpture exhibitions, theatre plays, fairs like the International Flower Fair, gastronomic and oenological presentations, and many other social and cultural events. The central hall, representing the main communication line between the Riva and the Peristyle, is a place to buy valuable souvenirs, and the rest of the Substructures is open for sightseeing as one of the greatest attractions of Split, frequently, besides Peristyle, a synonym for Diocletian Palace.
Marjanis a hill on the peninsula of the city of Split
largest city of Croatia's Dalmatia region. It is covered in a dense Mediterranean pine forest and completely surrounded by the city and the sea, making it a unique sight. Originally used as a park by the citizens as early as the 3rd century, it is a favorite weekend excursion destination and a recreational center for the city. It is also the setting for numerous beaches and jogging trails as well as tennis courts and the city Zoo, all surrounded by the scenic forest. Marjan is 178 m tall and offers a view of the entire city, the surrounding islands, and the nearby mountains of Mosor and Kozjak.In ancient times Emperor Diocletian built his palace a few minutes walk from Marjan. This opulent palace-city was actually inhabited by up to 8,000 to 10,000 people, who required parks and recreation space, Diocletian, therefore, organized some areas of Marjan nearer to the palace as a park. There is also a small rustic early 13th century AD church situated on Marjan Hill. The church is dedicated to St. Nicholas a favorite saint of fishermen, of which there are many in Split. Two and a half kilometers further along the path that runs along the south rim of Marjan is the fifteenth-century church of St. Jerome. The church has an altar carved by Andrija Aleši. Built into clefts in the cliffs directly above and behind St. Jerome is a group of Renaissance hermitage caves, first used in the 15th century. On the eastern slopes of the Marjan, just above the city, is Split’s old Jewish cemetery. First established in 1573, the cemetery has over 700 graves, with readable tombstones from the eighteenth to twentieth centuries, the last burial taking place in 1945 when it was closed and protected as a monument Marjan has become a symbol of Split in the last century and a half, before that it was considered an ordinary part of the landscape. As the city grew, however, it was left out because of its rocky and difficult terrain, and became, in effect, a part of the wilderness next to the very center of the city. Soon the citizens started to frequent it as a picnic spot and a romantic retreat, its many beaches adding to its popularity as well. During the Second World War, Marjan was the subject of a popular Partisan song Marjane, Marjane, sung by the Split members of that anti-fascist movement and was reportedly a favorite song of resistance leader and future president of the new SFR Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito. Indeed, the flamboyant Partisan leader was so fond of the hill itself, he chose it as the site for the summer residence of the Yugoslav president, the Vila Dalmacija. In the 1950s, during the period of second Yugoslavia, the Federal Government, in conjunction with local Split authorities, undertook a massive project for the transformation of the entire wild hill into a forest park. The hill was intensively forested, many recreational facilities were built, including jogging tracks, a road system encircling the peninsula, a maritime research institute, the Split City Zoo, botanical garden and a water pipeline reaching all the way to the top of the hill. The authorities also constructed the city weather station and two vidilice, or look-out points, as resting places connected with a long stairway all the way to the Diocletian's Palace, the Riva promenade and the rest of the city center. On the south side of the Marjan is the Meštrović Gallery housed in the former villa of Ivan Meštrović, thought by many to be one of the greatest sculptors of religious subjects since the Renaissance.