Tuesday 21 Nov 2017


Split is the largest and most important city in Dalmatie, the administrative center of Croatia’s Split-Dalmatia County, and the country's second-largest city. It is a Mediterranean city, situated on a small peninsula on the eastern shores of the Adriatic Sea. Although the beginnings of Split is usually linked to the building of Diocletian’s Palace the city was founded as a Greek colony of Aspálathos much earlier. The Greek settlement lived off trade with the surrounding Illyrian tribes, mostly the Delmatae, who inhabited the (much larger) nearby city of Salona.


In time, the Roman Republic became the dominant power in the region, and conquered the Illyrians. Upon establishing permanent control, the Romans founded the province of Dalmatia with Salona as the capital. The nearby town accordingly changed its name from "Aspálathos" to "Spalatum".After almost dying from a sickness, the Roman Emperor Diocletian, decided to retire from politics in AD 305. The Emperor ordered work to begin on a retirement palace near his hometown, and since he was from the town of Dioclea near Salona, he chose the nearby seaside town of Spalatum for the location. Work on the palace began in AD 293. The palace was built as a massive structure, much like a Roman military fortress. It faces the sea on its south side, with its walls 170 to 200 meters long, and 15 to 20 meters high, enclosing an area of 38,000m². The Emperor retired exactly according to schedule, and became the first Roman emperor to voluntarily remove himself from office. The palace water supply was substantial, fed by an aquaduct from Jadro Springs.

Following the fall of the Wester Roman Empire in AD 476, Spalatum fell under the rule of the Byzantine Emperors. It grew very slowly as a satellite town of the much larger Salona. However, around AD 639 Salona fell to the invasion of Avars and Slavs, and was razed to the ground, with the majority of the displaced citizens fleeing to the nearby Adriatic Islands. Following the return of Byzantine rule to the area, the Romanic citizens returned to the mainland under the leadership of the nobleman known as Severus the Great. They chose to inhabit Diocletian’s Palace in Spalatum, because of its strong (more "medieval") fortifications. The palace was long deserted by this time, and the interior was converted into a city by the Salona refugees, making Spalatum much larger as the successor to the capital city of the province.

mausoleum Split
mausoleum Split
mausoleum Split


Diocletian's PalaceThe ground plan of the palace is an irregular rectangle with towers projecting from the western, northern, and eastern facades. It combines qualities of a luxurious villa with those of a military camp. Only the southern facade, which rose directly from, or very near to, the sea, was unfortified. The elaborate architectural composition of the arcaded gallery on its upper floor differs from the more severe treatment of the three shore facades. A monumental gate in the middle of each of these walls led to an enclosed courtyard. The southern Sea Gate was simpler in shape and dimensions than the other three. Perhaps it was originally intended as the emperor's private access to boats, or as a service entrance for supplies.


The origin of the Croatian name Solin is in Latinized name Salona, having root in the Illyrian language. In the history this name is first mentioned in the year 119 B.C. during the war between Ilyrs and Romans. The time of foundation of this settlement is certainly much earlier. According to old Greek geographer Strabon Salona was the harbour of the Illyrian tribe Dalmati who probably were trading with the Greek seamen. The remains of the walls, objects of the Greek origin found in Salona and its neighborhood referred to the Greeks as the founders of the town. Some writers take a possible time of foundation the 4th century before Christ. It is obviously that very early Salona had a strong Greek influence and for that first period of time it could be said that it was Greek-Illyrian settlement. In the 1st century B.C. Salona was conquered by the Romans. In the civil war between Caesar and Pompey the inhabitants joined the Caesar's side and since he has won the town became a Roman colony with the honourable title 'Colonia Martia Julia Salona'. The town extended from the east to the west getting two new parts: besides the Greek-Illyrian older one, it got new Roman one both to the west and east. Thus from that time the writers used the plural form for the name of Solin - Salonae.
Up to the present time old Solin remains in ruins, only a part of it is investigated, although these unveiled parts prove the size and importance of the city.

old center

old center

Hajduk Split

front palace Diocletian

Diocletian's Palace

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