Photo by JTB Photo Group/age fotostock
The focal point of Split, this 1,700-year-old Roman palace is nestled on the Adriatic seafront and protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. Roman Emperor Diocletian built the palace as his seaside retirement home, and across the centuries since, many conquerors have taken refuge within its thick walls. Today, some 2,000 residents live within the palace's boundaries, making it a lively urban quarter. Getting lost in the labyrinthine streets of the palace is the best way to explore downtown: You will stumble across lively cafés and shops tucked into millennia-old buildings. Check out the Peristil, an imperial square framed by two colonnades where Diocletian once addressed the public. Towering above the square is Split’s landmark, a 187-foot-tall belfry you can climb up to take in panoramic views of the town.
By Anja Mutic, AFAR Local Expert
This is Diocletian's Palace situated near the Adriatic Sea in the Croatian town of Split. This is one of the most impressive attractions in Croatia and is pulsing with life. The labyrinth like walkways inside the palace walls are alive with commerce. Pictured here is the central square of the palace which is near the entrance of Diocletian's quarters. The palace can be tricky to navigate on your own so a map is recommended. But, if you do get lost, my host recommended that I should always walk downhill which would eventually lead me to the harbor...a sure way to help regain your bearings (I had to do this three time and it worked!). Colin Roohan traveled to Croatia courtesy of Croatian National Tourist Board, Istria Tourist Board, Split Dalmatia County Tourist Board, VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations and Delta Air Lines. His highlights are part of AFAR’s partnership with The United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA), whose members provide travelers with unparalleled access, insider knowledge, peace-of-mind, value and freedom to enjoy destinations across the entire globe. See more about Colin’s trip at the USTOA blog
By Colin Roohan, AFAR Ambassador
People Watching in Split
One of the top tourist destinations in Croatia, Split has a lot to offer from ancient Roman palaces to ferries from which you can start your island explorations in earnest. One of the focal points of tourist activities in Split is the massive boardwalk or Riva. During the day it’s a great place to people watch and grab a bite but at night it comes alive with party-goers and friends out for a quick drink.
By Matt Long
Split--in all its greatness
I snagged this shot up on a hill overlooking the Split harbor and Diocletian's Palace. I loved the tiled roofs, the beautiful blue water, and the perfectly, ancient buildings.
I found this so funny. In the town of Split in Croatia even the grafitti has a "split" personality. They love it - they hate it. Either way it made for a fun photo.
We took the 1Kuna tour in Split and we learned a lot about Diocletian's Palace. Our guide liked to point out that there are a lot of people that still live within the palace walls and those people use some of the ruins. This column is now an outside table!
By Diana Powell
Peristyle At Dawn
I took advantage of jetlag to get up very early in the morning while staying in Split, and venture through Diocletian's palace. You gain a whole new perspective when there are no people. It is extremely quiet, almost peaceful. The stones on the plaza at the Peristyle look wet, but are in fact polished from millions of footsteps. The bells of the Cathedral of St. Dominus ring loudly, signaling the start of every morning, and tourists begin to flock within the palace walls.
Just before the Belltower at the Cathedral of St. Dominus closed, we were able to purchase entry and climb the stairs. It just so happened to be the night that the city was celebrating Croatia's admittance into the European Union earlier in the summer. While at the top of the belltower, professional climbers ventured out onto the exterior and unfurled a giant EU flag so that the entire city could see it. It was quite amazing to see the city from this high up, but to also witness such a moment was pretty amazing.
As night time falls in Diocletian's Palace, local musicians come out to serenade tourists dining among Roman & Venetian ruins.
Take a Walking Tour of Diocletian's Palace in Seaside Split, Croatia
In Split, Croatia, residents’ ancestries can be just as intriguing as the remnants of the city’s Roman palace – something that we discovered on a superb walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our host for the afternoon, history-teacher-turned-guide, Dino Ivančić, exuded passion for Split’s history, yet we found that he’s rather modest about his own. Incredibly, Dino’s roots in Split go back more than 1,000 years. Dino whisked us past what still remains of the Palace of Roman Emperor Diocletian – its walls, basement, Mausoleum (now the St. Duje Cathedral), Peristyle, Vestibule, and Jupiter’s Temple (now the baptistery). Afterwards, we enjoyed a traditional Dalmatian lunch at the nearby and cozy Konoba Varos restaurant. For the full details: http://triciaannemitchell.com/2014/01/04/diocletian-palace-split-walking-tour/ Our video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkMNS9FQVKw
Diocletian's Palace in Split was amazing! I was lucky enough to have my apartment within the palace walls.
The Diocletian's Palace was built as a massive structure, much like a Roman military fortress. Standing on either side of these walls which is as high as 20 metres, gives me an amazing feeling of what life was and has been, and what life is and should be.
By AFAR Traveler
One of the buildings in the Square has been converted into a cinema while another is a high-end restaurant. With red on all sides, this is definitely one of most beautiful squares that I have seen in Croatia.
By AFAR Traveler
Some of the Most Amazing Views of Split
My boyfriend and I arrived in Split early in the morning from that big ferry liner in the back of the picture. We had to wait before we could check into our hotel, so we decided to wonder around the old city. In the city center is this amazing ancient Roman palace, complete with a bell tower. We paid the small fee to enter and climbed all the way to the top, taking some amazing shots of this incredible view. You can see the city in all four directions, which is absolutely breathtaking!
It is believed that the floor plan of the palace cellars mimicked the emperor’s sleeping quarters, which were located directly above. The cellars were originally used to store supplies, but today souvenir stalls have set up under the ancient vaulted ceilings. Spanning the palace's southern half, the substructure can be accessed from its southern walls through the Brass Gate or from Peristil Square.
By Anja Mutic, AFAR Local Expert
My Game Of Thrones Highlight - Day 4
We dedicated the last day of our tour to walk around Split. We found our guide waiting for us the entrance to the Diocletian’s Cellars that us a UNESCO world heritage site. The cellars are the best-preserved monument of the medieval Emperor. Daenery’s kept her dragons inside the cellars, Sir Barristan Selmy’s life ended here, Grey Worm’s injury and the battle between the Unsullied and the sons of Harpy were also taped here.
By AFAR Traveler
Dioklecijanova ul. 1, 21000, Split, Croatia
+385 98 251 610