Roman emperor’s palace originally had a residential character as a luxurious villa and at the same time was fortified castle. Vertically crossed streets were separating those two parts. Decumanus street even today unites western and eastern gates of the Palace. That half contained the Emperor’s living apartments and religious temples. The northern half was reserved for the garrison.
Cardo street in this case joined northern and southern gates. It is considered that not until 16th century when humanism period dominated did all entrees got their sonorous names: north entrance – Porta Aurea, eastern – Porta Argentea, western – Porta Ferrea, and southern – Porta Aenea Accordingly that means: golden, silver, iron and brass.
Uncovered admittance space in front of the emperor’s quarters is Peristyle. This Central Square was, at that time, surrounded by the Jupiter’s mausoleum (Docletian’s burial place) and shrines consecrated to the Jupiter, Venus and to Cybele. Mausoleum was the largest. Ground plan of this complex on the outside is octagonal, but on the inside it is circular. Diocletian’s body was most probably placed in a porphy sarcophagus, which lay in the centre of the mausoleum. That was in 316 when he died (was it a natural death or maybe suicide we don’t know). Sarcophagus was presumably destroyed at the beginning of 7th century when the neighbouring population from the ruins of Salona came to the Palace and on its foundation forms a mediaeval city. Ironically, last resting place of the emperor who was a persecutor of Christians becomes a cathedral sanctified to a martyr and to a first bishop of Solin, today’s patron saint of Split- St Domnio.
Some twenty years before, in 1427. first altar was made by another great artist - Bonino of Milan. Late-gothic lateral altar of St Domnio is work of sculptor Giovanni Maria Morlaitera from Venice. Sacred relics were carried over from Bonino’s altar in 1770 (three years after this altar was sculptured).
In the Romanesque period the cathedral was much enriched by the woodcarving of the entrance doors. Dalmatian sculptor Andrija Buvina carved twenty-eight panels showing the life of Christ. This was in 1214. His work is the finest of its kind on the eastern Adriatic.
Basic worth of Diocletian’s palace today is in high standard of its conservation. It is the best-preserved complex of late Roman court-like architecture in hole and its particular components. Buildings that erected in a Medieval Age and later centuries with their original antique structure that coalesced to unique whole, also, contributed to the significance of the Palace.
Because all of that and many other reasons historical nucleus of Split along with the Diocletian’s palace was in 1979 included in the UNESCO register of the World’s cultural heritage.
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