Posted by: travelrat | April 8, 2016

Diocletian’s Palace

Diocletian's Palace

Split: 9th April 2015

The tour included a guided walk through Diocletian’s Palace. Now, I remember from school that Diocletian was one of the most evil blots ever to rule Rome. But, we didn’t learn that in History or Latin; we learnt it in Religious Education, because he did nasty things to Christians. He might have been quite a nice chap otherwise!

He was born in what is now Croatia, where his father was a humble scribe, but rapidly rose to become a highly influential commander, from which position, he was proclaimed Emperor (helped, it was rumoured, by a murder or two along the way).  He quickly realised, though, that the Roman Empire had become too unwieldy to govern on his own, so he appointed one Maximilian to be co-Emperor with him.

He’s mainly noted for his attempts to reform the Government, and hold together the crumbling Roman Empire, with some success. But, the efforts wore him out, and he abdicated on 305 AD, becoming the first Roman Emperor to do so voluntarily.

It was to here that he retired, to a palace he’d had built near his birthplace. But, although they call it a ‘palace’, it’s really a ‘city within a city’; a whole complex, somewhat reminiscent of the Forbidden City in Beijing.

It’s not, however, an Ancient Monument, with someone standing by to ensure you don’t photograph or make away with the exhibits. People live and work here. There are hotels and residences within its walls, also shops and boutiques … and, of course, souvenir shops and stalls, but all among some magnificent architecture.

The Vestibule, through which the residential part of the Palace was entered, is rectangular on the outside, but circular on the inside, with the roof open to the skies. It was probably chosen for its acoustic properties, for here, a choir of monks waited, to give an a capella rendering of some traditional Dalmatian songs, at the end of which, one of the brothers held up a placard advertising their CD. Great songs, appropriate to the surroundings, but not really for easy listening, or to do your daily thing by.

Inside Diocletian's Palace

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