Croatia // Split and the south Dalmatian coast //

Diocletian’s Palace

Adapted long ago to serve as Split’s town centre, Diocletian’s Palace (see map) is certainly not an archeological “site”. Although set-piece buildings such as Diocletian’s mausoleum (now the cathedral) and the Temple of Jupiter (now a baptistry) still remain, other aspects of the palace have been tinkered with so much by successive generations that it is no longer recognizable as an ancient Roman structure. Little remains of the imperial apartments, although the medieval tenements, shops and offices that have taken their place were built in large part using stones and columns salvaged from Diocletian’s original buildings. Despite its architectural pedigree, the palace area hasn’t always been the most desirable part of the city in which to live. During the interwar period it was dubbed the get (“ghetto”) and – abandoned to the urban poor, down-at-heel White Russian émigrés and red-light bars – became synonymous with loose morals and shady dealings. Nowadays the palace area is once more the centre of urban life, hosting a daily melee of tourists and shoppers.

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