Croatia , Bosnia, Montenegro-05/11-5/19/2019

Split -Old Town-5/14/2019

Strossmayer Park

Strossmayer's Park (a.k.a Đardin) is outside the Golden Gate in the north wall of Diocletian's Palace.  This tree-shaded park is bounded by two remnants of Venetian fortifications built in the 1660s: Bastion Cornaro on the west and Bastion Contarini St. Girolamo on the east.

This area takes over the function of the main city garden in 1859, and in mid-20th century a beautiful fountain was added with the so called "Putto" (a figure resembling an angel). The present outlook is the result of the last renovations in 2002, with the lyrics of a great Croatian poet Tin Ujević carved on the surrounding walls, and a new modernistic fountain on the west side of Đardin.


Right before the entrance you will see the ruins of the monastery Benedictine Saint Rainer


Map of the Diocletian's palace and a brief description of the palace.


Bell tower at the old convent of the Benedictine.

In the park there is a large bronze statue of the Bishop Gregory of Nyn by Ivan Meštrović of Split. The statue is facing the north entrance of the Diocletian's palace.


Gregory Nin (Grgur Ninski) was a bishop of Nin who lived in the 10th century and left a major mark in the country’s culture and history. His imposing statue which is 25 feet tall is believed to bring good luck and all you need to do is to rub the big toe on the left foot.


 While the whole statue is more than impressive, what tourists concentrate mostly on is the big toe on the left foot. At the time of Gregory Nin, people in the Adriatic region including the clergy and nobility, wore sandals primarily. The sculptor depicted this and as a result the statue’s toes are bare. Local folklore has it that if you rub the big toe on the statue’s left foot, you will have good luck. Lots of people are rubbing it as it is a lot lighter in color compare to the rest of the statue.


This is one of the entrance of the palace, it is called the golden gate.

The golden gate is the biggest and grandest of the city gates, this was the main processional entrance into Diocletian's Palace. Metal bars once blocked the outer entrance, with a wooden door on the inner section.


Roman soldiers entering the golden gate.


A lot of people stop the soldiers and asked to take a picture.

After the picture, they told me they were students and they would appreciate if we give them a tip, which I gladly did.

This is Golden gate entrance.


Close look at the Golden gate entrance to the Diocletian's palace.


Close look at the entrance.


The Vestibule

The vestibule of the emperor’s palace played the role of the entryway into the residential quarters of what was essentially a fortress with multiple buildings. What first strikes the visitor is that this structure is rectangular from the outside and circular from the inside. When you are inside, you will inevitably feel the grandeur of the vestibule. The immaculately laid stones and Roman bricks go up and up. But where’s the ceiling? What is now an opening through which you can see the sky used to be a magnificent dome. It is not known when it collapsed or what was the causes.

With the dome gone, the sunlight makes the vestibule of Diocletian’s Palace shine brightly once again. It’s incredible to see the sky from down below. Depending on your position, you can also catch a glimpse of the bell tower of the city’s cathedral Saint Domnius.


The inner wall of the vestibule.


The Vestibule has great acoustics, so during the summer, you may find klapas (klapa music is a form of traditional a cappella singing in Dalmatia performed by a klapa group) performing traditional songs in a capella. In 2012. klapa was inscribed in UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.


The Vestibule area was cleared of four semicircular niches that were filled with statues of unknown deities.


This is the entrance gate from the park.  This the view from inside the Vestibule looking out into the old town.

Another gate inside the vestibule looking into the old city.

I am now walking out of the Vestibule.


We are now inside the old City of Split.


Lots of back alleys and narrow cobblestone streets.



The narrow cobblestone streets inside the old town is really charming and spotless.



Buildings made out of stones inside the old town.



The streets are so clean and even shinny! 



We are now entering the Diocletian's cellar.



Diocletian's Cellar

The sheer size of Diocletian’s cellars is very impressive!

During the time of the emperor, the basement was largely used for storage for food and wine. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the basement was used for various purposes. In the Middle Ages it was inhabited, and eventually it turned into a water storage facility but through time, the basement got clogged up completely. As additional houses were built above the basement, they drilled holes into their floors in order to use the basement as a sewage tank and garbage dump.


Today, the cellars are open to the public although the eastern part was only opened up in May 1995 after the celebration of the patron saint of Split, Sv. Dujan (St. Domnium). The main hall of the basement houses tacky souvenir stalls where tourists can buy a reminder of their stay in Split. The other areas of the basement reveal a labyrinthine room layout, ideal for an archeological discovery. The basement is also a popular venue for various events such as art exhibitions, weddings, and the International Flower Show held in May.

To see the main cellar you have to pay for an entrance fee.  We did not see it and decided to take a look at the main hall for tourists.


All you find is a multitude of souvenirs shops.


Interesting architecture with large windows high above.


Next.... Diocletian's palace





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