Good for: history, walking, Shopping, photos, dining
- Obala hrvatskog narodnog preporoda Town Centre
Lonely Planet review for Diocletian's Palace
Facing onto the harbour, Diocletian's Palace is one of the most imposing Roman ruins in existence. Although the original structure was modified in the Middle Ages, the alterations have only served to increase the allure of this fascinating site. Far from being a museum, the 220 buildings within the palace boundaries are home to about 3000 people. The cellars are a market for crafted jewellery, reproductions of Roman busts, silver cigarette cases, candlestick holders, wooden sailing ships, leather goods and other odds and ends.
The palace was built from lustrous white stone from the island of Brač and construction lasted 10 years. Diocletian spared no expense, importing marble from Italy and Greece, and columns and sphinxes from Egypt. A military fortress, imperial residence and fortified town, the palace measures 215m from east to west (including the square corner towers) and 181m wide at the southernmost point. The walls at their highest measure 26m and the entire structure covers 31,000 sq metres.
There are fortified gates in the centre of the eastern, northern and western walls, as well as a smaller gate in the southern wall, which led from the living quarters to the sea. Each wall has a gate named after metals: the northern gate is the Golden Gate; the southern gate is the Bronze Gate; the eastern gate is the Silver Gate; and the western gate is the Iron Gate. From the eastern to the western gate there's a straight road (Krešimirova; also known as Decumanus), which separates the imperial residence on the southern side, with its state rooms and temples, from the northern side, which was intended for soldiers and servants.