Baptistery of St. John formerly the Roman Temple of Jupiter, Diocletian's Palace, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Split, Croatia, Europe

Getty Images/Robert Harding World Imagery

Temple of Jupiter


Although it's now the cathedral's baptistery, this wonderfully intact building was originally an ancient Roman temple dedicated to the king of the gods. It still has its original barrel-vaulted ceiling and decorative frieze, although a striking bronze statue of St John the Baptist by Ivan Meštrović now fills the spot where Jupiter once stood. The font is made from 13th-century carved stones recycled from the cathedral's rood screen.

Of the columns that once supported a porch, only one remains. The black-granite sphinx guarding the entrance was already ancient when the Romans dragged it from Egypt in the 3rd century. It was defaced (literally) by early Christians, who considered it a pagan icon.

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Nearby Split attractions

1. New Research on Split Cathedral

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Situated opposite the Cathedral of St Domnius, this exhibition features large-scale photos of architectural features of the cathedral along with technical…

2. Iron Gate

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The high arches of this large double gate lead from Diocletian's Palace to the main city square.

3. Peristil

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This picturesque colonnaded ancient Roman peristyle (courtyard) lies at the very heart of Diocletian's Palace. In summer you can almost be guaranteed a…

4. Vestibule

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At the southern end of the peristil, above the basement stairs, is the vestibule, a grand and cavernous domed room, open to the sky, which was once the…

5. Diocletian’s Palace

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Taking up a prime harborside position, the extraordinary complex of Diocletian's Palace is one of the most imposing ancient Roman structures in existence…

6. Cathedral of St Domnius

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Split’s octagonal cathedral is one of the best-preserved ancient Roman buildings still standing. It was built as a mausoleum for Diocletian, the last…

7. Synagogue

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Built into the western wall of Diocletian's Palace, Split's synagogue is the third-oldest synagogue in Europe that's still in use. Created out of two…

8. Diocletian's Palace Substructure

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The Bronze Gate of Diocletian's Palace once opened straight from the water into the palace basements, enabling goods to be unloaded and stored here. Now…