Mausoleum turned into cathedral

If you have been to Split you probably visited the Diocletian’s Palace, that magnificent 3rd century retirement villa of the Roman Emperor Diocletian.
I quite like the legend that our emperor sent out his engineers to find him the most perfect spot in the world where he could settle down. For proud folk of this vibrant city, it is quite natural the engineers came up with the idea of Split. My face beams and my heart beats a little bit faster every time I tell this story.  Join me on Best of Split Walking Tour to really get-to-know the Diocletian’s Palace and the Old Town of Split with all the intriguing little secrets and anecdotes of this gorgeous Mediterranean city.

Since Diocletian was a persecutor of Christians, soon in the 7th century when Christians refugees fled from the nearby Salona, his mausoleum was turned into the cathedral. And what does a cathedral need? A belfry, for sure! It was built in the area of the entrance to the temple, in the 13th and in early 14th century. The harmonious slender and monumental edifice has for long centuries determined the visual identity of the city, particularly when viewed from the sea.

St. Domnius, a patron saint of Split

As the belfry became dilapidated during its long history, some work had to be done. The reconstruction was too radical so vivacity that it once used to have was replaced with precision and coldness of the 19th century historicism. However, it holds a special place in the people’s minds here since St. Domnius, a Christian martyr, is a patron saint of Split whose day we celebrate on the 7th May. There is an attractive procession with the saint’s relics through the streets of Split and later more profane activities such as, games, concerts, etc. 

The view from the Bell Tower

What you should definitely do when you come here is climb to the top of this Bell Tower! The staircase up to the top of the tower is not for the faint-hearted, being very narrow and steep and in places without handrails, but you should persevere as the views from the top are worth it. The Cathedral and the surrounding area are atmospheric and well worth the visit. On sunny days, especially if bura wind blows, the view of the harbour, the Old Town and the sea is stunning!

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