Social Icons


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Diocletians Palace in Croatia

Diocletians Palace is a building in Split, Croatia that was built by Roman emperor Diocletian at the turn of fourth century AD. Diocletian built the massive palace in preparation for his retirement on 1 May 305 AD. It lies in a bay on the south side of a short peninsula running out from the Dalmatian coast four miles from Salona the capital of province of Dalmatia. The terrain slopes gently seaward and is typical karst consisting of low limestone ridges running east to west with marl in the clefts between them. The details of Diocletians Palace are explained in world tour guides below.

Diocletians PalaceThe Palace remained empty for several centuries after Romans abandoned the site. In 7th century nearby residents fled to walled palace to get away invading barbarians. Since then the palace has been occupied, with residents making their homes and businesses within the palace basement and directly in its walls. Today many restaurants and shops, and some homes, can still be found within walls. Diocletians palace was an inspiration for Adams new style of Neo classical architecture and the publication of measured drawings brought it into the design vocabulary of European architecture for the first time. A few decades later in 1782 the French painter Louis-Francois Cassas created drawings of palace which is published by Joseph Lavallee in 1802 in cronicles of his voyages.

The palace is today with main historical buildings in the centre of city of Split. Diocletians Palace far transcends local importance because of its degree of preservation. The Palace is one of the most famous and complete architectural and cultural features on the Croatian Adriatic coast. As the world's most complete remains of a Roman palace, it holds an outstanding place in Mediterranean, European and world heritage.

In November 1979 UNESCO in line with international convention on cultural and natural heritage adopted a proposal the historic city of Split built around the Palace should be included in register of World Cultural Heritage. In November 2006 the City Council decided to permit over twenty new buildings in the palace despite the fact that the palace had been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Monument. It is said that this decision was politically motivated and largely due to lobbying by local property developers. Once the public in 2007 came aware of the project, they petitioned against the decision and won. No new buildings, shopping center or the underground garage was built.

The World Monuments Fund has been working on a conservation project at the palace, including surveying structural integrity and cleaning and restoring the stone and plasterwork, expected to be completed in 2009. Much restoration is still needed, including excavating the extensive basement which was buried during the bombardment by the allies in World War II. The palace is depicted on the reverse of the Croatian 500 kuna banknote issued in 1993.

The ground plan of the palace is an irregular rectangle with towers projecting from the western, northern, and eastern facades. It combines qualities of a luxurious villa with those of a military camp, with its huge gates and watchtowers. The palace is enclosed by walls, and at times, it housed over 9000 people. Subterranean portions of the palace feature barrel vaulted stonework. The southern facade rose directly from or very near to the sea, was unshielded. The elaborate architectural composition of the arcaded gallery on its upper floor differs from the more severe treatment of the three shore facades. A monumental gate in middle of each of these walls led to an enclosed courtyard. The southern sea gate was simpler in shape and dimensions than other three and it was originally intended either as emperors private access to sea or a service entrance for supplies.

Diocletians PalaceDiocletians PalaceThe design is derived from both villa and castrum types and this duality is also evident in the arrangement of the interior. The transverse road linking the eastern gate and western gate divided the complex into two halves. In the southern half were the more luxurious structures that is emperors apartments, both public and private and religious buildings. The emperors apartments formed a block along the sea front and were situated above a substructure because the sloping terrain demanded significant differences in level. Although for many centuries almost completely filled with refuse, most of the substructure is well preserved, and indicates the original shape and disposition of the rooms above.

The Palace is built of white local limestone and marble of high quality, most of which was from Brac marble quarries on the island of Brac of tuff taken from nearby river beds, and of brick made in Salonitan and other factories. Some material for decoration was imported Egyptian granite columns and sphinxes, fine marble for revetments and some capitals produced in workshops in the Proconnesos. Water for palace came from Jadro River near Salona. Along the road from Split to Salona impressive remains of original Roman aqueduct can still be seen. They were extensively restored in the 19th century.

No comments: