Diocletian's Palace is an ancient palace located in Split, Croatia, built by the Roman Emperor Diocletian in the 4th century AD, and regarded as one of the best-preserved examples of ancient Roman architecture in the world.

It has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979 and today is one of Croatia's most popular tourist destinations, attracting visitors from all over the world.

In this blog post, we will give an overview of the history of the Diocletian's Palace, its unique architecture and design, and provide suggestions on how to make the most of your visit to this marvelous place. Let's dive into Roman times!

TABLE OF CONTENTS

    HISTORY OF DIOCLETIAN'S PALACE

    Overview of Diocletian's life and reign

    Diocletian was a Roman Emperor who ruled from 284 AD to 305 AD. Born to an illyric family in the Roman province of Dalmatia, in the vicinity of the ancient city of Salona, he joined the roman military and over the years rose to prominence through the military ranks and eventually became one of the most powerful emperors in Roman history.

    Diocletian is known for his extensive reforms and administrative reorganization of the Roman Empire. He divided the empire into four administrative regions while executing military and economic reforms to help maintain the stability of the empire. Diocletian's reign marked a significant turning point in Roman history while his reforms and administrative changes continued to have a lasting impact on the empire even in the years following his death.

    Despite his firm rule, Diocletian was forced to abdicate from the throne in the year 305 AD due to health issues. He chose to retire to his imperial palace in Split, Croatia, where he lived for the rest of his life.

    The construction and purpose of the palace

    The palace was constructed as a retirement home for Diocletian and was intended to be a luxurious and fortified complex with apartments, public spaces, and a large central courtyard. He encouraged large infrastructural projects such as the construction of residential palaces or public baths in Rome. This was of utmost importance for his monetary reform and it symbolized might and authority.

    Focus on Diocletian's palace in the bronze model of Split.

    It is believed that Diocletian gave the order for the building of the palace in 295 AD. This was one of the greatest construction projects at that time involving a great number of workers, stonemasons, and artists necessary to build such a magnificent palace. Stone, the most important construction material, was brought from local stone quarries in Seget and Brač, on the other hand, materials such as marble or elements such as columns were transported from all over the empire, mostly from Egypt. Diocletian had over 200 columns and 12 sphinxes brought from Egypt to decorate the palace after having suppressed the Egyptian uprising in 297 AD. The residence was built in 305 AD just at the time of his retirement.

    Transformation of the palace into a city

    After Diocletian died in 316 AD, the palace remained the property of the Roman Empire serving as a residential palace of roman emperors. Julius Nepot was the last legal Roman emperor to have resided in the palace after his unlawful overthrow in 475 AD.

    As the Roman Empire was on its downward spiral, having been split into two parts, many barbaric tribes started to invade the territory of the empire from the north including Avars and Slavs. They reached the city of Salona in the vicinity of the Diocletian’s palace forcing the residents of Salona to flee to the palace and the nearby islands in search of safety.

    Diocletian’s palace took over urban life in this area with its new inhabitants starting to make modifications and transforming the palace into a medieval city. Ever since that event, the palace has been inhabited continuously and the city was expanding outside of the palace walls.

    ARCHITECTURE OF THE PALACE

    Overview of the palace's architectural style

    The palace was built as a combination of a Roman military camp and a luxurious villa, a fortified complex the size of a military camp including apartments, public spaces, and a large central courtyard. It is one of the most important pieces of late antiquity architecture and one of the first examples in history. This type of architecture was used to construct medieval castles all over Europe for centuries to come.

    Description of the palace's layout and main features

    Diocletian's Palace is a large and sprawling rectangularly shaped complex covering an area of approximately 30,000 square meters.

    Three land-side walls of the palace were built in military style with defensive towers, high walls, and three double gates, while the seaside was without towers serving as a dock on the ground floor with a south entrance to the basement halls and a facade of the emperor’s luxurious residence on the first floor. There were 16 towers in total but only three corner towers were preserved until this day. All three gates had double doors with an inner court which served for defense purposes in case of an attack. In the 16th century, gates were named Golden (north), Iron (west), Silver (east), and Bronze (south) gates.

    Northern gates of the Diocletian’s palace from outside the palace.

    The palace is divided by two intersecting streets splitting the palace into four parts with a large courtyard called Peristyle in its heart. Southern sections were residential chambers of the emperor while the northern sections had facilities used to accommodate the emperor's guard, slaves, and livestock.

    The central square of the palace is a large open space surrounded by columns and covered with a barrel-vaulted roof with a beautiful south facade called Protiron. This was the hub of the palace and was used for public gatherings and religious ceremonies worshiping the emperor, who proclaimed himself a son of Jupiter. On the eastern side of the Peristyle was the Diocletian’s mausoleum, now transformed into the cathedral of Saint Domnius. On the western side of the yard were two smaller temples and a bigger one dedicated to Jupiter. The only one preserved today is Jupiter's temple which served as a baptistery during medieval times. 

    If you go through the doors of the Protiron you are entering the Emperor’s residence through the Vestibule which served as the entrance hall. It’s a round-shaped building with semicircular niches where sculptures were standing. Behind the Vestibule, one would step inside Diocletian’s residence with more than 50 different chambers and rooms. Moreover, a dining chamber and thermal baths were located in the eastern part of the residence, and two huge chambers that probably served as the official emperor's protocol chambers could be found in the western part. A huge promenade was located along the southern wall composed of 42 openings with arches and loggias offering a stunning view of the sea and the islands.

    Round shape ancient building with an open circle top called Vestibul.

    Substructions under the Diocletian’s residence, are basement halls that at some point were used as storage rooms ideal for keeping food, oil, wine, and weapons. You can access the basement halls from Peristyle or the dock on the southern walls. The preserved condition of the basement halls and its ground plan made the reconstruction of Diocletian's residence possible.

    Throughout the palace, there are also many impressive architectural features, such as intricate carvings, decorative reliefs, and marble statues such as the sphinx on the Peristyle square. These features, combined with the palace's overall design, make Diocletian's Palace a unique and impressive architectural feat that has stood the test of time.

    EXPLORING DIOCLETIAN'S PALACE TODAY

    Diocletian's Palace is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Croatia, attracting visitors from all over the world. The palace is located in the heart of Split, and it's the central and integral part of today’s old town. The Old Town also includes parts outside of the palace walls built during medieval times of Venetian rule over Split and both together form an impressive historical complex listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The preservation of the palace and the old town has helped maintain the cultural heritage of the city of Split, and it continues to play an important role in the city's identity.

    As a tourist attraction, Diocletian's Palace offers visitors a unique blend of history and culture, as it combines the ancient ruins of a Roman palace with the modern city of Split. It provides a unique insight into the life of a Roman emperor and serves as a testament to the impressive architectural and engineering skills of the time.

    Visitors can wander the palace's well-preserved walls, doors, halls, and courtyards, admire its impressive architectural features, and visit its religious structures, such as the Temple of Jupiter and the Mausoleum of Diocletian, today’s cathedral of Saint Domnius. Entrance to the palace is free of charge but some sites require entrance fees such as the basement halls and cathedral of Saint Domnius.

    Here is the list of sites you definitely must see in the palace:

    In addition to its historical significance, Diocletian's Palace is also a bustling hub of activity, with a variety of shops, restaurants, cafes, bars, and museums located within its walls. Two museums that are located within the palace walls are the Museum of the city of Split and the Ethnographic museum. You can also climb to two viewpoints, the bell tower and the roof of the Vestibule. Visitors can enjoy traditional Croatian cuisine in many restaurants and shop for souvenirs on almost every corner while exploring the palace, making it an ideal destination for both history buffs and travelers looking for a unique cultural experience.

    Overall, Diocletian's Palace is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Split or the Dalmatian coast. Its combination of history, culture and modern-day amenities make it truly unique and unforgettable.

    Now it’s up to you to explore it!

    Špilja Vranjača is an underground karst cave located in Dugopolje, 25 km from Split, the second-largest city in Croatia. The cave was discovered in the late 19th century. Due to its value and uniqueness, the cave became a natural geomorphological monument in 1963. Vranjača is one of the most beautiful Dalmatian caves with easy access equipped for sightseeing.

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

      DETAILS

      LOCATION

      The cave is located in the central part of the northern slopes of the Mosor mountain.

      Within the administrative area of Dugopolje, there is a village called Kotlenice where the cave can be reached by car. The local road takes you about 10 kilometers away from Dugopolje, where on the right, you will be able to see an unpaved road with a sign that will take you directly to the parking lot.

      Only 300 meters of easy walk you will reach the entrance to the cave.

      Central Dalmatia map with Split, Sinj and Vranjača cave pointed out on the map.
      Central Dalmatia map with Split, Sinj and Vranjača cave pointed out on the map.

      DISCOVERY AND HISTORY

      The first chamber or entrance chamber has been known in the local community since ancient times and does not have the usual decorations like all caves.

      The second chamber was discovered in the late 19th century by a boy who was playing and chasing pigeons. Following the bird, he reached the passage that took him to another chamber full of stalagmites and stalactites that we call today - the Vranjača cave. His name was Stipe Punda, and his family still runs the cave because it was found on their property.

      Zadar speleologists were the first to visit the cave in 1900.

      After them, the miner Luigi Miotto explored the cave and informed the Austrian geologist Fritz Kerner from Vienna, who made a geological map of central Dalmatia. He visited the cave and published the first article in 1904 named Die Grotte von Kotlenice am Nordfuße der Mosor Planina, together with a description of the cave and the scheme of Miotto.

      In 1927 the development of the cave began, a 450 m long asphalt road, a parking lot with a turnaround, and a path to the cave entrance were built. The cave was equipped with electric lighting, concrete paths, and an iron handrail. The passage from the first chamber had to be artificially extended.

      In 1929 cave opened to the public.

      View from the inside of the cave on the concrete walking path with sunbeams coming from the entrance hole.
      View from the inside of the cave on the concrete walking path with sunbeams coming from the entrance hole.

      Umberto Girometta, the famous founder of the Mosor Mountaineering Association, explored the cave in 1934. He found that the cave was inhabited in the Neolithic and discovered a new species of cave spider with rich cave vegetation. He is known for promoting the natural beauty of Vranjača cave through his daily press articles, scientific publications, and magazines, which resulted in increased attendance.

      After World War II, the Vranjača cave was visited only by local mountaineers and few tourists. When the cave was declared a natural geomorphological monument in 1963 and restored in 1970, it began to regain its glory!

      CAVE TODAY

      Vranjača Cave consists of 365 meters of walking trails with electric lighting built for sightseeing. The path leads through both chambers to 65 meters below the ground. The temperature in the cave is about 15C throughout the year.

      Stalagmites and stalactites inside the cave and a lamp illuminating them with blue light.
      Stalagmites and stalactites inside the cave and a lamp illuminating them with blue light.

      At the entrance, there is a welcome house where you can pay for tickets and meet someone from the Punda family who will tell the story of the cave. Landscaped surroundings, wooden benches, and pine trees will make you feel relaxed!

      Vranjača Cave is one of the most beautiful examples of what the cave can offer visitors! With its rich interior, pleasant entrance, and family atmosphere of welcome, there is no doubt that the cave is one of the most beautiful pearls of nature in the karst region.

      PS. Not far from the entrance of the cave, there is a starting point of a hiking trail leading directly to the one of the highest peaks of Mosor - Vickov stup (1325m).

      FAQs

      Working hours depend on the month you want to visit.

      November to March – opens only with previous notice
      April & October – 10h till 18h
      May & September – 9h till 19h
      June, July & August – 9h till 20h

      Price for adults is 50, and for children 25 kunas.

      Before Diocletian's Palace and Split, there was an ancient city well known throughout the Roman Empire, Salona. The ancient Salona is situated on the delta of the river Jadro. The first inhabitants were the Illyrian tribe Delmati (3rd century BC), followed by Greek settlers (78 BC). In 48 BC, Caesar developed Salona as the Roman city and named it COLONIA MARTIA IVLIA SALONA. During the Roman Empire, Salona reached its architectural and economic growth. At the time of Diocletian's rule, Salona became the vastest Roman city on the east coast of the Adriatic and had a population of 60,000. In the 7th century, the city was attacked by Avars and Slavs. Residents fled to a shelter on neighboring islands, leaving Salona to decay. The beautiful Tusculum, built according to the country house of the Roman aristocracy in Tusculum, exists thanks to archeologist Monsignor Frane Bulić. Salona has the most important ruins near Split, Croatia.

      TABLE OF CONTENTS:

        LOCATION

        Salona is situated in the southern part of Croatia in the Jadro river valley  6 km north of Split. Nearby mountains such as Kozjak and Mosor provide natural protection from the inland. Favorable geographical position in the middle of the eastern Adriatic coast, proximity to islands, and good traffic connections have enabled the city to develop quickly and smoothly. The Jadro River brought a fresh water supply and positive economic development. The fertile fields, cattle breeding, and fishing enabled sufficient food production.

        HISTORY OF SALONA

        Salona has been an integral and essential part of the history of the Roman Empire and early Christianity for centuries. In pre-ancient times, proto-urban forms appeared on small hills. Later in antiquity, they transformed into urban centers. Salona did not survive the dramatic seventh century, and the urban development continued in another location, more precisely Split. 

        lIlyrian tribe Delmati defended Salona for almost 100 years and resisted the forces of the Roman army. When the Romans conquered Salona in 78 BC, it was populated with the local Illyrians, Greek settlers, and Italics, and now the Romans are also settling there. Salona was a very ethnically diverse area as many Roman cities. The honorary title of COLONIA MARTIA IVLIA SALONA was acquired by adhering to Caesar's side during the Roman Civil War. During the Pax Romana, after 9 AD, a time of prosperity followed for the Salona. The development of infrastructure and roads began, and the delivery of raw materials. Salona became the main center and port for Rome on the east coast of the Adriatic.

        During the reign of Emperor Diocletian (284-305), who built a nearby palace in Split, Salona gained in importance and became the vastest Roman city on the east coast of the Adriatic. An interesting fact is that Emperor Diocletian was born in 243 in the vicinity of Salona. Along with Jupiter as the main deity, the cults of Isis, Cybele, Mithras were created. In the middle of the 3rd century, a Christian community was developing. The urbanism of Salona changed with the spread of Christianity, especially after the Edict of Milan in 313. Christian buildings were created, moving the city center to the eastern part. Salona becomes a place of great Christian importance.

        The city was destroyed by the Avars and Slavs around 614. The surviving population, which managed to escape, took refuge on the nearby islands and in Diocletian's Palace. Here began the life of a new city, today's Split.

        Architecture

        The old town or Urbs Vetus was trapezoidal, surrounded by walls and towers, with streets Cardo (north-south) and Decumanus (east-west). The city center or the Forum is the place of all events. From the 1st century, the city spreads east and west beyond the walls. Salona is further fortified after the attack of Germanic tribes. While the old part is well planned, later extensions follow the terrain configuration more. On-site, you can find the city gates of Porta Caesarea, the Forum, the theater, the Amphitheater, the thermal baths, and other exemplars of the great Roman city. The longest axis reaches about 1,600 meters, and the widest is about 700 meters. The walled area is 72 hectares. The extent of the walls reaches about 4 kilometers, and the number of towers is up to 90.

        Remarkably, the first period of Salona was a Illyrian settlement. Remains of ramparts and objects of Greek origin found in Salona and its surroundings point that the Greeks were the inhabitants of this city as well. To this extent, Salona Split has remained in ruins, of which only a part has been well explored. However, even these parts deliver enough for us about their size and significance.

        Manastirine and Tusculum

        The Manastirine site is outside the ancient Salona, north of the city. The site has the remains of a basilica and a cemetery. Remains here were found that date back from the 2nd century B.C. Bishop of Salonta Domino, who died a martyr’s death in the Salonitan Amphitheater on April 10, 304, was buried in Manastirine, and over his grave, a memorial chapel was built. The proximity of the tombs of other Christians to the tomb of the martyr Domino was important for religious beliefs (ad sanctos). In the 5th century, a basilica was built around the chapel. This large Early Christian open-air cemetery, sub divo, displays many sarcophagi which present remarkable artistry and craftsmanship. 

        Ancient sarcophagis and columns at Manastirine cemetery and Tusculum house in the background.
        Ancient sarcophagis and columns at Manastirine cemetery and Tusculum house in the background.

        Tusculum is a building erected in 1898 for Msgr. Frane Bulić, as a base for his research on Salona. He is the father of Croatian archeology and was the director of the Archaeological Museum in Split. Tusculum is located near the Manastirine and was built according to the summer houses of the Roman aristocracy. The interior of the Tusculum is beautiful, especially the Drawing Room where Bulić received visitors. Danish architect Ejnar Dyggve also lived in Tusculum when he explored Salona.

        City walls & Aqueduct

        The construction of the Salonitan city walls took several centuries. In the 2nd century B.C. old part of the city, Urbs vetus, was fortified by massive stone blocks, preserved around Porta Caesarea. During the Pax Romana (from the 1st century A.D.) Salona spread beyond the limits of its walls. The new suburbs on the west and east side were surrounded by walls and fortified with 90 towers. The wall stretched from the amphitheater in the west to the new city gate in the east, Porta Andetria. The wall's circumference was approximately 4,080 m. In the 6th century, walls were repaired to improve security and defense. Aquaeductus, a great water-supply mechanism, and 3850 meters long, was partially built into the walls to ensure the water supply to Salona. Porta Caesarea served as a place where water flowed through canals to supply the old part of the city. The aqueduct was enough to supply enough water for about 40,000 people.

        Episcopal Centre

        The Early Christian center in Salona was built in the 5th century A.D. The remains of Episcopal Centre consisted of twin longitudinal basilicas, a baptistery, and a bishop’s palace in the northwest part of the eastern city extension. Oratorium A is in the northern corner of the Episcopal Center. It is the oldest Salonitan church and the place where Christians secretly gathered for prayer before 313 A.D. In the cross-shaped basilica, in the south, Archbishop Honorius convened two church councils. All the Dalmatian bishops in 530 and 533 gathered in the Salonitan Episcopal Center.

        Ancient stone ruins in the shape of a church representing old basilica.
        Ancient stone ruins in the shape of a church representing old basilica.

        Porta Caesarea & Bridge of five arches

        Porta Caesarea, the eastern city gate, was built from massive stone blocks in the opus quadratum technique during the reign of Emperor Augustus. On each side, the gate had octagonal towers which had fortification purposes. Porta Caesarea had three entrances, one narrow side aisle for pedestrians and a middle one for carts. The gate had two floors. The upper floor was for guards. In the 4th century, an arch was carved with a relief depiction of Tyche Salonitana, a woman with a crown on her head, holding a flag with the city initials MARTIA IVLIA VALERIA SALONA FELIX. Part of the aqueduct was at Porta Caesarea, where water would flow and enter the canal network to the old part of the city (Urbs vetus).

        A bridge with five arches was erected in the eastern suburbs of Salona in the 1st century B.C. above the backwater of Jadro. The bridge was supported by a huge pillar and was significant for traffic. The road passed through Porta Caesarea and branched into two lanes, one towards Porta Andetria and the hinterland, and the other over the bridge leading in the direction of Epetium (Stobreč) and the Adriatic coast.

        Temple & Theater

        The theater was built in the middle of the 1st century A.D., which testifies to a high level of cultural and advanced civilization development. In the Roman world, with its dimensions (65 x 58 m), it was a medium-sized building. The theater had two seats that could accommodate about 3,000 spectators. In front of the auditorium was an orchestra with seats for upper-class citizens. They had a great view of the podium where the theatrical performance took place. Near the theater, located on the south side, was a temple dedicated to either the god Dionysus or Liber.

        The Amphitheatre

        The remains of the amphitheatre built in the second half of the 2nd century are located in the northwestern part of the ancient Salona. The amphitheatre had an ellipsoidal shape measuring 125 x 100 meters. The gladiatorial fights that took place there could be watched by 17,000 spectators. 

        The auditorium was divided into three floors. It seems that area had a canvas to cover in case of rain or hot sun. Seats for the Province governor were on the south side of the auditorium, and seats for city judges were on the opposite side. The main entrances, portae pompae, to the east and west were for the fighters. On the south side below the auditorium were two rooms where gladiators worshiped Nemesis, the goddess of revenge and destiny. 

        View over the remains of the ancient amphitheater built in ellipsoidal shape.
        View over the remains of the ancient amphitheater built in ellipsoidal shape.

        In April 304 A.D. during Diocletian's persecution of Christians, Bishop Domino, the priest Asterius and four Praetorian Guards were executed in the amphitheatre. 

        The Venetians had the amphitheatre demolished in the 17th century for strategic reasons during wars with the Turks. Only parts of the monumental building have been preserved.

        City necropolises

        Roman law forbade the burial of the dead within the city walls. Therefore, the areas around Salona served as burials where necropolises formed along the roads. The north necropolis is the ground for the best known Salonitan martyr cemeteries, Kapljuč, Manastirine, and Marusinac.

        Marusinac

        Marusinac is a cemetery complex with two basilicas and a mausoleum. The Christian martyr Anastasius was buried in Marusinac. One of the basilicas, built in the mid-5th century, was dedicated to the memory of the martyrdom of St. Anastasius.

        Kapljuč

        Kapljuč is the oldest Salonitan cemetery basilica (The Five Martyrs Basilica). The basilica was dedicated to the priest Asterius and four Roman guards. East of Kapljuč is a small site known as the cemetery of 16 sarcophagi. Sarcophagi belonged to both pagans and Christians, and during the fall of Salona, they were broken and robbed.

        Ancient stone ruins of basilica at Kapljuc cemetery.
        Ancient stone ruins of basilica at Kapljuc cemetery.

        Present-day Salona - archaeological Park

        Discovered ruins of the Salona locality present a small part of the ancient city which used to be a metropolis in this part of the Adriatic Sea in the first centuries A.D. As a place of great historical importance, mainly discovered by Monsignor Frane Bulić in the 19th and 20th centuries, the Salona locality should have been better-taken care of and preserved. There have been no major investments in the last half-decade. Therefore, ancient tombs are overgrown with grass. The tasks for improving the site include the isolation of Manastirine and the city basilica complex from pedestrian traffic, fencing the excavations, regular conservation of old walls, and reconstruction of individual buildings. Locality Salona is under the jurisdiction of the Archaeological Museum in Split, the oldest museum institution in Croatia.

        Furthermore, the development of the Salona Archaeological Site Management Plan, commissioned by the City of Solin, is underway, which seeks to introduce a new model of archaeological site management for better evaluation, presentation, and sustainable development of this cultural asset.

        FAQs

        You can get to Salona from Split with your car, taxi or a local bus.

        If you plan to go with your car, you should take one of the main roads heading out of the city in the direction of the airport. You will arrive on the big crossroads in Solin called Širina where you should take a right turn towards the city center of Solin. After 500 meters you will see a sign and a left turn in the direction of Salona.  On the left side stands hotel Salona Palace and a big parking lot where you can park your car.

        If you are planning to go to Salona with a bus, you should take the bus number 1 that goes from HNK (Croatian National Theater)  station and leave the bus  at the last bus station called Starine.

        Klis Fortress Croatia has played a significant part in history since the 2nd century BC. Due to its strategic position and defense system, it served well to those who have been ruling over that period. The fortress was under several rulers in the past.
        Klis Fortress has a unique location on a 358-meter-high cliff with a great view of the nearby roads and the city. It was a great spot to control the valley that led to Split.

        TABLE OF CONTENTS:

          LOCATION

          Klis Fortress is on a high cliff between Kozjak and Mosor mountains. From the fortress, three Roman roads lead to the inland of Dalmatia. A highly strategic location allowed military and trade control over the entire area, including Salona and Split. This strategic location determined the dramatic fortress's history.. Klis Fortress is one of the most significant places with many historical events that shaped the history of Dalmatia. Klis Fortress is the bearer of events from ancient times until today.

          ARCHITECTURE

          The Klis Fortress was built from antiquity to the 19th century during Venetian and Austro-Hungarian rule. Throughout history, Klis Fortress had numerous alterations and functions, residence, and defensive function. In the Middle Ages, it served as a lazaretto and lodging. The fortress is located at 358 altitudes, is 304 meters long, and 53 meters wide. It consists of three levels and three rings of walls. Each part has a separate entrance.

          The main entrance is the Venetian Gate, followed by the second door leading to the medieval part and the third entrance leading to the residences for the weaponry manager. The most important stronghold in the western part is the Tower Oprah, and in the eastern area, the Bembo Bastion or Kružić tower. On the upper part of the fortress is the Prince’s residence and St.Vid’s Church. The church is well preserved. It used to be a Turkish mosque and one of the best surviving examples of Islamic architecture in Dalmatia. It is possible that this building was originally a medieval church. Thanks to research and restoration, the fortress shows its historical and cultural importance and a beautiful view of the whole of central Dalmatia as well.

          HISTORY

          During antiquity, Klis served as a military fort for the protection of Salona. Later, Klis Fortress changed its rulers and functions.The first inhabitants of the Klis fortress were the Illyrian tribe Delmati, but there are traces of Neolithic settlements.

          During the 7th century, Avars and Slavs invaded this area. When they conquered Klis Fortress, which was in the hands of the Romans, it meant the fall of Salona. In the early Middle Ages, Klis was one the seats of Croatian dukes and kings, and they were crowned in this area. With the disappearance of the Kingdom of Croatia in the 12th century, Klis fell under the rule of Croatian-Hungarian kings. During the Tartar invasion, Bela IV took refuge in Klis.

          In the 15th century, Klis found itself at the crossroads of three empires, the Ottoman Empire, the Venetian Republic, and the Habsburg Monarchy. In the 16th century, Klis Fortress resisted many Ottoman attacks for decades. Despite the long-standing defense of the Uskoks under the leadership of Petar Kružić, the Ottomans conquered Klis and ruled it for a century. After the Ottoman rule, the Venetians ruled until their downfall. 

          Later, Klis was under French control, part of Austro-Hungarians, and in the 20th century of Yugoslavia. From 1990 Klis is a part of the Republic of Croatia.

          Illiryan and roman times

          Traces of life and fortifications date back to pre-ancient times during the Illyrian period. In antiquity, the fortress was a Roman castrum. The nearby road led to the hinterland. On the site, there used to be a resting place for carriages. The fortress was an important point of defense of ancient Salona. The Byzantine emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus also reflected the importance of this place. Somewhat later, in the 7th century, Salona disappeared after the arrival of the Avars and Slavs, who first invaded and conquered Klis.

          Croatian dukes and kings

          In the 9th century, Klis was the seat of Croatian princes and kings. In Trpimir's charter from 852 Klis is mentioned as one of the duke's estates and in the next seven centuries, it will change its ownership a number of times. It was under the rule of the Arpadović dynasty and by famous Croatian Šubić and Nelipić nobles and was also the seat of the Bosnian king Tvrtko. The fortress owners stood out during the Tatar invasion of the Hungarian-Croatian kingdom when they provided refuge to King Bela IV. in front of the hordes.

          Medieval times

          During the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, South Croatia was a battlefield against the Turks. In 1500, Turkish troops pushed through the Croatian territory to the city walls of Venetian towns Nin, Zadar, Šibenik, Trogir, and Split. The Turks felt more powerful and became oppressive after the fall of Klis, former Croatian capital and the last stronghold of the Croatian Kingdom south of Velebit.

          Klis was the home of Uskoks, the military units that obtained their name because they jumped into enemy territory. The leader of Klis Uskoks was Petar Kružić, who defended the fortress against the Ottoman army for more than fifteen years. In 1513, Petar Kružić was already in Klis, performing military duty. Ottomans raised the first siege of Klis in 1515. Kružić was trying to get support for Klis defenders from other European Christian nations that were in greatest danger from Ottomans if Klis would fall. Since Klis was the royal town under the rule of the Croatian-Hungarian Kingdom, the Kružić and Klis defenders were in the service of the Croatian-Hungarian king. However, he would never get what he deserved and what was necessary for the defense. Only the Pope sent help from the Vatican to the Kružić and Klis defenders.

          Uskoks military equipment located in the old armory room with the statue of Petar Kružić.

          In 1537, Klis defenders faced a shortage of food and water, there was also little ammunition left in Klis, so the morale of the Kružić army became lower. Ottomans took all the water sources, and the water tanks in the fortress were not enough for people and horses. In further combat, Atli-aga killed Petra Kružić. After seeing their captain dead, Klis Uskoks were discouraged and decided to negotiate with the Ottomans. In 1537, the Turks conquered Klis despite the heroic defense of captain Petar Kružić. Afterwards, the Venetian Republic and the Turkish Empire continued to struggle. During the Candian War, Klis was liberated in 1648 by the Venetian general Foscolo.

          Fortress in the present day

          Nowadays, Klis Fortress is one of the most preserved fortresses in Central Dalmatia reconstructed with EU funds. The Klis Fortress opening hours are from 9:00 to 17:00 daily. The ticket includes a visit to Klis Fortress and the Ethno-agro park Stella Croatica. The ticket price is 60 kn for adults and 20 kn for children (up to 15 years).

          Game of Thrones

          The Game of Thrones scenes took place at the Klis Fortress. According to the HBO series script, Daenerys conquers the city of Meereen, which is situated inside the Klis Fortress.

          FAQs

          Klis fortress is definitely worth a visit!

          Except for the great view of Split, you can witness medieval fortress in great condition and one of the filming locations of Game of Thrones series. Moreover, you can learn interesting stories and facts about the Croatian history and  Dalmatian plants in Stella Croatica, which is included in the price of ticket.

          Visit usually takes 60 minutes.

          You can go with your car, taxi and a local bus.

          If you plan to go with your car, you should take one of the main roads heading out of the city in the direction of the airport. You will arrive on the big crossroads in Solin called Širina, where you should take a right turn towards the city center of Solin. After a drive through Solin the road leads you all the way to the Klis where you will be able to take a left turn to the area Klis Megdan  and find two parking lots.

          If you go with a bus, you should take number 22 from the station HNK (Croatian National Theater) and leave the bus at the last bus station called Klis Megdan.

          Klis fortress has two parking lots in the area of Klis Megdan at the bottom of the fortress.

          The Klis Fortress opening hours are from 9:00 to 17:00 daily.

          The ticket price is 60 HRK for adults and 20 HRK for children (up to 15 years)

          Castle Vitturi is located in Kaštel Lukšić and is one of the best examples of Kaštela fortifications.

          Kaštela castles built during the 15th and 16th centuries served for the defense purpose of the local peasants and as holiday residences for noble families from Split and Trogir.

          Nowadays, Castle Vitturi is a cultural center and the seat of several local institutions.

          TABLE OF CONTENTS:
          1. Location
          2. History
          3. Architecture
          4. Castle today

          LOCATION

          Vitturi Castle stands in Kaštel Lukšić, one of the seven settlements that make the town of Kaštela. The castle and its surroundings form the core of the settlement and represent the old town. You can visit the castle built on the coast with the southern walls laid in the sea by walking along the promenade.

          HISTORY

          After the fall of Bosnia to Ottoman rule in 1463, Dalmatia was threatened by increasing Turkish incursions. At that time, Dalmatia was ruled by Venice, and their administration decided to build several fortifications throughout Dalmatia, including Split and Zadar.

          For the same reason, the aristocracy of Split and Trogir began to build forts on their land to protect peasants in the agricultural area between the two cities. The area around the fort had houses and a large wall surrounding them, which protected them from possible attacks.

          By the 17th century, 17 fortifications were built in this area, hence the name of the town - Kaštela (castles).

          Brothers Nikola and Jerolim Vitturi, two nobles from Trogir, asked the local doge in 1487 for permission to build their fortress. They were obliged to build a settlement and a wall around the settlement to protect the peasants from Ottoman attacks. Trogir's doge Carlo Pesaro granted their request.

          The construction lasted for many years and was funded by the Venetian doge. Domestic peasants and workers also contributed to the work.

          Finally, the building of the castle was completed in 1564.

          In honor of that, in the courtyard gallery, there is an inscription written in stone which reads: "Brothers Jacob and Jerolim Vutturi built it with their funds in 1564. "

          Until 1943, the castle was home to the Michieli-Vitturi family, who held high positions in the Venetian army and administration during the 18th century.

          ARCHITECTURE

          The castle consists of a large central courtyard surrounded by two-story buildings on the south side. The second-floor windows and the south-facing balcony have Renaissance decoration.

          The south wall laid in the sea has an emergency exit to which ships can dock. The north wall with two towers is separated from the mainland by a moat filled with seawater and a wooden bridge above it. The bridge could be raised in the event of an attack. Later, it was replaced by a stone bridge after the danger of possible attacks passed.

          In 1561, brothers Jacob and Jerolim remodeled the castle and added a two-story Renaissance gallery along the defensive walls and Renaissance windows on the first floor.

          Stone fragments of olive and grape processing machines are proof that the castle had an economic and production significance in addition to its defensive role.

          The castle was restored to its original appearance when reconstruction work was carried out from 1993 to 2001.

          CASTLE TODAY

          Today, Vitturi Castle is the cultural center of the town of Kaštela, where concerts, exhibitions, and performances take place.

          Furthermore, the castle acts as the seat of the Museum of the Town of Kaštela and the local tourist board where you can learn many interesting things and get local tourist information during your visit to Kaštela.