Split and Diocletian’s Palace – September 2016

Split and Diocletian’s Palace – September 2016

If it were intact it would be one of grandest palaces in world and certainly one of the seven wonders of the world. Imagine if the Taj Mahal were only the walls. Or, if Angkor Watt, was only the remains. Yet, in the NYC sized square block of the

We spent three days in the glorious city of Split, home of one of the last great Emperors of Rome, D Diocletian’s Palace. Diocletian had ruled for twenty years and unlike most Emperors, who were killed, committed suicide or died in office he had this magnificent palace constructed on the Adriatic cost. He then divided his empire to two co-Emperors, as you would imagine, that relationship didn’t last. This was the fundamental problem with the Empire and lead to the last century being a succession of Emperors being killed or deposed of in short order. Diocletian’s genius and legacy is that he figured out how to have the last ten years of his life as a safe retirement

Traveling Notes: We found an inexpensive apartment a kilometer from the old city. Our first night we went to the corner grocery store and bought enough food for a few days.  Though we love trying new foods, we often prefer making our own food. Why spend $5 for a salad when you can make your own for a $1.  How to make the travel budget last.

A flood of impressions strikes me as we walk from our apartment a kilometer away from Diocletian’s Palace.  The sad thing is there really is no Palace it is a shell with some of the surrounding walls intact and the Golden Gate with a vague reminiscence of what this grandeur was.  There were four main gates to the Palace: Iron; Silver: Gold: Bronze. Each one of the gates long disappeared.  But as you will see there are the remnants of each at each cardinal point.  My favorite gate is the Iron Gate, which remains intact, and it gives you an idea of the immense grandeur of the palace.

Even more remarkable, with first century architecture, this entire city was built on a massive underground series of vaults.  Given the incalculable weight of the city — how did these underground vaults hold up with entire city? What was the cost of building this city?

My mind reels at the near impossibility of containing this city in a cage of words. To discover the Palace one needs to get lost in the maze and alleyways

Today, up early, digesting the astonishing Diocletian Palace and city. We walked under the basement vault of the Palace and it is difficult to believe that this area the size of the Empire state building was supported by underground caverns.

SPLIT 19 – 21 September 2016

“History & archaeology Fanatics” that we are, (Zoe Kopp) we are in TOTAL heaven! Today at Diocletian’s Palace in Split Croatia. We will spend a few days here exploring what remains of the Palace and the centuries of history since the 4th Century We spent the day, without guide books, simply devouring each nook, twist and turn of this fascinating city shaped by centuries of habitation. Thousands of influences of Greek, Egyptian with a black granite cat sculpture, Islamic, Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque, and even a dash of Rococo.. influences. In this autumn, it is a glorious time to travel along the FROY. Though our trip to Iran was delayed we are having a magnificent time discovering Croatia. The people are very friendly, everyone speaks English and they are tolerant and amused at my faltering attempts to speak Croatian (I need more cognates!), the Bus system is fabulous and on time, and it is easy to get around. We are falling in love with this beautiful country and people! Tomorrow, kayaking around the old city! In the morning, up playing classical guitar in the old town. Join us on this merry adventure on this trip through the former Yugoslavia, emerging with a joyful pride. Especially, now that Croatia beat France in Davis cup yesterday!

19 September 2016 – Split

Out wandering the streets of the old town by 6:30 AM. It is a joy walking through the city at the first hours of the day. I had made some notes on my Cell phone.  The city reveals itself in its splendor. Standing by the Iron Gate, the only archway fully preserved and intact from the time of the Romans.  I must have taken a few dozen of the arches from all kinds of angles. If I had been a kid would I have made that path as an archeologist come true?  I remember saying I wanted to be an archeologist as a kid, but had no idea how to get there. I know that I liked history and the story of history, but had no way to channel that energy

The Romans could build these impressive cities and building, but they couldn’t figure out the enigma of the succession of power. The EMPEROR’S GAME

last night, Zoe and I walked around the old city.  This is the best time to see the city before the hoards of tourist descend. Masses of people. Not as bad as Dubrovnik. On the main boulevard of Dubrovnik you couldn’t move.  Masses of retirees, masses of kids on their cell phones blindly walking through the city, or tourists taking pictures at random without a sense of understanding or caring what they were seeing

Woke up at 5 am after a few hours of restless sleep.  We walked down to the Old City weaving our way along narrow alleyways and tiny streets, before the hoard of tourist descend on the city.  Three days here in this glorious jewel of a city.

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