We'd hardly heard of Croatia, except when Steve and Adelle Lovell went there as missionaries. It isn't as remote and scary as it sounded, now that we've been there. It's "just" across the Adriatic Sea from Italy, so has much of the same feel and flavor in the culture.
|Our destination in Split--Diocletian's Palace|
Our first view of Split, Croatia was with a double rainbow arching down...now I can't find that photo. They have a shallow harbor so we had to take "tenders" or shuttle boats into the dock and back to the ship. We only had one day there.
We had a most charming young man as our tour guide. He had been raised in Australia, but had family ties in Croatia. He was a new father; the baby having just been born.
|Janet, KC and Ethel standing on the dock of the bay|
Greek settled in Split in the 3rd and 4th centuries. The Romans control Split from 300-600 AD, then it was conquered by the Venetians in 1420.
|Walking to the Palace along Split's beautiful harbor.|
Our guide was especially good at orienting us to direction and time, and reminding us often!
The City had many street musicians. We heard two wonderful Acapella men's groups singing in the palace.
In later centuries the palace eventually contained a small city.
With the fall of the Roman Empire, the palace eventually was rehabited by locals, who built a small city within the palace. As walls were changed, and rubble accumulated, they simply, dug holes in the floor, and let everything fall into the basement. Holes in the ceiling of the basement can still be seen today.
The Romans built both water and sewer lines throughout the palace, as verified by excavations conducted in the basement.
You may remember the Sunday School lesson introducing the Book of Mormon and how it is considered the "key stone" of our religion. This allusion refers to the Roman Arch shown here, where the center stone, or key stone, is set so that the entire arch bears equal weight, unlike straight thresholds which eventually crumble. There were literally hundreds of fine examples of these arches throughout the palace. This change in making sturdy doorways was critical to the longevity of Roman Architecture, which is proven by these Roman arches which have stood for 1700 years, even as basement doorways!
Today the palace looks like this inside, though there are many little shops and houses in tact. A large church and tower were bullt in the center plaza.
While we were in the plaza many vendors and lace makers were out selling tableclothes. I wish I would have bought more. I loved their work.
One of the more interesting landmarks we saw in the old city was St. Dominius, the patron saint of Split, and we along with many others rubbed his lucky toe!
Our guide took us to the Roman temple of Jupiter, the Roman God. Ironically when the Crusaders came in later years, even though they beheaded the pagan sphinxes or destroyed them, they did not tear down the pagan temple of Jupiter. Instead, the Catholic Church converted it into a Christian baptistry. There is one sphinx that was saved, and it is evidently buried somewhere in the town plaza.
Catholic church was doing baptisms by immersion, hence the deep font in the shape of a cross.
The outside of the baptistery is carved with bas relief designs and a modern statue of John the Baptism establishes the purpose of the room.
We had about an hour or so to visit the markets on the edge of the old city. Here are some of the things we saw....again, never enough time to shop.
Their flower market was equal to anything I've seen in our country. Very beautiful! Maybe they sell to the ocean liners? When it was time to leave, we walked back to the dock, and waited for the last tender back to the ship. It was a wonderful day! Though our egg and veggie pizza wasn't so hot!
This painting of the completed palace shows how resplendent and excessive it was. The entire size and structure on ground level, was repeated below, with a large basement area the same size as above. It was not discovered until many centuries later, as people on the main level used the basement as a garbage dump. It has not yet be totally excavated.