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Location: 5 km (3mi) from Splin Map

Open: summer: 7am- 7pm

Info: (021) 210 048




Description of Salona

Salona is situated 5 km (3mi) from Splin on the Croatian Adriatic coast. This site is one largest and best preserved roman ruins in Croatia. Salona (in ancient Greek Σαλῶνα, Σαλῶναι, in Latin Salonae) was an ancient city of Illyria that existed during the first millennium BC. The Greeks established a colony there. After its conquest by the Romans, Salona became the capital of the Roman province of Ilírico and then, when it was divided, that of Dalmatia. The emperor Diocletian, who is believed to have been born near that place, erected a monumental palace in the vicinity in which he took refuge in his retirement. The palace, known as the Diocletian's Palace, became the nucleus of the current city of Split. Salona was largely destroyed during the invasions of the Avars and Slavic peoples, the first of them in 614. The nearby population took refuge from these attacks in the palace of Emperor Diocletian, turning it into a city. currently you can visit in the vicinity of the modern city of Solin, Croatia.


Travel Destinations in Salona


As the city walls had to be built quickly, some buildings simply became part of it. The irrigation system built in the 6th century was integrated into the wall as well as the most monumental building of Salona, ​​the amphitheater. The Danish archaeologist and architect Ejnar Dyggve, who spent many years digging Salona, ​​suggests that the amphitheater was built in the second half of the 2nd century BC. It was built for at least 15,000 spectators. Bloody battles between the gladiators and wild animals were fought on its arena. Two sanctuaries were found in the substructure of the building, dedicated to the goddess Nemesis. In Greek and Roman World Nemesis was also considered the goddess of the Agone (competitions of all kinds) and was worshiped in the Roman period in the amphitheater and racecourses. The Christians later turned the sanctuaries into chapels to commemorate Christian martyrs who died in the arena. Below the places of honor, a part of an inscription "RP DONO DEDIT" was found, which means that the Salonites owed the construction of the amphitheater to a wealthy fellow citizen. During the Gothic War (535-554), the amphitheater was turned into a fortress to protect itself from the enemy. The arena has survived the decline of Salona, ​​only the Venetians destroyed the construction in the 18th century, to prevent the Turks to find shelter there. Cemetery for the gladiators was also found near the amphitheater. Some old sarcophagi are still preserved. The remains of the arena, only the lower parts of the massive walls, are well preserved.



In addition to the official Roman religion in the ancient times many different religious communities side by side, followers of various Oriental religions, cult of Isis, Sun God Mithras and Cybele were worshiped in Salona. Additionally an important Jewish community lived in the city. From the 3rd century, the Christian community developed in Salona, ​​which is also related to the Salonite Bishop Venancije (Latin Venantius Martyr), who came from Rome to spread the Christian faith in the province and to the church in Salona to organize. During the reign of Diocletian (284-305), his successor, Bishop Domnius, who came from Syria, lost his life during the persecution of Christians in 304. Along with him, many other Christians were tortured and executed, including Anastasius, the priest Asterius, as well four soldiers from the bodyguard of Diocletian (Antiohan, Gaian, Telij and Paulinian) In 313, Emperor Constantine, with the Milan Agreement, granted all Christians the right to practice their religion freely. One of his successors, Theodosius I, made Christianity the state religion at the end of the 4th century and issued laws against paganism and Christian heresies. These changes had an impact on the development of the city. The center of Salona was moved to the east, where in the 5th century an episcopal center was built, with a double basilica, a baptistery and a bishop's palace. At the beginning of the 5th century, the Saloniter became Bishop Metropolitan of Dalmatia. In Salona in the years 530 and 533 two important church meetings of all Dalmatian bishops were held. After the division of the empire in 395, the province of Dalmatia became the Western Roman Empire, and after its final collapse in 476 Dalmatia belonged to the kingdom of the Odoacer.


History of Salona

Salona was found by the Illyrian tribes in the first millennium BC. Greek traders set up a emporion (market place) in the city to trade goods. Romans were less friendly. In the first century they turned Salona into a colony. After defeating Baton uprising in 6- 9 AD Romans turned Salona into a capital of their new province of Dalmatia. The city had a shape of trapezium surrounded by walls and tower.
In the time of Emperor Octavian Augustus the Romans constructed a Capitol and toward the end of the first century they added a theatre that could seat up to 3,500 spectators. Furthermore amphitheatre was added in the second century AD that seated 19,00 spectators. It contained a small pagan shrine to goddess Nemesis that was later converted into a chapel to honor martyrs that once died here. The Arena was leveled by the Venetians in the 17th century.
Outside of the Salona city walls you can find necropolis. The most famous and most visited is Metrodori in Hort. The beginning of the end of this beautiful city that had over 60,000 inhabitants in its prime began in the 5th century than Huns and Goths marched through Balkan Peninsula without much resistance from the Roman armies. Subsequent invasion of Avars and Slavs in 614 largely destroyed Salona. Gradually it went in decline and was not resettled again. Some of its stones were reused to construct near by churches, palaces and other monuments around Salona.








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