Location: 5 km (3mi) from Splin Map

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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.


Geographical location
Six kilometers north of Split in today's Solin are the remains of the ancient city of Salona, the metropolis of the Roman province of Dalmatia. Favorable geographical position in the middle of the eastern Adriatic coast and accommodation at the bottom of the protected Kastela Bay, along the delta of the river Salon (today Jadro), and good road connection with the interior, across the Klis pass, conditioned the rapid and undisturbed development of the city.


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 originally a coastal stronghold and port of the Illyrian Delmatians in the immediate vicinity of Tragurion and Epetion, colonies that in the 3rd century BC. founded by the Isaiah Greeks. At that time, in addition to the native Illyrians and Greek settlers, a large number of Italians lived in Salona. At the time of the Roman conflicts with the Illyrians for supremacy on the eastern Adriatic coast, in Salona in 119 BC resided the Roman proconsul Lucius Cecilia Metellus, who was nicknamed Dalmaticus (Dalmaticus) because of his victories over the Illyrians.

After the civil war between Caesar and Pompey, in 48 BC Krista Salona received the status of a Roman colony with the full title Colonia Martia Ivlia Salona, ​​and became the center of Illyricum, later the province of Dalmatia.

After the suppression of the last Illyrian rebellion (Baton's uprising, from the 6th to the 9th year), a period of peace and prosperity began for Salona, ​​visible through urban development and strong construction activity.

The old town center was trapezoidal in shape, surrounded by walls and fortified with towers, some parts of which date from the 2nd century BC. To this day, the eastern wing of the city walls, built of large stone blocks with gates bounded by octagonal towers from the time of Augustus (Porta Caesarea), has been preserved. From them ran a road whose one direction turned southeast and south, while the other led north inland.

The rapid development of the city in the time of Augustus and throughout the first century was accompanied by the construction of public buildings. A forum was built in the southeastern part with the Capitol as the center of public, political, and religious life. A theater was erected near the forum at the end of the 1st century, which could accommodate about 3,500 spectators. The depiction of the Salona showing the theater is on Trajan's Column in Rome.


South of the theater was a previously built temple. Outside the city walls, along the roads that led outside the city, according to Roman custom, necropolises were built. The most famous is the western necropolis, called in horto Metrodori, located along the road to Tragurion and known for the "cyclopean" construction of the fence walls of the grave plots. From the 1st century BC. Krista city spreads to the west and east, and due to the danger of Germanic tribes the extensions are surrounded by walls and fortified with rectangular towers. The city got an elliptical shape whose axes were about 1600 meters in the east-west direction and about 700 meters in the north-south direction.

During the construction of the ramparts, individual buildings, in order to build faster, become an integral part of them. The above-ground part of the water supply system was incorporated into the ramparts, which supplied the city with drinking water from the source of the Jadra as early as the 1st century BC and the most monumental Salonitan building amphitheater, erected in the second half of the 2nd century in the extreme northwestern part of the city.

This Roman building, in whose arena the bloody battles of gladiators and beasts took place, could accommodate almost 19,000 spectators. Two shrines of the goddess of destiny and revenge Nemesis, worshiped by gladiators, were discovered in the substructures of the auditorium. Christians later turned these shrines into memorial chapels in memory of the Christian martyrs killed in the arena.

In the area of ​​the eastern city extension, parts of residential buildings and the remains of the city insula were discovered, and southeast of Porte Caesarea the ruins of a luxury villa, probably a praetorium, the palace of the governor of the province. The floors of the palace are decorated with multicolored mosaics depicting characters from mythology (Apollo, Triton, Orpheus).

A large number of private and public spas were discovered in Salona. The best preserved are the Great City Baths from the end of the 2nd century in the eastern part of the city.

A significant period in the development of the city was the reign of Emperor Diocletian, who built a magnificent palace near Salona, ​​to which he retired after his abdication on May 1, 305, when the existence of the city of Split was counted.

In his time, many monumental buildings were built, the forum, temples and spas were renovated, and an amphitheater was added. At that time, Salona and its surroundings had about 60,000 inhabitants, and the city had a strong cosmopolitan spirit. In addition to the official Roman religion, various oriental beliefs existed in Salona, ​​such as the cults of Isis and Cybele, and especially the worship of the Asia Minor sun deity Mithras, whose shrines were found in several places within the city.

From the middle of the 3rd century a Christian community developed in Salona, ​​which is connected with the work of the first Salonitan bishop Venancius, who came from Rome with the task of organizing the Church in Salona and spreading Christianity in the interior of the province. During the reign of Emperor Diocletian (284-305), his successor, Bishop Domnius, a native of Syria, was killed in the persecution of Christians in 304. Along with him, many other Christians from the area of ​​Salona were tortured and executed, including Anastasia, the priest Asterius, and four soldiers of Diocletian's bodyguard (Antioch, Gaius, Telius, and Paulinian).

After the Roman emperor Constantine issued in 313 the so-called The Edict of Milan, which allowed Christians to profess their religion freely, and one of his successors, Emperor Theodosius the Great, declared Christianity the only permitted religion at the end of the 4th century, greatly changed the urban development of the city. The center of the city was moved from the forum to the eastern part of the city, where at the beginning of the 5th century an episcopal center with double basilicas, a baptistery and a bishop's palace was built.

At the beginning of the 5th century, the Bishop of Salona became the Metropolitan of Dalmatia, and in 530 and 533, two important ecclesiastical councils of all Dalmatian bishops were held in Salona.

After the division of the Empire in 395, the province of Dalmatia belonged to the western part, and after the fall of the western Roman Empire in 476, Salona became part of the state of the Ostrogothic king Odoacer.