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Cathedral of St. Domnius (Split)

Split Cathedral of Saint Domnius







Description of The cathedral of Saint Domnius

Cathedral of St. Domnius (in Croatian: Katedrala Svetog Duje), locally known as St. Dujam (Sveti Dujam) or, colloquially as St. Duje (Sveti Duje), is a Catholic cathedral in Split, Croatia, and the Archdiocese of Split -Makarska. The current building is a junction of a Roman mausoleum, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, with a bell tower, dedicated to St. Domnius, both part of the complex of buildings included in Diocletian's Palace. Consecrated at the turn of the seventh century, the Cathedral of St. Domnius is considered the oldest in the world to still use its original structure without undergoing any complete overhaul over the centuries. The structure itself, built in 305 to be the mausoleum of the Roman emperor Diocletian, is the second oldest structure still used today by a Christian cathedral.


The cathedral was dedicated to St. Domnius (in Croatian: Sveti Dujam or Sveti Duje), patron of Split, a bishop of Salona of Century III. Salona was a large Roman city that served as the capital of the province of Dalmatia and today corresponds to the outskirts of the modern city of Solin, Croatia. St. Domnius was martyred with seven other Christians during the persecution of Diocletian. He was born in Antioch and was beheaded in 304 in Salona.


The cathedral of Saint Domnius was constructed in Byzantine style on the tomb of Emperor Diocletian. Roman columns and stone was reused to construct the church. Famous Juraj the Dalmatian created the altar of Saint Stasa with magnificent reliefs. The wooden doors of the cathedral made by Andrija Bouvnies (1214) depict 28 scenes from the Bible. Additionally the museum exhibits historic manuscripts, relics and chest crosses. Near the cathedral stands a five story bell tower constructed in the 12th century.


View from Cathedral of Saint Domnius

Split Cathedral of Saint Domnius





Diocletian's Palace is a large Roman palace in the center of Split, built for the Emperor Diocletian (born in Dalmatia) at the turn of the fourth century. At the intersection of the two main streets of the city, the thistle and the decumbent, there is a monumental peristyle square in which is the only entrance to the cathedral, to the east.

The cathedral itself is made up of three distinct parts from different eras. The main one is the mausoleum of Diocletian, which dates from the end of the third century. It was built in the same manner as the rest of the palace, in local white limestone, high quality marble, mostly obtained in the quarries of the island of Bra─Ź, tufted from the bed of the neighboring river Jadro and bricks made in the potteries of Salona.

In the seventeenth century, a choir was added on the eastern side of the mausoleum and, to allow expansion, the east wall was demolished.

The bell tower was built in 1100, in Romanesque style. A major reconstruction in 1908 radically altered the structure and many of the Romanesque sculptures were removed.

The cathedral's wooden doors are among the finest examples of Romanesque sculpture in Croatia. They were carved by Croatian medieval sculptor and painter Andrija Buvina around 1220. The two sheets contain fourteen scenes from the life of Jesus, separated by rich carvings.




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