We hadn’t pre-booked our accommodation at Split so decided to go a bit more upmarket (4*) and had a room with a balcony and a great view of the port where there are ferry boats constantly coming and going. So tempting to order champagne and install ourselves on the balcony for a few hours but we were good little tourists and went directly to the main attraction of Split, which is Diocletian’s Palace and The Basement Halls. The Palace itself was begun around 298A.D. and took ten years to complete. Typically Roman, its two main streets, Cardo and Decumanus, run N-S and E-W, to create four quarters. Each main gate is located in the centre of each main wall. The palace is billed as one of the best-preserved Roman buildings of its type in the world but it is occupied by souvenir shops and restaurants and there are even people living within the walls. Some structures have been destroyed and the stones used to construct ‘new’ buildings. It is quite a hotchpotch and unlike any Roman ruins that we have seen elsewhere. It was very disappointing, but the Basement Halls are interesting and well preserved, although one wonders for how long. The virulent green of the moss patches on the stones testifies to the amount of water seepage occurring but, in the the basements, at least, you can still appreciate Roman ingenuity and design.
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