✔ ANCIENT HISTORY
✔ ROMAN RUINS
Salona – a truly remarkable piece of Europe’s ancient history!
The beginnings of the city are related to the indigenous Illyrian tribes, which had an important port in this area. Salona was a multicultural settlement, and home for various ancient religious cults.
In the course of the wars between the Illyrians and the Romans, the city fell under the rule of the young Roman Republic. Subsequently Salona became the capital of the entire province called Dalmatia.
The reign of Diocletian, who originated from this area, is considered to be the peak period of Salona’s development prosperity. It was a bustling metropolis with over 60,000 inhabitants!
In the following years Salona developed into an important center of Christianity According to tradition, the first bishop of Salona was St. Venantius, a martyr from the era of Emperor Valerian.
Another bishop – St. Domnio/ Domnius also suffered a martyr’s death here- while today he happens to be celebrated as the patron saint of the city of Split!
The city was conquered and razed to the ground during the barbarian invasions of the 7th century.
The city remained in the hands of barbarians and then passed under Byzantine and then Croatian rule.
In the Middle Ages, it played quite an important role, becoming a burial and coronation place for several Croatian rulers.
The remnants of those times are sacral objects located to the west of the ancient buildings. The fast-developing neighboring Split did not give Salona a chance to revive.
In the 16th century, the Venetians dismantled the ruins of the Roman amphitheater – fearing that the Ottoman invaders could turn it into a bastion from which they would conduct artillery attacks.
The ancient metropolis was re-invented in the 19th century. Extensive archaeological research was conducted here by an outstanding local researcher, Frane Bulic. It was he who, in 1894, organized the International Congress of Christian Archeology in Salona.
The Ancient Necropolis built outside the city walls, with the remains of a 3 nave basilica. It was the burial location of the local martyr St. Domnius.
The location where the International Congress of Christian Archeology took place in 1894. The name refers to Cicero’s villa, and the building itself was modeled after it. Nowadays, young inhabitants of Split often decide to organize their wedding photo sessions here.
The Episcopal Center with the Baptistery and the Oratories
The remains of what used to be the largest twin basilica complex in the entire area of Eastern Adriatic, as well as locations where early Christians would secretly gather for worship. The complex also includes the remains of a baptistery.
Dating back to the mid-2nd century AD., the amphitheater had three floors and an arena of over 2,500 square meters. The total capacity was an impressive 17,000 spectators! The gathered crowds most often watched gladiator fights, although there were also executions of Christians taking place here. The first to die in the arena were Bishop Domnio and five martyrs in 304 A.D.
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