The Days of Diocletian
Next edition: to be announced (the event was last held in 2016)
Split (Split-Dalmatia county)
Geographical, cultural and historical context
Split, situated on a peninsula along the eastern shores of the Adriatic Sea, is the second-largest city in Croatia, as well as an important transport hub and one of Croatia's best tourist destination. Since 1979, the old town, which is centered around the ancient Roman Palace of Diocletian (Caius Aurelius Valerianus Diocletianus, 244-311 AD, late Roman Emperor) is included into the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. Although archaeological researches prove that Split was founded long before as an ancient Greek colony called Aspálathos (Aσπάλαθος) from the name of the spiny broom (calicotome spinosa, a common shrub in the area), the history of the city is traditionally identified with the construction of Diocletian's Palace (295-305 AD), one of the biggest and best preserved late antique palace in the world, named after its creator, Diocletian who chose that beautiful Adriatic spot as retirement place for himself and his family.
Event description and programme
Every year, in mid- to end-August, Split celebrates Diocletian who was actually born in the antique town of Salona, today named Solin, just 5 km from the heart of Split, and became famous not only for his economical, administrative and military reforms to strengthen the Roman Empire inside and outside, but also because of the greatest and bloodiest persecution of Christianity (303–311 AD) as well as for being the only Roman Emperor to voluntarily abdicate the position. It happened in AD 305, when Diocletian himself decided to leave active politics and retire to his palace in Split, a huge and magnificent imperial villa built as a massive structure and intended both for the emperor's retirement but also as a well-fortified camp.
And is just the Diocletian's Palace to become the authentic set of the 5 days celebrations, which will take Split a step back into the time thanks to hundreds of Reenactors from Croatia and Italy and the great partecipation of the citizens themselves all dressed in historically faithful Roman costumes. The event starts with the imperial parade around the city with Diocletian on his chariot accompanied by his wife, the empress Prisca, the family and the legionaries. The rich programme includes gladiator fights, military maneuvers and drills of legionaries, music and dance shows, street theatre, a great imperial banquet with food and drinks of the period, and yet guided tours at the City Museum, Living History displays and workshops, special programs for children with several leisure and educational activities, and much more to discover.
Please contact the Organizers for confirmation and further the details.
Info & Contact
Split City Council / Grad Split
Address: Obala kneza Branimira 17, 21000 Split, Croatia
Split Tourist Board / Turistička zajednica grada Splita
Address: Obala Hrv. narodnog preporoda 7/9, 21000 Split, Croatia
Tel: +385 (0)21 348 600 | Fax: +385 (0)21 348 604
Croatian National Tourist Board
Address: Trg Drage Iblera 10 / 4, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Tel.: +385 1 4699 333
Image: Vojko Bašić - Days of Diocletian via Split Tourist Board
Text sources: Split Tourist Board, Wikipedia, Croatian National Tourist Board
Split and the Diocletian Palace on Google Maps:
Video reportages and promos of the event: