History of Salona
Salona was the capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia in which the Roman emperor Diocletian was born. It, of course, existed even before, but its Roman period is the most significant. Before Diocletian built his palace in Split, Salona was very important both politically and religiously. It had 60 000 inhabitants and was the 4th biggest town in the Roman Empire. During his reign, many monumental buildings were built like amphitheatre and forums, temples and thermae were renovated. It was the centre of culture, art and civilization.
Salona also became the centre of Christianity of this area between the 4th and 6th century. Since Christians were prosecuted and especially in the period of Diocletian, Salona had many martyrs because, as a centre of Christianity, it attracted preachers. One of the most known martyr is St Domnius who was the first bishop of Solin and who is now the protector of Split.
Salona was destroyed in the 7th century by the attack of the Avars and Slavs; the surviving population fled to islands and Diocletian's palace where began the life of a new city, Split.
Sights in Salona
When you come to Salona, there is plenty to see and explore, but here are the most interesting sights:
1) Manastirine - this is one of the greatest early Christian cemeteries. It has not yet been completely explored; up until now, thousands of tombs and inscriptions have been discovered.
2) Thermae - there were several public thermae in Salona. The best preserved are those east of the city basilica. Although they are something smaller, hey have all the rooms characteristic of Roman thermae.
3) Amphitheatre - supposedly, it was built in the 2nd century AC; shaped elliptically, it could receive 18 000 spectators. Near the amphitheatre, there was a cemetery of killed gladiators who fought in the arena. From the epitaphs, we learn their names, origin, homeland and fighting specialties.
4) Porta Caesarea - the oldest city gates are very well preserved. The path that led out of the city through the door, after a hundred meters crossed the stone arches called "Five Bridges".
Among these, there are also two more cemeteries, several churches, a theatre, city walls, bishopric baptistery and more.
Getting to Salona
Salona is situated 6 km north of Split. If you don't have a car, you can get there by bus 37 which goes to Trogir from the main bus station Sukoisanska or by bus 1 which goes every 30 minutes from the main bus station Croatian National Theatre.
The entrance fee to Salona is 20 kn.