Diocletian�s Palace - The Basement Halls

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                        Diocletian´s Palace - The Basement Halls
Diocletian´s palace represents today a unique example of Roman architecture. The greatest part of it
reached our days in a remarkable preserved condition. The dimensions of the palace are some 215
by 180 meters. Look at the plan as follows:
                                                          Porta aurea

                                                                                                 for defense

                                                                                                   Long open corridor
                                                                                                   with a perfect view
                                                                                                   to the sea for

           Western basement                                                                         Eastern basement
                 halls                                                                                    halls

The basement halls (marked by           ) are commonly called the substructions. They were built in
the southern part of the palace to level the biased grounds and to provide foundations for
construction of the Emperor´s quarters on the upper floor just directly above the sea level.
Consequently, the excavated basement halls as the substructure of the upper floor entirely
correspond, in terms of their shape and placement, to the Emperor´s ruinated quarters. The
basement halls are the largest preserved structure of Diocletian´s palace.
Have a look at the detailed plan of the basements:

                                               Today´s entrance

Today´s entrance was at Diocletian ´s time of no official gate. There were three gates on the other sides, the main gate
was the Northern Gate, called the “Porta aurea”, which was especially fortified by a vestibule (see the plan of the whole
palace above!). This gate marked the end of the street coming from Salona.

ICT in the Classroom                                                                                           GTI       1

The western basement halls of Diocletian´s palace

01   2 wells                                     The wells are now placed at the very entrance. Such wells
                                                 belong to a specific type of Hellenistic tomb, called
                                                 “epitymbia”. They are dated between the 4th and 1st
                                                 centuries B.C.
02   6 rectangular halls                         You may presume that the analogous chambers on the
03                                               upper floor were used as bedrooms or cubicula for
                                                 Diocletian´s servants or guests.
08   3 narrow and long corridors                 These luminary corridors had the function of conducting
09                                               light into the basement halls and were partly roofed with
                                                 vaulted ceilings.
11   largest hall                                This hall has got a shape of three aisled basilica. Six
                                                 massive pillars carry cross-vaulted ceilings which continue
                                                 along the northern semi-circular apse. Probably the
                                                 analogous chamber on the upper floor was the main
                                                 dwelling room of the emperor, the sala regia
12   2 staircases                                .On both sides of the apsis there are staircases leading to
                                                 the street (western one) and to the upper floor (eastern
13   longitudinal chamber with vaulted ceiling   The analogous room on the upper floor probably served as
     and semi circular apse                      the Emperor´s reception room. The Roman wooden beams,
                                                 which supported ceiling structure, were found in this room.
14   small cross-shaped room                     Parts of an early Mediaeval oil press was found. In the 7th
                                                 century refugees from Salone started to settle down in the
                                                 palace. They transformed the room into a cellar and
                                                 installed an oil-press.
15   small room with circular ground plan.       Today a sphinx of Egyptian provenience is exhibited.
16   chamber                                     The Roman wooden beams, found in room 13, are
                                                 exhibited in this room.

The eastern basement halls of Diocletian´s palace

17   main eastern corridor                       Some finds from the period before the building of the
                                                 palace are exhibited in this corridor: a part of a base, the
                                                 capital of a column or a beam.
25   hall in the centre                          A dining room table is exhibited, whose dimensions are
                                                 155 x 156 cms. This wonderful table must have been
                                                 originally in the Triclinium in the upper floor.

ICT in the Classroom                                                                                GTI         2

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