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:
Long open corridor
with a perfect view
to the sea for
Western basement Eastern basement
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 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
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
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