Emperor Diocletian had this octagonal building constructed for his mausoleum – ironic considering Diocletian was a persecutor of early Christians. Ironic also that the cathedral is dedicated to Saint Domnius (Sveti Duje or Dujem) the patron saint of Split and 3rd century Bishop of nearby Solin who was martyred by Diocletian.
The building was converted into a cathedral in the mid 7th century and the centre of the octagon (originally meant for Diocletian’s sarcophagus) was ritually destroyed.
Local artist Andrija Buvina carved two wooden cathedral doors in 1214 AD, showing 14 images illustrating the life of Jesus with gold plating. The altar on the right is dedicated to patron Saint Domnius in the late Gothic style.
The altar to the left was constructed by famed Croatian architect Juraj Dalmatinac in the 15th century and dedicated to another martyr and patron saint of Split, Anastasius.
In the adjoining sacristy building, you can access the treasury containing 13th century chalices and icons, church vestments, manuscripts and documents dating back to the 6th century. Below the cathedral is the crypt, which was turned in to the Chapel of St. Lucy (Sveta Luce) during the Middle Ages.
I’m sure the panoramic view from the bell tower is glorious, I unfortunately am scared of heights. Be warned the staircases are narrow and steep and if you suffer from claustrophobia, I don’t recommend the climb. The construction of the bell tower started in the first half of the 13th century and (according to local legend) took about 300 years to complete.
Famed architects Nicholas Florentine and Andrea Alesi helped create this iconic tower. It was designed in the Romanesque style although details from other architectural eras were thrown in the mix during the 300-year construction timeline. Its height is 60 meters.