In the ancient times Salona (today’s Solin) was a very huge town, in fact, it was the capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia.
The remains of its old glory lies today at the suburbs of the town of Solin which is only 5 km from Split city center.
This ancient Roman city has never been treated as an important history heritage of Split. It was just considered as a group of interesting ruins on a large piece of land only 5 km from Emperor Diocletian palace.
These old remainders of the one of the most important Roman cities with over 60000 inhabitants can be compared with Naples’s Pompeii (much more famous) but while Pompeii has had problems for years and years with torrential rains that had a devastating effects on the ruins, Salona is the best example of how local authorities in Croatia poorly treat the rich country heritage.
It was a stronghold and a harbor of the Illyrian Delmati which quite early came into the sphere of influence of the Greeks on the Adriatic.
Julius Caesar, who was then the governor of Illyricum gave it the rank of a colony (Colonia Martia Julia Salona) – the center of the province of Illyricum and afterwards of the province of Dalmatia.
Salona Split Amphitheater
One of the most interesting monuments still visible is the base of the ancient amphitheater. The famous Danish architect and archaeologist, explorer Ejnar Dyggve believes to have been built in the second century AD, during the strong growth of Salona. It is assumed that it could accommodate 18 to 20,000 spectators.
This ‘small’ amphitheater remained almost in its original shape up to the 17th century when the Venetians destroyed it in fear that the Turks may return and use it as a fortification.
In the vicinity of the amphitheater, to its south, there was a cemetery for gladiators killed in the arena. From their epitaphs, we learn their names, origins, homelands and fighting specialties.
Salona Hollow Church
Close by the river Jadro, to the east of Salona, there are remains of churches on the site known for centuries by the local people by the true, descriptive name of Suplja crkva (Hollow Church).
The church is from the 11th century, linked with the coronation of Zvonimir as a Croatian king in 1075, built within a large early-Christian basilica, probably from the 6th century.
Next to the church, there was a Benedictine monastery, possibly connected with the dynasty, which is a possible reason why the new church was built within the old one, to become the site of such an important event. This fact has made this early-Romanesque three-aisles basilica particularly famous. This text is taken from Solin tourist website!
Salona Split Museum
Salona is really fascinating place but still undiscovered due to lack of funds. I do hope that after the renewal of excavations this place that will show many more unearthed treasures.
Recently, during the enlargement of local road, several magnificent sarcophagi have been discovered with very detailed and elaborate ornaments! These can be seen at the very entrance to the site.
On the website of Museum building in Salona you can find working hours of this archeological site. In case you would like to know about organized Salona tours I suggest this local Solin travel agency – Ventula Travel.
The entrance fee is KN 20.
Salona can be reached by local bus N°1, N° 10, N° 16 and N° 37 bus to Trogir.