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Solin is a sleepy town just 5km northeast of Split with little to recommend it except the extensive ruins of ancient Salona just outside and sandwiched between two highways.
Under the Romans, Salona was the political centre of the Dalmatia region, reaching its peak under Emperor Diocletian who built his palace in Split. Huns and Goths swept down in the middle of the 5th century announcing the end of Roman rule. Salona wound up in the Eastern Roman Empire but in 614 the Slavs and Avars moved in and levelled the town to the ground.
The ruins are relatively unvisited which allows you to calmly commune with the spirits of centuries past. The most impressive ruin is the 2nd-century amphitheatre which was destroyed by the Venetians in the 17th century. At one time it could accommodate 18,000 spectators and who knows how many gladiators fighting bears.
Also interesting is the Manastirine, a burial place for early Christian martyrs (torn apart by lions?) which is part of an archaeological reserve which includes the Tusculum Museum.
Other remains from the early Christian period include the remains of a cemetery basilica that dates from the 4th century and the ruins of a three-nave cathedral with an octagonal baptistery.
You'll notice remains of a covered aqueduct from the 1st century, public baths and other ancient churches. There's also a small museum near the entrance which sometimes has informative leaflets.
For more information on Solin, contact the tourist office.(tel 021-210 048) at Zvonimira 69. For visitor information to the ruins, contact the museum office (tel 021-211 538)
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