Sunday, 24 September 2017

Split - Cathedral of St Domnius

This is no ordinary cathedral visit. much of the attraction was to climb the campanile for a view of the city.

 After a visit to the treasury to see the usual gaudy relics and silverware accumulated by rapacious catholic clergy one ventures into the cathedral itself, adapted out of Diocletian's mausoleum.

 An early wooden depiction of Christ on the cross. Unfortunately rather than appearing to have suffered many wounds the artist has overdone it and makes him look like he has chicken pox.


A somewhat better depiction of Christ.

Now this is the mausoleum, an octagonal building form the outside but circular inside, with a finely created brick dome.


 Diocletian's body has disappeared, presumably disposed of by Christians anxious to destroy all traces of a pagan emperor in an attempt to appease their new vengeful god. But the one bit of classical decoration that survived the carnage was the frieze of hunting scenes at the top, which also include portraits of Diocletian and his empress. Possibly they were in just too awkward a place to desecrate, or they were just too ignorant to know who the portraits were depicting, and hunting scenes were pretty neutral, although now would probably be seen as the most offensive thing, innocent furry animals being chased to their bloody deaths. Times change.

The doors are worthy of mention, if only that they survive from the 13th century

So then onto the climb of the bell-tower. This is particularly of note I feel because it was begun in the 13th century but not finished until 1908.  Now that is a long-term construction project. Of course, why you do it is for the views, not just from the top but all the way up.

 Back down to earth, the crypt is nicely atmospheric.

And finally, down a little alleyway opposite the cathedral is the baptistery, whose attraction is mainly that it isn't a baptistery really but an adaptation of a Roman temple built by Diocletian.

 Particularly of note is the coffered ceiling.

Of course it has had many later accretions, including a skinny John the Baptist which actually dates only from the 1950s.

And an 11th century font with amazingly crude carvings given the amazingly fine ones that were being carved a thousand years earlier by the pagans.

 The exterior of the cathedral/mausoleum, showing its octagonal form.

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