The original palace, which took about 10 years to complete, was built in AD 298. The palace was both a luxurious villa and a Roman garrison. Its rectangular shape has two main streets that divide the palace into four quarters: Dioklecijanova Ul, which runs north to south, and Poljana Krajlice Jelene which runs east to west. Each of the four walls have a main gate, the largest and most important being the northern Zlatna Vrata (Golden Gate), which once opened onto the road to the Roman settlement of Salona. The entrance from the western wall was the Željezna Vrata (Iron Gate), and the entrance through the east wall was the Srebrena Vrata (Silver Gate). The Mjedna Vrata (Bronze Gate) on the south wall faces directly onto the sea, and during Roman times boats would have docked here. The city celebrated the palace's 1,700th birthday in 2005 and continues to share the heritage of its Roman emperor by annually marking the last Friday in July as Diocletian's Night.
Hire an experienced private guide that can give you a walking tour in the early morning hours in order to experience the true history of the palace walls. Currently more than 1,000 people live within what once was a Roman emperor's palace, which can make it more difficult to uncover this treasure as it once was.