Lens Artists Photo Challenge #78 – Special Spot Shots

Having delighted in all your favorite photos from 2019, We would love to invite you to some Special Spot Shots!

In November 1979 the historic city of Split, Croatia, built around the Diocletian Palace, was included in the UNESCO register of World Cultural Heritage. Today, the palace is well preserved with all the most important historical buildings. It is so well hidden behind new facades and modern stores, that If you don’t know where the southern gate to the palace is – you will not find your way in!

Somewhere behind those palm trees, lies the entrance to the palace’s cellars – let’s enter – My Special Spot!

Diocletian’s Palace  was built for the Roman emperor Diocletian at the turn of the fourth century AD, which today forms about half the old town of Split, Croatia. It is referred to as a ”palace”, but the term is rather misleading as the structure is massive and more resembles a large fortress: about half of it was for Diocletian’s personal use, and the rest housed the military garrison.

The construction of Diocletian’s palace is assumed to have begun around 295, and the ground plan of the palace is an irregular rectangle measuring east: 214.97 m, north: 174.74 m, south: 181.65 m

There is a legend, probably from the 10th century, telling how Croatian king Držislav (named King Solomon), captured by the Venetians, played a chess match to gain his freedom. He won all three parties and was set free, and in some versions, he also got power over the Dalmatian cities. Thus, the chessboard ended up in the Croatian flag.

The northern gate is one of the four principal Roman gates into the Palace – originally the Main gate (the Golden Gate) from which the Emperor entered the complex. The gate is on the road to the north, towards Salona, the then capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia and Diocletian’s birthplace.

The second most important gate was the Silver Gate – here seen from the monumental central square, the Peristyle, inside the palace.

The Palace was built of white local limestone and marble of high quality, most of which was from the Brač marble quarries on the island of Brač, of tuff taken from the nearby river beds, and of brick made in Salonitan and other factories. The stones we walked are the original ones – which gives you quite the feeling and perspective!

As the world’s most complete remains of a Roman palace, it holds an outstanding place in Mediterranean, European, and world heritage. Diocletian’s Palace was also used as a location for filming the fourth season of the HBO series Game of Thrones.

The old city is very much alive – not a museum.

The Palace was decorated with numerous 3500-year-old granite sphinxes, possibly originating from the site of Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose III. Only three have survived the centuries. One is still on the Peristyle – as seen above.

After some hours of breathtakingly being transported through history, we left by the same gate we entered, the southern gate, where the emperor used to arrive by boat. As we already had noticed, today’s modern sphinxes rule the city – the cats. This sphinx sitting on the left hand side – watching you arrive and watching you leave.

Kroatien Bosnien Herzegovina 325-4

Surely he has got the true sphinx look !

Now we are looking forward to seeing Your very special spot shots – maybe a room in your home, a garden, a mountain, a city, an exhibition, a lovely café…a place that is special to you!


Thank you for so generously sharing your own 2019 with us! We have enjoyed so many interesting galleries – and it was so hard to pick just some of them, but…

Have you seen these:

Sue’s eclectic gallery

From Beyond the Window Box and Judith we get gardening and beautiful views of Berwick upon Tweed

Paulie of The Life in My Years shares some stunning memories – and life lessons – with us

Su Leslie sends a glorious gallery from New Zealand

Davide‘s gallery will surprise you

Be sure to link to my original post, (Links posted within the Reader are not working correctly) and to use the Lens-Artists tag to help us find you. And, of course please visit Amy’s blog next week for Challenge #79!

As always, Patti, Amy, Tina and I hope you will join us.




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    • Amy, thanks, and that cat was loved by me too…great seeing him there watching us come and go. He’s just a tiny spot in the last photo but one, but very much alive…
      Thank you for posting and joining in!

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  26. A beautiful post … beautiful images. Now I have to put Split to my bucket list. Love all the small angle and details you have captured. Now I have to find my spot. *LAUGHING

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    • Glad you enjoyed them, Sue! I did love that cat too…sitting there waiting, watching people come and go. I was surprised to see him still there when we finally reached the end of the tunnel!

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  38. What an amazing place. You must be able to feel the ghosts. We are a young country but I’ve still marveled at running my hand over the same banister that other hands did 200 years earlier. What must it be like in such an ancient place as Split? Thanks so much for such an inspirational challenge and for sharing your very special spot.

    • Wendy – I think history puts us in awe no matter how old or grand. Things that really get me going is TV series or films made with themes of people living on this earth before us. When I was young there was a series on the old Roman emperors, so well played and in the old palace environments. Derek Jacobi was one of the actors who made the series come alive. Being able to visit these places in real life was enhanced by those memories!

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  41. Oooh, how good it feels to see Split again. I never went inside the palace though. And never before I heard how come that the chessboard got onto the Croatian flag!! Imagine this, and we’re neighbours and all. It’s like you wouldn’t know why all the different colours of crosses on all your neighbours’ flags (which I don’t know but you probably do).

    If I think of Split, it’s the hitchhiking days, their dialect and their hip-hop, their basketball, the islands, the fact that now I live just as much to the south, on the same latitude on the west coast of Italy.

    I don’t have my post ready yet but it will come in the next days. Thank you for this whiff of Dalmatia.

    • Glad to have provided a whiff, Manja! And, isn’t it the typical thing – not knowing about your closest neighbours…I don’t know why Finland and Denmark have the special colours in their flags…

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  49. Hi, AC. Fabulous theme and post. It has all the right ingredients for me–great historical information, culture, photos, and animals! I am looking forward to seeing everyone’s responses.

  50. Enjoyed your culture rich photos and because I finally was able to see game of Thrones – I can appreciate seeing a place they filmed some of it – and season 4 chase with Arya was likely filmed there and Ann-Christine – this is amazing

    Great theme this week – and here is my link:

      • Hi leya! When I was in bed rest from a car accident in June – I had the chance to start GOT…
        And later in the summer I finished the season because I had to (and did need to rest those ribs)
        The ayra running/chase scene in season 4 is truly a top episode for me – and a lot of season 4 is…
        I hope you get to watch the show -esp after being able to travel to such cool places – you can experience things more

        Side note – on a retreat in the fall I ”defended” game of thrones when someone was slamming it for being ”raunchy and dark”
        They really judged the movie by a few episodes and did not give it a chance –
        I did forward thru some scenes for blood or nudity – but a amazing show and glad I was able to experience GOT

      • I believe you – my two children were amazed with it, and they don’t approve of bad shows or bad actors, so…I know I should give it a chance. Don’t want to hurt my ribs to get there though ;-D Thank you for pushing me!

      • Hahah – yes – don’t wait for sore ribs – but it is a huge time commitment and so that does have to be considered – thanks again for bringing us to this cool historical place – I can see why they picked it for the filming – hidden and so ideal

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  52. The story of the chessboard pattern on the flag was really interesting and so were the glimpses of this fascinating palace. Knowing it has a Game of thrones connection made it even more special 😊.

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  56. I so enjoyed the virtual tour you shared. I can see why you enjoyed visiting there, so much to see! You captured the textures, the colors, and the vibe so well, makes me want to add that place to a bucket list to visit. I probably will never go, so I appreciated seeing your perspective. I love the cat photo too – you’re right, he looks just like a sphinx! I didn’t travel far for my special spot https://www.quaintrevival.com/my-hygge-view-from-wisconsin/

  57. So many beautiful shots in just one post!! I could never decide which one I like most! 😀 And it’s been wonderful to learn more about your special spot – my! What a p(a)lace! 😉 And so lovely to learn more about its history too!!

    • Thank you, Sarah, I was overwhelmed by its beauty and the tranquility of the winter season. I know there are thousands of tourists during summer. So glad you enjoyed it!

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  60. Beautiful photos. Makes me want to pack and take the next train to Croatia. In fact, having been close by both eatwards and westwards, I don’t know why I haven’t visited Croatia yet.

    My special place from last year is not a historic place, nor one which is declared to be the world’s heritage. Yet I think it should be, since the place preserves two histories simultaneously: of Greek-speaking Turks who had to leave, and ethnic-Turkish Greeks who were forced to live in the village they left behind. Two cultures displaced almost a century ago, but still visible in a village called Şirince, in Turkey: https://anotherglobaleater.wordpress.com/2019/06/22/walking-through-sirince/

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  63. What a great challenge, together with your own response to it. I may not be able to join it, as we’re in Spain, and I can only post pictures from my phone. But as we’re visiting Barcelona and Cádiz, I’ll join in ‘virtually’!

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  65. You have me itching to go there! 🙂 🙂 It’s always been on my list, so you never know. Fabulous shots, and history, Ann Christine! Happy 1st Sunday in 2020 🙂 🙂

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  71. Beautiful photos and historical info, AC! We were there in September, it was packed with tourists. I struggle to take a few photos, but they were very disappointing. I am so glad I get a chance to see your fabulous shots! 🙂

  72. Fun challenge and wonderful response Ann-Christine. You’ve featured a truly special spot with your gorgeous images. Like Janet it is probably one I will never see so your images are that much more important to me. Several of the scenes within the structure reminded me very much of our trip to Jerusalem and the walls of the old city. They certainly built things to last in days gone by.

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  75. This is certainly a special spot, one I also had never heard of. Thanks so much for sharing this in words as well as photos. One of the joys of blogging is the opportunity to see places I will never/might not ever see. This one’s a beauty and certainly a treasure.


    • So glad to share it – and I didn’t know this until some months ago when researching. I must agree with the advantages of blogging…so much and so many places I would never have heard of otherwise. Enriching.

  76. We have nothing around here to rival the antiquity of the heritage sites you have shared. Here in New England our European history starts really in the 1600’s when most construction was basic and humble as folks tried to get acclimated to their new environment and means for survival. Native Americans had even more basic living styles. Thanks for all the great images you have been sharing with us. Places that I know I will never see otherwise.

    • Happy to share, Steve! But there are so many special spots in your country – not least in your grand nature. And the native Americans were the only ones who knew how to live in nature, with nature and not taking more than they could give back.

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