Wednesday 29 August 2012

Diocletian and the 2Cellos

Current Location: Korcula Island, Dalmatian Coast, Croatia
Distance Cycled: 4,050 km from Bridgwater, Somerset, UK

 “Build me a beach house,” the Emperor said. “And make it a big one right on the water’s edge – I want to impress my friends. While you’re at it, put a big fortified wall around it with watchtowers – for we have enemies. And then, when it’s done, we’ll party like there’s no tomorrow.”

Emperor Diocletian
So the Roman Emperor Diocletian might have said – though perhaps not the last bit about partying. He was getting on when he had his palace built in Split, Croatia in the fourth century AD. It served as his retirement home, but was eventually abandoned by the Romans and lay empty for hundreds of years.

When it was resettled, many centuries later, the residents rebuilt and reworked much of the palace. But they ignored the basements or cellars underneath – they used them to store rubbish and junk.
Detail: Ceiling
Part of the basements have been turned into a thriving market

Judy in front of what was Diocletian's Palace. Though much of the upper levels have been replaced there are
still signs of its Roman origins - towering columns built into newer buildngs for example.

No escaping the graffiti
Today Diocletian’s Palace is a UNESCO world heritage site and visitors come from around the world to marvel at what’s left – one of the finest Roman ruins of its kind. The basements have been cleared of all that waste, allowing people to roam through the substructure. Parts have been turned into a street market.
Outside, the narrow streets are packed with people and bars and at the height of the summer season Split has a festive air – it’s party time.

When we were there, the main musical attraction was 2CELLOS. 
What they do with their instruments would have been beyond the wildest imagination of Diocletian ordering up a party.  Luka Sulic and Croatian born Stiepan Hauser take modern pop songs and turn them into frenzied, at times almost unrecognizable versions of the originals. And the crowd we were part of just loved them. Diocletian’s legacy may be Roman ruins, but they provide a backdrop for a city that knows how to party.

To see 2CELLOS perform their cover version of Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal, click here:

1 comment:

  1. hey you 2,
    being stuck at our desk, we are so glad to have your blog in order to "mind-travel" with you while being at work.
    Last sunday we went for a little cycle trip just up to Germany from Basel and we realized that time soon will be ripe again, to set the sail and leave the harbour....
    @Mike: how is your health going?
    @Judy: Are you still happy being the stalker? It would drive me nuts to have to obey constantly....

    Cheers and enjoy!

    Simon and Sabine from Basel, Switzerland


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