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Old City Hall: Archaeological survey ended, adaptation and renovation coming up

Archaeological surveys, which took place in Old City Hall in Split, as an activity of EU project “Palace of Life – City of Changes”, after a month of excavations and analysis have been brought to an end. Necessary excavations were undertaken in order to preserve archaeological layers and structures underneath the building, before continuation of any further works in the premises.

What archaeologists from Temenos Ltd. discovered at this site is a representation of rich historic life of People’s Square (Croatian: Narodni trg) in the heart of Split. In particular, changes through the centuries are most noticeable within the premises of the Old City Hall. According to archaeological report, the foundations of  Old City Hall conserved ancient line of centuriation which predates Diocletian’s Palace, as well as an old Roman road which ultimately lead towards the Western Gate of Diocletian’s Palace.

Excavations showed that the site was once occupied by pre-Romanesque style houses, which were built after the construction of St Lawrence’s church and surrounding graveyard in sixth or seventh century A.D. During 12th and 13th century, after the formation of autonomous Split commune, there were noticeable expansions of pre-Romanesque houses. After the occupation by Venetian Republic, People’s Square received new appearance with St Lawrence’s church demolished, and new dominating gothic City Hall and Rector’s Palace constructed. Archaeological excavations also showed that the City Hall was initially singular, open-plan premise, which was partitioned in later reconstructions.

Reconstruction and valorisation of the Old City Hall is a part of the strategic EU project of the City of Split “Palace of Life – City of Changes” which integrates activities such as development of visitor’s infrastructure in the historic nucleus of Split with Diocletian’s Palace. RaST submitted the project proposal in September 2019 to the Open call of Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds under the ITU mechanism within OP Competitiveness and Cohesion 2014-2020.

Adaptation and renovation works of the Old City Hall, valued at HRK 9,6 million with an expected duration of 12 months, are approved and coordinated by Ministry of Culture’s Conservation Department in Split.