About 1,700 years ago, Roman Emperor Diocletian spirited away a set of granite sphinxes from Egypt’s Valley of the Kings. The mythical creatures found a new home in the emperor’s retirement palace in present-day Split, Croatia, where we are lucky to be enjoying the winter months.
A few nights ago while strolling the streets of Split, we found ourselves captivated by the sight of this sphinx illuminated by moonlight. The sculpture, which guards the palace’s Peristyle, is the only intact one that remains in Split. A headless version can be found in front of the Temple of Jupiter (which was later converted into a Baptistery), whereas another is housed in the city’s museum.
We remarked that today the palace is roughly the same age to us as the sphinxes were to the emperor who so coveted them.
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Photography & text © by Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.