Secret Chambers of Salona

Recently, I found out about the secret chambers of salona from a local whose family was hiding there during bombing raids back in WWII. I immediately had to see them but that person could not accompany us so we had to look for the entrance ourselves.

Salona today

Salona was the most important Roman city of this side of the Adriatic and it had 60 000 inhabitants in its heyday. Today, it is the most important historic ruin on this side of the Adriatic. Once majestic city, fell to the hordes of Avars and Slavs in the early 7th century. That is one of the versions of the fall. In any case, the city got abandoned and the inhabitants left for the islands and nearby Dicoletian’s Palace in Split. That is how Split became a city.

Cathedral of Salona from the air

Salona was used as a quarry for a while but it was – and is – still impressive despite all that devastation. It was always capturing imagination of travelers and visitors, experts and amateurs.
I visit quite often but have only done one blog post a while back when I was first starting:
Here is a bit more on this fascinating site but there are not that many quality links about Salona:

Old graphic of Salona
Old photo of Salona

And, from the old maps, Salona was always there. Like a reminder that we should really start excavating this unique place.

Old map of Salona
Austro Hungarian Map of the region

Five Bridges of Salona

Five Bridges of Salona is basically a bridge with five arches. It is a bridge over one of tributaries of Jadro river going east. The structure we were visiting is forking a bit more south. Likely towards ancient Stobreč. That road is still there but the structure is now pretty much underground. At least the openings are.

Five bridges of Salona
Five Bridges Salona

The entrance is small and narrow. One cannot really enter with a helmet.

Entrance to the chambers
That’s it! You have to be in shape to get inside!

Inside the Secret Chambers of salona

Once inside, it is a task to get through the narrowest part.

Inside the chamber
Layers of piled up dirt

But after crawling through the first part , the proper chamber opens up. Sort of.

The more spacious section of the chambers
Secret Chamber of Salona

The chambers are all connected and there are, apparently 5 of them. Just as many as there are arches in the nearby bridge. Could they have been connected? Maybe. The area had a real river flow and was not dry like it is now. So this could have been some sort of a cistern(?) for water once it flows under the bridge. Maybe.

Connected chambers
Other chambers

More details can be seen on the video that I am making a priority these days. It just allows more details to be shown to those interested in learning and seeing more:

Conclusion on this “Secret chamber of Salona”

It is a massive structure that needs excavation to be shown to the public. Not sure of the purpose, though. The plastered, arched roofs remind me of some sorts of cisterns but that is not a cistern for sure. It is likely the structure was flooded all the time in the past while there was a river/stream going through here. I am sure some archaeologists will take a peak and I am even interested in sponsoring excavation of the space so it can be properly shown to the public.