About the city

A city with a 1700-year old tradition, a variety of archaeological, historical and cultural monuments, among which the well-known Palace of Diocletian, inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage List, certainly occupies a special position, and the warmth and offer of a modern Mediterranean city...

SPLIT, a city and port in Central Dalmatia. Situated on a peninsula between the eastern part of the Gulf of Kastela and the Split Channel. A hill, Marjan (178 m), rises in the western part of the peninsula. The ridges Kozjak (780 m) and Mosor (1,330 m) protect the city from the north and northeast, and separate it from the hinterland. Split is one of the sunniest places in Europe: the average daily insolation during the year is about 7 hours (in July about 12 hours).

Split is not only an urban, cultural and traffic centre of Dalmatia with road and sea connections to Dalmatia's numerous summer resorts, but it is itself often a tourist and excursionists destination. A city with a 1700-year old tradition, a variety of archaeological, historical and cultural monuments, among which the well-known Palace of Diocletian, inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage List, certainly occupies a special position, and the warmth and offer of a modern Mediterranean city.

The first detailed tourist guide through the town and its surroundings, published in 1894, bears witness to the long tourist tradition in Split. To be able to grasp the historical significance of the city, one should first visit the museums of Split: the Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments - a capital Croatian cultural project, established in 1893 in Knin; the Archaeological Museum from 1820, one of the oldest in Croatia; the Treasury of the Split Cathedral, including a valuable collection of religious art; the Ethnographic Museum, founded in 1910; the Museum of Marine History; the Museum of Natural Science. The Art Gallery, established in 1931, the Collection of the Franciscan Monastery in Poljud, the Mestrovic Gallery, and other are also worth visiting.

Split is a major sports centre (the 1979 Mediterranean Games) with many famous and popular sports clubs and competitors. There are also many sports facilities for recreational purposes.

Worth visiting is Marjan Forest Park, the green oasis the citizens of Split have been proud of for generations, carefully maintained and cherished. The park includes promenades, vista points, solariums, nature paths, playgrounds and the Split zoo. A marvellous view is offered from the top of Marjan on the old and new parts of Split. It takes only 15 minutes of pleasant walking to reach Marjan from the historical core of Split through the old quarter Varos. The Marjan stairway, running along the crest of the hill, leads to another, higher top of Marjan, Telegrin, with a vista point offering prospect on the Split peninsula, Kozjak, Mosor, the Katela Gulf, Salona and Klis, Trogir and Ciovo, and the islands of Solta, Brac, Hvar and Vis.

Split has a variety of restaurants and wine cellars, offering domestic specialities. There are many beaches and public beaches in the city and its surroundings, the most popular of them being Bacvice, a sand beach almost in the very heart of the town.

The cultural and entertainment offer of Split is extremely rich, particularly in the summer, when the city squares, yards and other areas turn into a large open-air stage. The Split Summer, a traditional festival in the middle of the summer season, includes dramas, operas and concerts (from mid-July to mid-August). The Split Saturday Nights are devoted to classical music. Split also hosts pop-music events, the Art-Summer, folklore shows, the folk feast Day of Radunica, and many other. The Day of St. Doimus (Duje), who is the patron saint of the city, is commemorated on the 7th of May.

Split has several theatres, among which the Croatian National Theatre, established in 1893, deserves a special mention as a house hosting theatrical festivals, the Split Summer and the Days of Marulic.

Split - an ancient Greek settlement called Aspalathos. Emperor Diocletian constructed there around AD 300 a luxurious palace in which he resided until his death and where he was buried. After his death (AD 313) the Palace was used as a residence of expelled Roman emperors and their family members (Julius Nepos). When Salona was conquered around AD 614 by the Avars and Slavs, its citizens fled to find shelter within the walls of Diocletian's Palace.

Split has long represented an important cultural centre. Already in the 8th century there was an actuarial school. In the 13th century Thomas the Archdeacon wrote a work titled Historia Salonitana, an important source of the mediaeval history of the Croats. At the end of the 15th century Split became a powerful humanistic centre, in which Marko Marulic, poet and polyhistorian, author of the first epic in the Croatian language (Judita), as well as several other humanistic writers, poets and historians lived and worked. Split leaves even today its special mark in the Croatian creation and culture.

1. The Old Town (Grad). The oldest nucleus of Split is located within the walls of Diocletian's Palace. According to its dimensions and level of preservation, the Palace represents the most valuable example of Roman architecture on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. It was constructed around AD 300 and has a rectangular ground-plan. Its form and arrangement of the buildings within the Palace represent a transitional style of an imperial villa, Hellenistic town and Roman camp. The southern, seaward side of the Palace (181 m long), with subsequent annexes, can be viewed from the coast. The Brass Gate (Porta Aenea), a vaulted passage leading from the sea into the interior of the Palace, are in the middle of the southern side. To the left is the entrance into the cellars of Diocletian's Palace, with a system of corridors and halls under the southern parts of the Palace which can be visited by tourists. Walking along the eastern side of the Palace one reaches the Silver Gate (Porta Argentea) with the church of St. Dominic on the opposite side, which was first mentioned in the 13th century.

Through the Silver Gate one reaches the Plain of King Tomislav. Passing by the small Renaissance church of St. Roch (Rocco) (1516) one arrives to the Peristyle (Peristil), the central open-air area of the Palace. Its longitudinal sides are surrounded by an arched colonnade; the arches in the west are closed by Gothic and Renaissance houses. A monumental port with four columns carrying a gable closes the Peristyle in the south. Between the columns of the entrance two chapels were built in, Our Lady of the Belt(1544) and Our Lady of Conception (1650).

The mausoleum of Diocletian, today's Cathedral of St. Doimus (Dujam) (dedicated to St. Mary) lies in the eastern part of the Peristyle. The mausoleum has almost completely preserved its original octagonal form, encircled by 24 columns (peripteral) which were bearing the roof; the interior is round, with two rows of Corinthian columns and a frieze (medallions with figures of Emperor Diocletian and his wife Prisca). A dome, once covered with mosaics, roofs the mausoleum.

A small temple rises opposite the mausoleum, probably dedicated to Jupiter, turned into the baptistery in the early Middle Ages. Only the closed part of the temple (cella) with a richly decorated portal has been preserved; the interior is roofed with a barrel coffered vault. The baptismal font was framed with stone plates in the 19th century, decorated with "pleter" - interlacery ornamentation (the central plate represents a figure of a Croatian ruler on the throne.

Diocletian's Street runs from the Peristyle to the north where the Golden Gate (Porta Aurea) rises; Agubio Palace, with a Gothic portal and inner yard is to the left. To the right, in Papaliceva Street,Papalic Palace (15th c.), the most important example of Gothic architecture in Split (richly ornamented portal, big tetrastyle on the southern end, original Gothic ceiling in the main hall) is located; architectonic details bear distinctive marks of Juraj Dalmatinac's workshop. The palace accommodates the Museum of the City of Split. A Romanesque house is immediately in front of the Golden Gate, to the left; its northern Gothic end is ascribed to Juraj Dalmatinac.

Kresimir Street leads from the Peristyle to the Iron Gate (Porta Ferrea) in the west; Cindro Palace(17th c.), the most beautiful Baroque palace in Split, rises to the right. The hall in the wall above the Iron Gate houses the small church of Our Lady of the Belfry (Baroque altar, Byzantine icon dating from around the 11th c., wall paintings by Meneghello from 1412). The Romanesque belfry is the oldest one in Dalmatia.

Through the Iron Gate one reaches the square Narodni Trg (Piaca), centre of the mediaeval commune and the liveliest square of today's Split. A clock-tower (16th c.) rises above the Iron Gate, overlooking the square. Milesi Palace, early Baroque, closes the northern end of the square, and the so-called Hrvoje's Tower, the remain of the Venetian citadel from the 15th century, rises in the south. Through the passage in the tower one reaches the coast.

2. Western part (Veli Varos, Marjan, Meje). A small square with the monastery and church of St. Francis are situated on a small square in the western part of the coast. North of the church, on a slope of Marjan, lies Veli Varos, with its thick network of streets and picturesque scenery.

Senjska Street leads along the slopes of Marjan to the Marjan Stairway, and then ascends mildly to the left (offering a beautiful view on the port of Split) to the church of St. Nicholas dating from the 13th century. The stairs on the right run to the Natural Science Museum, with a zoological garden near it. From this point, the way leads to Marjan.

Along the promenade from the church of St. Francis the way leads to Hotel Marjan (designed by L. Perkovi) and then further to Split ACI Marina. A way branches off to the left leading to the picturesque small Sustipan peninsula, where once a Benedictine monastery (established around 1000, abandoned in the 14th c.) and the church of St. Stephen (ruins) used to stand.

The Mestrovic Citadel lies further to the west, along the lower end of the road, once a palace of the Capogrosso-Kavanjin families (17th c.). The road leads to Cape Marjan, where the Institute of Oceanography and Fishery and its aquarium are situated.

3. Northern part (Dobri, Poljud). Marmontova Street runs from the western end of the Coast of the Croatian National Revival to the north; Splitske Toplice, a thermal bath, is to the right, and the wall of a 17th-century bastion is to the left. The Luka Botic monument (Ivan Mestrovic) stands on the Poljana. The western end of the square is closes by the building of the Croatian National Theatre (1893), and the northern with the church of Our Lady of Health.

The large Hajduk football stadium, in form of a shell, of bold structures, one of the most original constructions of the kind in the world, is opposite of the church. Swimming pools are located by the stadium as well as the Poljud monastery.

4. Eastern part (Lucac, Bacvice). Railway and bus terminals as well as the ship and ferry port facilities are located on the Kneza Domagoja Coast. A massive lighthouse, with a relief by Andre Krstulovic, rises on the forested elevation at the end of the port. The way from Diocletian's Palace over the bridge above the railway leads to the "Bishop's" Palace in neo-Renaissance style.

The former suburb Lucac, with its narrow, steep alleys and picturesque blocks of irregularly shaped houses, is to the north of the Bishop's Palace. The Gripe fortress, erected in the 17th century, is on the top of the elevation. The Bacvice quarter, famous for its recently reconstructed public beach and Hotel Park, lies east of the railway station.



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