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Split is a seaport, Adriatic resort, and the chief city of Dalmatia in southern Croatia with a population of approximately 175,000. It lies on a peninsula and has a deep, sheltered harbour on the southern side of it. The city (named Spalato in Italian developed from an ancient Roman town and was originally built around 295 AD within the walls of the palace of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. The remains of the palace still stand in the city centre, providing a fine example of Roman architecture. Today, Split is a major administrative, political, cultural, commercial and transportation centre and it is particularly known for its shipbuilding industry. This web page largely focuses on the historic heart of the city.

Above: The Centre of Split as seen from Matejuška Harbour Wall.

Croatia's second largest city, Split has seen an increase in tourists visiting over recent years and interlinked with this, has also seen the opening of new hotels restaurants as well as the organisation of new events and festivals. During the tourist season, the population effectively doubles.

Map Source:

Split has a colourful history, to say the least. From 812, it developed as a major Byzantine city and after brief incursions by Venice and Croatia, in 1105 it remained autonomous, with its foreign policy controlled by Hungary-Croatia and fought sporadically with the nearby city of Trogir; the city was held by Venice from 1420-1797. Austrian rule then followed until 1918 (with a brief French interregnum, 1808–13). 1918 saw Split become part of Yugoslavia and eventually the newly independent Croatia we see today. The thumbnail gallery below shows a large selection of photos taken primarily in and around Split's historic centre (September 2016).

Split is 1700 years old making it the oldest in the region and it's most famous landmark is the aforementioned Diocletian's Palace. The palace was listed (collectively with the historic royal residences, fortifications and churches in the city) as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979 as a building of excellent condition within whose walls life is still bustling. Effectively his retirement home, the Roman Emperor Diocletian had it built in 295-305 AD as a place to live during his remaining days. The palace approximates to a square shape and has four entrances, one on each wall. These are (Northern, Eastern, Southern, and Western Walls respectively) the Golden Gate [Example - Photo 95, above], Silver Gate [photo 35], Brass Gate [Centre, Photo 124] and Iron Gate [Photo 103]. Within the palace is the heart of the old town. The walls of the complex measure 2m (7 feet) thick and 22m (72 feet) in height on the southern seaward side and 18m (60 feet) high on the northern landward side. There were originally 16 towers although today only 3 remain. Originally the sea would have lapped up against the southern walls and today it is kept at bay by a tree lined promenade. The area within the walls has been continuously inhabited since it was built and so architecturally, alongside Roman, examples of the medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods can also be seen. Peristil, the central square inside the palace walls [Photo 28] still forms the spot where locals and tourists alike congregate. The city's main church, the St Dominus Cathedral [Example photos - 27, 34], is named after the patron saint of Split. One of the many other sites shown above is the Temple of Jupiter [Photos 68-78], dedicated to the supreme Roman God and Diocletian's divine father. Inside the walls of the palace is a plethora of museums and galleries as well as several other important buildings both historically and functionally. For further information,  please see the links below.

References and Further Reading

1. UNESCO website Here
2. Tourist Board of Split Here
3. Lonely Planet online Here
4. Split on Wikipedia Here

The reader may also find my page on Trogir relevant. Link Here.

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