Split is the second-largest city in Croatia and the largest city on the Croatian coast.
It is an excellent point to start exploring the beauties of Croatia. The city is easy to reach by plane because there is a nearby airport with many low-cost carriers. And the location of the main train and bus station as well as the main harbour is next to each other in the top city centre.
After exploring this ancient city, you can visit many places along the coast and inland by bus or car. Or
you can hop on one of the boats to the many extraordinary beautiful islands.
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The city was founded as the Greek colony of Aspálathos in the 3rd century BC. In the same place in 305 AD, the Roman emperor Diocletian built the magnificent Palace as his retirement place. The place changed its name to Spalatum. Around 650 AD it became a prominent settlement when it succeeded Salona the
ancient capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia.
Diocletian’s Palace, In Wikipedia
Besides many historical and cultural sites, the city is known for its vivid day and nightlife. Many cultural events take place in the city, such as the Split Summer Festival, Ultra Europe festival, concerts, film festivals, exhibitions etc.
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Here we tried to pick the 10 best places to see in Split, but we are sure you could find much more yourself.
TOP 10 THINGS TO SEE IN SPLIT
1.Split Riva is a pedestrian promenade lined with palm trees, restaurants, bars and shops. It goes along the seaside in front of an ancient Diocletian Palace. That is the place where many manifestations take place, the spot to see and be seen. And enjoy the beautiful views of the sea, palace and people while having a drink or dining in the deep shade.
2. Diocletian’s Palace is an ancient palace built for the Roman emperor Diocletian as the retirement residence. Today it forms about half of the old town. It is called a “palace” but the structure is massive and resembles a large fortress. About half of it was for Diocletian’s personal use, and the rest housed the military garrison. The Palace is built of white local limestone and marble of high quality.
The Cellars of Diocletian’s Palace located at the southern end of the Palace once held up the private apartments of the Emperor. They represent one of the best preserved ancient complexes of their kind in the world. It is registered as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. The entrance to the cellars is from Riva at about the middle of the Palace. An exit is through the high vaulted passage full of unique jewellery and souvenir shops. At the end of the corridor, very high marble stairs lead you straight to the Peristyle.
3. The Peristyle is the central square within the Diocletian`s Palace. A monumental court formed the northern entrance to the imperial apartments. It also gave access to Diocletian’s mausoleum on the east, today the Cathedral of Saint Domnius.
The Vestibule or The Rotonda is the first section behind the imperial entrance that led from the Peristyle to the private chambers. The space has excellent acoustics and is often used by klapa groups for acappella performances.
4. The Cathedral of Saint Domnius formed from an Imperial Roman mausoleum was consecrated at the turn of the 7th century AD. It is regarded as the oldest Catholic cathedral in the world that is still in use in its original structure.
5. The Temple of Jupiter was constructed in the turn of the 3rd to 4th century as a part of Diocletian’s Palace. Today it is also known as the Christian chapel – the Baptistery of St.John the Baptist. In front of the entrance to the ancient Roman temple is the Headless Sphinx.
Egyptian sphinxes. The Palace was decorated with many 3500-year-old granite sphinxes, originating from Egypt. Only three have survived the centuries. One is still on the Peristyle, the second sits headless in front of Jupiter’s temple, and the third is in the city museum.
6. The Silver Gate or “the Eastern Gate”, is one of the four principal Roman gates into the Diocletian’s Palace. Right on the outside of the gate, you will step into the big open-air Market (called Pazar). There you can buy fresh fruit and vegetables directly from the gardeners. Next to it are stalls with souvenirs, clothes, bags, beach towels and all you can need for your summer vacation.
7. The Golden Gate on the northern side used to be the main entrance to the Diocletian’s Palace. There you can find the “Roman guards” the same as on the Peristil. They are very popular for making souvenir photos.
On the opposite side of the Gate dominates the huge statue of Grgur Ninski (Gregory of Nin) made by very famous Croatian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic. The statue presents the bishop of Nin from the 10th century who was defending the right to use the Croatian language in church.
The legend says that if you touch his left foot thumb and make a wish it will be granted. Can`t say if that’s true but the photo of the well-polished thumb speaks for itself.
8. The Venetian Castle was a medieval castle in Split. The castle had an irregular pentagonal shape with three towers facing north and overlooking the city. Today the large central tower and the smaller eastern tower form the so-called Fruit Square.
9. Ivan Mestrovic Gallery is an art museum in Split, dedicated to the work of the 20th-century sculptor, Ivan Mestrovic. The gallery presents to the public the most significant works of Mestrovic and is in itself an art monument. Not far from the gallery lies Kastelet-Crikvine, a restored chapel that houses a set of wooden wall panels carved by Ivan Mestrovic.
10. Narrow streets inside the Diocletian’s Palace are worth walking through. Take time and let yourself loose in the endless labyrinth of medieval alleys. Around every corner, you will discover something amazing. Lots of ancient buildings, courts, cafes, restaurants, and shops.
Bio for Seniorglobetrotters
Meet Vlasta and Hrvoje, the dynamic duo behind Seniorglobetrotters, hailing from Croatia, Europe. As a older married couple with two adult children, we’ve transitioned from our careers in architecture to a fulfilling retirement filled with wanderlust. Our shared passion for travel ignites our curiosity to explore diverse countries, immerse ourselves in rich cultures, marvel at stunning architecture, delve into fascinating history, and bask in the wonders of nature. Along the way, we capture the essence of our adventures through photography, sharing our experiences with fellow travel enthusiasts worldwide.