Split is Croatia’s second biggest city and one of the oldest. Founded as a Greek colony in the 4th Century BC and later fortified by the Roman Emperor Diocletian in 293 – 305AD, Split has been under the control of many empires until, with the rest of Croatia it seceded from Yugoslavia in 1991. The old part of the city exists within the walls of Diocletian’s Palace and has been included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. This feature, together with a busy harbour providing ferries to nearby islands, makes tourism a major source of the city’s income.
Our cruise ship, Celebrity Silhouette, was required to moor around the point of the Split peninsula because there were already two other cruise ships in port, so we caught the tender in to the city. The view along the seaside promenade was most attractive with palm trees and restaurants nested in among gaps in the ancient city walls. There we took an escorted tour of Split courtesy of one of the ship’s shore excursions, and then were bussed off to see the coastal area, including the town of Trogir, before returning to Split to have time to wander and find some free wifi.
Diocletian’s Palace is not only a place of historical interest but it also contains Split’s most interesting shops, bars, restaurants and cafes. Through a gateway between shops is where you enter through the city walls into the Podrum or basement halls where there are market stalls set up selling local souvenirs, jewellery and crafts. Then mount the steps to the Vestibul (now missing its domed roof) where a-capella groups perform due to the great acoustics, and which served as the grand entrance to the Emperor’s apartments along the seafront. You emerge in the heart of the Palace – the colonnaded court or Peristil – which served as an ancient meeting or entertainment space, and does now still.
Nearby stands a magnificent 13th Century Romanesque bell tower and an octagonal building which served as Diocletian’s mausoleum after his death. Ironically, for a man who persecuted the early Christians, his final resting place became a Christian church, now the Cathedral of Sv. Duje (St Domnius), one of his victims.
Trogir was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. It features narrow, cobblestone passageways winding between Medieval buildings and Renaissance-era palaces, along with spectacular stone houses, churches, monasteries, towers and city walls.
Back in Split we found free wifi in Cafe Luxor, right on the peristyle steps. Rumour has it that it’s the oldest cafe in Split, but if not, it certainly has the oldest architectural features – the medieval loggia, the marble circle on the floor ( which is the base of the Temple of Venus), the exposed walls, and ceiling murals make this a cafe with a difference. Good coffee and cake too!
|Split Shore Excursion: Diocletian Palace and Trogir Tour – $69.47When your cruise ship docks at Split Port, head out to discover two of Croatia’s finest UNESCO World Heritage sites on a half-day shore excursion! Visit Diocletian Palace on a morning walking tour, and explore its underground cellars, Peristyle Square and the Cathedral of St Duje. Hear of the flamboyant Roman Emperor Diocletian who commissioned the grand palace as his home, and then visit the historical coastal town of Trogir.|
|Viator Exclusive: ‘Game of Thrones’ Tour in Split – $81.36Get a behind-the-scenes look at the hit HBO series ‘Game of Thrones’ on this 3.5-hour tour of the show’s filming locations in Split — it’s a Viator Exclusive that you won’t find anywhere else. With a local guide at your side, discover the fictional city of Meereen while exploring the mountainside fortress of Klis and the UNESCO-listed Diocletian’s Palace. Hear insider gossip about the series, see where Daenerys Targaryen plotted her return to power, and creep around the cellars where the slaves conspired with the Unsullied Army to overthrow the masters.|
- The Dalmatian Coast: Split, Hvar and Other Islands (theepochtimes.com)
- back to the past (towelspacked.wordpress.com)