Split is the largest city in Dalmatia, the second-largest city in Croatia. The story of Split is already 17 centuries old when the Roman Emperor Diocletian decided to build his Palace right on the peninsula near the great Roman city Salona. During these 1700 years, the Palace slowly turned into a city, with a rich tradition, nature and cultural heritage.
Although in the old Rome times the Split area was inhabited by the Greek colonies, Emperor Diocletian should be considered its first citizen and founder, starting his palace of around 300 square meters. He builds it to retire from the Roman throne within its walls after building it for ten years.
Diocletian Palace and the entire historical core of Split are on the UNESCO World Heritage list not only for the extraordinary preservation of the Palace but also because the Palace and its city (or the city and its Palace) continue to live until today. All history from the old Rome and middle ages are still visible and alive in this structure. A walk through the ancient city takes you through time, along with the great examples of ancient architecture like Peristyle, the middle-aged Romanesque Church and Gothic Palace, Renaissance portals of the noblemen’s houses, Baroque facades and modern architecture merged in the rich heritage.
Good to know
Dalmatia regional center
Other cities to discover
Zadar, Trogir, Šibenik
Islands to explore
Hvar, Brač, Vis, Korčula
Diocletian’s Palace is one of the monumental historical sightings not only of Split but of Croatian historical and architectural treasure in general. The built-in transition from 3rd to 4th century AD, it served as a place where Roman emperor Diocletian rested. The main gate of the Palace is called the Golden gate and those are the same gates emperor Diocletian used to enter the building. The gate was decorated in beautiful ornaments with depictions of another member of the famous tetrarch, besides Diocletian, Maximillian, Galerius, and Constantinus. After Diocletian’s death in the 4th century, the Palace has undergone many changes but stayed kept and renovated to this day.
Marjan park peninsula is an integral part of the city center that extends from Marmont Street and continues to the west. It’s long over 3 km. In 1964 it was declared a park and since then is considered a protected part of Split. This is a favorite place for walking, running, jogging, climbing or riding a bike. These hills and its forests are the lungs of the city, the most popular place to escape from the busy city days.
Ivan Meštrović Gallery is a stellar art museum with a comprehensive, well-arranged collection of works by Ivan Meštrović, Croatia’s premier modern sculptor. He also built this grand mansion as a personal residence in the 1930s. Although Meštrović intended to retire here, he emigrated to the USA.
Saint Domnius Cathedral finds its seat in the oldest building among other European cathedrals – the Mausoleum of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. Cathedral today is primarily a place of liturgy, with a millennium-long continuity, best reflected in the Sunday mass and the renewed splendor of the procession on the St Domnius’s day – the day of Split’s patron saint.