Split – the best must-see attractions

View of Split harbor on a sunny day

Do you feel like going on a several-day outing to an unobvious destination? A short citybreak in Split will be an interesting and original idea, and an opportunity to feel the atmosphere of holidays for a while!

Old Town in a palace

The extraordinary history of Split makes it one of the most interesting cities not only in Croatia, but the entire Europe as well! Suffice it to say that the former ancient Emperor's palace serves as the city's Old Town today! Unbelievable as it may sound, it is true. Built on orders by the Roman Emperor Diocletian, the palace was subsequently demolished by barbarians, and later populated by refugees from a neighbouring town. The arrival of the latter triggered a unique urban process which involved transforming the residence into a city, thus creating one of Croatia's greatest marvels. Today, Split is the largest centre at the Adriatic Sea, and its atmospheric Old Town, which you could see in many other places, is accompanied by vast housing estates with classic blocks of flats.

palace Dioklecjan

City gates

The main entrance to the city led from the North through the richly ornamented Golden Gate, with far more modest Bronze Gate facing the sea. Today, the southern city wall, i.e. the one facing the sea, is paralleled by the modernly furnished Riva Promenade which offers a view of the port and is a place of choice for leisure walks. It vibrates with life virtually all day and night, the more so as it has lots of bars and cafés. This is where you, just like most tourists, enter the palace grounds, first walking through underground halls which now house souvenir stalls, and next climbing the stairs to the peristyle, or the central courtyard surrounded from three sides by Corinthian columns. The west side of the courtyard included the Temple of Jupiter, and the east site had the monumental mausoleum of the Emperor.

Splendid views

Split's main attractions are located within the boundaries of the former palace, which once spread over an area of 30,000 m². Hard to believe, isn't it? Among these attractions is the Cathedral the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which was built in the 13th and 14th century. Interestingly, it originally served as the mausoleum of the Emperor, who wanted to be buried in his home town. After you have visited the cathedral, you can climb the bell tower which is unique for its astonishing open-work structure created by thin walls punctured by tall windows. The tower is very tall, so be prepared for quite a demanding climb up dozens of steps. Your effort will be rewarded by the magnificent view, and if you look carefully, you will recognise the outline of Diocletian's palace emerging from the sea of roofs below. Also, you will certainly notice the vast port, which is among the most important maritime transport hubs at the entire Dalmatian coast. On climbing down the bell tower, delve into the maze of Old Town alleys. Here you will find multitude of atmospheric taverns, nice restaurants, small art galleries and interesting boutiques. In other words, everything you need to make your citybreak in Split a very nice experience.

Panoramic of Split









Portion of knowledge

You can also pop into the Ethnographical Museum, which was arranged in the former 7th century Church of St. Andrew, the patron of the Byzantine Empire. The museum guards the entrance to the Vestibule. Originally, it was one of the six bedrooms located in the western part of the Emperor's apartment complex. To the north of the cathedral, but still within the boundaries of the palace, you will find the City of Split Museum, an interesting place where you can explore the fascinating history of this city.

Portion of art

To the west of the Old Town, the peninsula gets narrower and is almost entirely covered by the Šuma Marjan Park. The southern coast is occupied by an elegant residential quarter with nice single-family houses. A pleasant place for a walk, it is also valuable for another reason – here, you will find the Meštrović Gallery arranged in Ivan Meštrović's residence, built in stages in 1931–39 and based on classical models. A number of valuable works by this famous Croatian artist are displayed. In the neighbourhood, there is also very interesting Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments. Both these two little known attractions of Split are well worth visiting!

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