Built around the ancient Roman Palace of Emperor Diocletian, Split is a city that feels both old and new. Its lovely promenade, now a popular gathering place both day and night, offers majestic views over a bay that opens to the Adriatic Sea. The remains of its incredibly well-preserved palace have been seamlessly assimilated into a contemporary place to live, eat, shop, and gather. It also served as a filming site for the 4th season of Game of Thrones.
Split was named for a flowering shrub, calicotome spinosa. The shrub can be seen all over town, but its bright yellow flowers only bloom in May. I guess we’ll have to come back!
The palace, built by Diocletian in the 4th century as his retirement home after abdicating his role as Roman Emperor, took 10 years to build. Originally housing the royal residences, mausoleum, and military fortifications, the palace has been transformed into modern housing, upscale hotels, shops, museums, and various gathering places both above and below ground. There’s even a Michelin Star restaurant, Zoi. Although many of the original ruins remain above ground, the subterranean portions have been amazingly well preserved.
The barrel-vaulted stonework arches below ground enhance the many unique and charming spaces that are used for special events today.
Just outside the palace is the imposing statue of Gregory of Nin, a Medieval bishop who is known for introducing the Croatian language into worship services. A radical concept in 926, the practice of replacing Latin with local vernacular in Roman Catholic services was one of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council.
Moving on to the old town area of Split, quaint cafes, shops, and outdoor patios provide warm hospitality and delicious Dalmatian culinary delights.
Charming Split is a relative newcomer to tourism, but we think it won’t be long before this gem becomes a popular travel destination!