The city of Split is situated in the warmest region of the northern Mediterranean coast, in the very centre of the eastern Adriatic coast. The second largest city in Croatia, Split is known for its long and rich history, which is reflected in its architecture. This city has lived its urban rhythm for 1,700 years.
Every city has something by which we know it at first glance, something that serves as its symbol. The symbol of Split is Diocletian's Palace, built in the shape of a fortified Roman camp with sixteen strong towers and high walls, had two main streets (cardo and decumanus) and four entrance gates. At the spot where the two streets intersect was a lovely square - the Peristyle (Peristil). The Roman Emperor Diocletian became the first inhabitant of Split in AD 305, when he moved into the palace that he had built on the shores of the Bay of Aspalathos, in the heart of Dalmatia. The palace had an ideal position, protected from the sea by the islands of the Split archipelago, and from the hinterland by Mounts Kozjak and Mosor. The city of Split eventually grew out of this palace and the surrounding settlements.
Although the palace has lost many of its original features over the past seventeen centuries, it has been enriched by subsequent architectural and artistic interventions. Among them, somewhat ironically, was a Catholic cathedral, or rather that part of it which rose out of the magnificent mausoleum of the last pagan Roman emperor. The Cathedral is dedicated to St. Domnius (sv. Duje), a Christian who was martyred by the very same Diocletian. The Cathedral's campanile, constructed in the Middle Ages, is one of the loveliest in Dalmatia, giving this city at the foot of Marjan Hill lasting beauty.
Split's turbulent history in the Middle Ages and the periods that followed are reflected in its architectural monuments. There are many examples of Split's rich history: the Romans were here, the Venetians were here, and the French as well, and all periods of its history helped shape its cultural identity. The people of Split are very proud of their home town and will not hesitate to tell you that Split is ''the most beautiful city in the world''.
You can see what The New York Times says about 36 Hours in Split, Croatia. Please click here.
For more information about Split here are some useful websites:
Tourist Board of Split