Shipyards, factories and a busy port present the modern face of Split, which expanded unchecked after World War II. Yet, the Old Town center is still full of charm. It grew up in and around the Emperor Diocletian's vast Roman palace, one of the largest and best-preserved left from the Roman world.
In 614, the palace took in refugees from Salona, razed by the Avars, and these newcomers used the Roman structure as housing. Among the refugees were the bishop and other religious dignitaries. They breathed new life into the bishopric of Split.
After two centuries of Byzantine rule and the establishment of Croat communities, Split became part of the Venetian territories in 1409. Under the Venetians, fortifications emerged, including new walls, and the arts flourished.
Visit the Cathedral of St Domnius
Katedrala sv. Duje
Originally the mausoleum of the emperor Diocletian, the cathedral was consecrated in the 7th century when the sarcophagus containing the body of Diocletion was removed and replaced, with a certain poetic justice, by the remains of St Domnius, a 3rd-century bishop martyred as part of Diocletian's persecution of the early Christians.
It was the then archbishop of Split who transformed the mausoleum into a Christian church, and St Domnius became the city's patron saint.
The structure is widely regarded as the oldest Catholic cathedral in the world that has not been substantially rebuilt at any time. Since being first built it has remained practically unaltered except for the construction of a Romanesque bell tower and the addition of the 13th century choir inside.
An ancient sphinx in black granite rests at the foot of the bell tower. The entrance doorway has wooden panels from 1214, with scenes from the gospel in floral flames. The cathedral, built on an octagonal plan, has a double order of Corinthian columns, most of them the Roman originals.
|Address||Ul. Kraj Svetog Duje 5, Split|
Archaeological Museum Split
The museum was founded in 1820 and has been on its present location since 1914. It has a many finds from the Roman, early Christian and medieval periods which on exhibition in rotation.
Of great interest are the finds from Roman Salona, including sculptures, capitals, sarcophagi, jewelry, coins and ceramics. There are also finds from the Roman town of Narona.
Ivan Meštrović Gallery Split
The building housing this gallery was the house of Ivan Meštrović in the early 1930's. The sculptor himself designed the building to be his family house, studio and gallery. His sculptures, including Distant Accords and Persephone, decorate the garden and the interior.
Among statues in marble, wood and bronze are The Contemplation, The Vow, and Psyche. Part of the building still preserves the artists apartments. You can use the same ticket for the Kastilac further down the road at number 39.
This 16th century house once belonged to the Capogrosso-Kavanjin family and Meštrović bought it in 1939 to set up an exhibition hall. The artist also built a small church here to exhibit a series of reliefs called New Testament, now replaced by a different work, the Author of the Apocalypse.
Visit The Museum Of Senses In Split
The Museum of Senses in Split is a museum dedicated to exploring our main senses - sight, hearing, smell, touch and balance. Solve puzzles using your sense of smell! Use your fingertips to solve a mystery. Touch the light to create music! Learn more about Split, the ancient Mediterranean city. And, of course, take a bunch of awesome photos!
When you enter, forget everything you know about reality. Let yourself go and let us guide you through the zones dedicated to senses - sight, hearing, smell, touch and balance.
The museum offers:
- Mysterious Objects
- Optical Illusions
- Disco Galaxy
- Funny Mirrors
- Smell boxes
And much more.
|Address||Vukovarska ul. 207, Split|
The Living Museum Split
If you find some museums dusty and boring, the outdoor Live Museum Split is a welcome alternative. Every day, local actors dress up in the garb of ancient Romans and recreate historic scenes (Croatia was once part of the Roman Empire). Kids love the chance to learn archery and poke around in the Roman armory.
Play a Game of Picigin
Almost unique to Split, picigin is a ball game played in ankle-deep water next to a sandy beach. Five players stand in a circle and use their fists to hit a small ball back and forth at high-speed. The goal is to prevent the ball from falling into the water.
Aficionados play daily at Bačvice Beach, regardless of the weather. Every year on June 13, Bačvice stages the Picigin World Championship. Graceful and entertaining moves win – there are no other real rules to this mysterious game.
Palace Of Diocletian Split
Diocletian, probably a native from Salona, became emperor in 284. After governing for 20 years, he retired from public life and moved to this palace in the bay of Split. After his death in 316, the palace was used as administrative offices and the governor's residence.
In 615, refugees from Salona found shelter here after the destruction of their city by the Avars.