Strolling through the centuries of Split, Croatia

In Croatia, Europe, Far, Our Journeys, Road Trips, Trip-Types, Unesco by Janis0 Comments

From the Palace to the Riva

Our 5th destination on our Croatian road trip was to the ancient waterfront city of Split. Located on a peninsula along the Adriatic Sea, overlooking crystal-clear waters and islands beyond.

Split is Croatia’s second largest city and a popular destination for visitors, either relaxing for a couple of days or using Split as a stepping stone to embark upon their island-hopping journey.

A view over the harbour, Split, Croatia

Either way, you cannot leave this ancient city, without visiting the highly impressive Diocletian Palace and its lovely social squares.

Waterfront

On arriving in Split, you are instinctively drawn to the bustling harbour front and the tree-lined promenade of the Riva.

However, you only need to wander a few steps back, beyond the walls to explore the splendour of Split’s historic past.

The Silver gate to the Palace, Split, Croatia

Diocletian Grandeur

The Tower of the Cathedral, Split, Croatia

Immediately centuries of ancient structures in a various state of preservation are all around you.

The 4th century Roman Cathedral of Saint Domnius stands prominent in the skyline.

Looking up to the Tower of Cathedral, Split, Croatia
The Tower at dusk, Split, Croatia

However, it was the sunken Roman Peristyle in front of the Diocletian quarters that really drew Gary and I in.

Did You Know?

That it is free of charge to wander around the ancient Diocletian Palace?

Roman footsteps

Surrounded on three sides by imposing stone pillars and arches, you would be forgiven for thinking that you were in the heart of Italy. It is quite a lot to take in, you just stand there looking above and around you in awe, that something so magnificent has survived the test of time.

The Roman Peristyle, Split, Croatia

What is wonderful is that it is free to wander around, strolling in and amongst the ruins, you take it all in at your own pace.

Watching the stars

Take the few steps up, at the end of the Peristyle and walk through to the vestibule.

The view up to the skies, Split, Croatia

Another amazing piece of Roman architecture, although today you can see the sun and the stars through the circular ceiling. The vestibule would have once been encased in a dome.

Cellars

If instead, you decided to take the steps down at the end of the Peristyle, you would now be entering the underground cellars of the palace.

These huge pillared vaults would have been used as storage for the Emperor’s food.

Today you can wander through and admire the incredible ingenuity of the Romans.

And if you wish, pick up a souvenir along the way…

The cellars of the Palace, Split, Croatia

Did you know?

That the Historical Complex of Split with the Palace of Diocletian has been on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1979.

Shiny toes

We briefly popped out of the north end of the palace walls, through the Golden Gate.

We were greeted by the huge imposing statue of Gregory of Nin, towering 28ft (8.5 metres) above you.

The Golden Gate entrance, Split, Croatia

The Bishop of Nin lived during the 10th century and was the first to hold services in the Old Croatian language, this was very controversial as until that time all services and been held in Latin.

Statue to the Bishop of Nin, Split, Croatia

This statue is very popular with visitors, rubbing the statue’s now shiny toe is said to bring good luck.

Piazzas

Slightly beyond the passageways and corridors of the palace, but still within the heart of the Old Town, you walk into Split’s maze of narrow cobbled streets.

These shed even more light onto Split’s historical past.

The lanes after dusk, Split, Croatia
The narrow lanes of Split, Croatia

What I particularly remembered about Split were the public squares. Full of a mix of incredible architecture and lovely places to sit and watch the world go by.

The People's Square, Split, Croatia

Give your feet a rest

People’s Square or Narodni trg was full of lively cafes, and had some amazing examples of Baroque and Renaissance buildings, with ornate balconies.

The Old Town Hall, Split, Croatia

Particularly impressive is the 15th century Town Hall, taking pride of place.

However, one of the oldest buildings in the square is the Renaissance 24 hour clock tower (sundial).

The sundial clock, Split, Croatia

Lost forever

What is a shame, is that there is a little old bookshop in People’s Square called Morpurgo.

It was established in 1860 and considered to be one of the oldest books shops in the world.

Unfortunately, this little bit of cultural history could be lost forever as it closed its doors in the last few months.

The oldest bookshop - Morpurgo, Split, Croatia

No fruit today

Another lovely square and steeped in history is Fruit Square or Trg Brace Radic.

Nicknamed Fruit Square, as historically people from surrounding villages used to come here to sell their wares.

The Venetian Tower, Split, Croatia
The Venetian Tower after the sun has gone down, Split, Croatia
Statue to Marko Marulic in the Fruit Square, Split, Croatia

Although Fruit Square is bustling with cafes & restaurants, you won’t fail to miss the statue of Croatia’s famous 15th-century poet Marko Marulic.

Prokurative

Republic Square along the far end of the Riva, is a large colourful square and reminiscent of St Marks Square in Venice.

The Republic Square, Split, Croatia

Surrounded by neo-Renaissance buildings on three sides, there is a beautiful view across the waterfront of the south side.

Riva

No trip to Split would be complete without a promenade along the Riva.

Strolling along the Riva, Split, Croatia

Lined with palm trees and flower beds, families and friends enjoy this social area and soak up the view across the harbour.

A view of the harbour at dusk, Split, Croatia

Watching boat excursions coming and going out into the Adriatic.

Bars and restauants along the Riva, Split, Croatia

Where we stayed

Our accommodation for the one night we were in Split, was at Hotel Corner, a fairly comfortable hotel with very friendly staff.

Located north of the Old Town and about a 10-minute walk from the northern edge of the city walls.

The main reason we chose this hotel was for the car parking & there was plenty of it, even for a larger car.

Would you like a little more?

We have created a little YouTube video of Split.  It’s a view of our time in the old town.

Why not subscribe to our channel and get the latest clips as we post them?

Inspired to visit Split?

Does the history tempt you? If not the food?  You can feel like you’ve stepped back in time.

Why not check out the latest deals on Booking.Com?

Booking.com
Strolling through the centuries of Split, Croatia

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Why Not?

Start creating your own adventure and discover the delights of Croatia for yourself, Easyjet & British Airways are just a couple of options.

You may even want to combine it into a road trip like us, SIXT car hire cover all budgets and allow you to pick up and drop off at different destinations.

About the Author

Janis

Janis, the co-founder of Our World for You, was born in London and raised in Kent and the Isle of Wight.

Along with Gary her partner, they have been travelling part time since 1995. In 2016, they decided that enough was enough with the 9 to 5, so armed with the knowledge and experience that they had gained on their adventures, that they wanted to inspire others to travel the world near and far.

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Strolling through the centuries of Split, Croatia was last modified: November 12th, 2017 by Janis