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Split – Diokletian's palace
Split, the metropolis of the Croatian south under UNESCO protection and part of the UNESCO World Heritage, has been welcoming its guests wholeheartedly for the past 1,700 years with the Diokletian's palace at its heart.

The city is located in the warmest area of the Mediterranean's northern coast, in the centre of the Adriatic coast and in close proximity to the rivers Jadro and Žrnovica, which sustain it with water. Its mild climate with 2,700 hours of sun per year makes it, even in the middle of winter, into an oasis in which the sun can be enjoyed in the lee. This industrial, university and economic centre of the region reveals its green soul on the hill Marjan, located on the western part of the peninsula, where the park forest near the city offers pleasant tranquil walking paths under pine trees overlooking the sea, far away from the noises of the city.

The first inhabitant of Split was the Roman Emperor Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus, who in 293 decided to build his 30 thousand square metre luxurious imperial villa in this mild cove. This is where he retired after leaving the throne of the Roman imperator. The tumultuous centuries that followed have created a city from this villa, first inhabited by the inhabitants of the nearby Salona, from where they fled to escape the Avars and Slaves. The city grew outside the walls of the palace and has seen many shifts in government over the centuries, from Croatian kings in the 10th centuries, Hungarian and Venetian administrations, to French rulers and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Just as, by chance of history, it represented the beginning of a new town and the life of a city, Diocletian's palace and its very well-preserved remains still constitute the nucleus of the Split, and are the centre of all important events and the everyday life of its inhabitants.

Excellently preserved until today, the remains of this Ancient building, together with the subsequent medieval additions, are a valuable archaeological, historical and artistic complex, which is why the palace was put on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979.

The palace is decorated with various imported details: granite columns and sphinxes from Egypt, marble from Italy and carved decorations from the island of Proconnesius in the Sea of Marmara. Though its use was primarily residential, the palace is very similar to Roman military camps. It had four entrances, three from the continent and one from the sea.

The complex of the palace as a whole is not like anything in the Ancient architecture of the time, which is a result of its specific function and adjustment to its location. It is an excellent example of late Roman architecture, when the tendency towards exuberance and splendour dominated over the harmony and clarity of previous eras.

With the death of Emperor Diocletian in 316, the life in the palace continued as it was a refuge for his exiled family. The key event was when the Slavic tribes conquered Salona, after which its population found refuge within the walls of the palace. This marked the beginning of the new urban life of the city of Split.
 
In medieval times, between the 12th and 14th centuries, a new architectural development took place, when the remains of the Roman buildings and larger part of the streets and porches were replaced by medieval stone houses. The emperor's mausoleum was turned into a Christian cathedral, and the construction on the Romanesque bell tower of St Doimus (Sveti Duje) began.

Proud Split locals will always say that their city is the most beautiful in the world, but it is also one of the sunniest cities in Europe, offering an unforgettable host of images, while the remains of the Ancient Palace harmoniously blend in with the buildings from the later eras, and the Mediterranean and sub-tropic vegetation of palm-trees and aloe.
 
The eternally young Split, a city with a live Mediterranean temperament, lives at an even faster pace during the summer, in a mix of nations and languages of the numerous travellers who travel through it or stay in it, the biggest sea and airport of the eastern coast of the Adriatic. To those who decide to stay for a while, Split offers a long promenade along the sea, beginning in the west in the park-forest Marjan, continues through the green peninsula Sustipan, the waterfront surrounded by Ancient walls and numerous cafes, all the way to Baćvice – a natural sandy beach at the heart of the city. During the day, this beach is a playground for 'picigin', a national pastime, and at night it becomes a night-life hotspot where young people gather.

For culture enthusiasts, the venues inside the palace are ideal, the remains of its walls and doorways, the Sveti Duje bell tower, Peristil or the museum hidden in its underground. Apart from the palace, cathedral, the Split streets and squares, museums and galleries, visitors should also take a tour of the nearby Ancient town Salona, the medieval fortress Klis, which protected the city from conquerors coming from the north, , or take a ferry-boat to one of the mid Dalmatian islands.

The city offers accommodation in 22 hotels, the Atrium and the Le Meridien Lav being five-star hotels, one camp and numerous rooms, suites and houses offered in private accommodation. Sailors can find a place for their boats in one of six marinas and harbours.

The city beneath Marjan is only a three and a half to 4 hour ride away from Zagreb by motorway. Split can also be reached by boat connections from Rijeka and Dubrovnik, from all islands, and from neighbouring Italy, whose cities have excellent ferry-boat and catamaran connections with Split. The Split airport has several weekly connections with Zagreb and other European capitals. One can go north and to Europe by train as well, onto which cars can be boarded as well.

Split-Dalmatian County Tourist Board
www.dalmacija.hr

City of Split Tourist Board
www.visitsplit.hr

City of Split
www.split.hr
 
 

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