Description of Split

Split is a historic town in Croatia most famous for its historic site of a Diocletian's palace. Split is a city located south of Croatia, a seaport on the Dalmatian coast, on the Adriatic Sea. It has 221 456 inhabitants, according to the 2007 census. It is the main city in the region of Dalmatia, the capital of the county of Split-Dalmatia and the second most populous city in the country, after Zagreb 380 km away. It is an important fishing port and naval base of the Adriatic, as well as an important cultural and tourist center; the old city is an architectural jewel, declared a World Heritage Site in 1979. In its environment there are shipyards, cement and plastic factories, lumber, wine and food industries.


It is assumed that in the area of today's city center in ancient times there was a settlement Aspalathos or Spalatos (Greek). The origin of its name is derived from the plant Spartium (lat. Spartium junceum), which grows in abundance here.

In medieval Latin documents and a large number of documents, the city is called Spalatum, and the Italian derivative of the name is Spalato. The Croatian name of the city was Split, and during the 19th century in official documents it was hypercavized to Spljet, and then it was changed again to the present name of the city.

According to another theory, stated by Thomas the Archdeacon, the name of the city originated from the Latin word for Diocletian's Palace (palatium = S-palatium).

Other recorded names are: Spalatrum, Spalathron, Spalantum, Spaleta, Spalat, Spalatro.



Travel Destinations in Split

Diocletian's Palace (Split)


Cathedral of St. Domnius (Split)




Gripe Fortress

Ethnographic Museum (Split)


Church of Saint John the Baptist Aka Temple of Jupiter (Split)


Archaeological Museum in Split


Project Split 3


Art Gallery Split


Mestrovic Gallery in Split

Meštrović Gallery, a museum institution founded in 1952 in the Ivan Meštrović Palace, which was built for housing and working needs from 1931 to 1936. Today's collection of the gallery consists of a total of 192 sculptures, 583 drawings, 4 paintings, 291 architectural drawings from the period 1898 - 1961.


History of Split

The oldest traces of settlements in the area of ​​the city of Split were found in the city area of ​​Gripe.

The old age
Although the origin of the city of Split is associated with the construction of Diocletian's Palace, in 295-305, ie in the 4th century, archaeological finds excavated after 2000 (sacral buildings, amphitheater, harbor on the north side of Marjan), prove that this area was inhabited in ancient Roman times, long before Diocletian. It is possible that there was one of the Greek colonies, and due to its favorable geographical position, probably an Illyrian settlement.

Diocletian, the Roman emperor from 284-305, came from a humble family and was originally called Diocletian. He is known as the great reformer of the Roman Empire because he introduced a system called the tetrarchy, which is the simultaneous rule of four rulers. He was a persecutor of Christians who considered himself a god. The great palace in the area of ​​today's Split was built to spend his retirement days (Diocletian was the only Roman emperor to resign without coercion).

Diocletian's Palace is the largest and best preserved late antique palace in the world. The east and west walls are 216 m long, the south 181 m, and the north 175 m. In the northern part of the palace were located the servants and the army, while to the south were the emperor's chambers. There was a water supply system in use that brings water from the source of the river Jadro, and it is still used today. The latest of the theories claims that Diocletian's Palace was never just a place to rest, but a real wool processing factory. In 480, the last legitimate emperor of the Western Roman Empire, Julia Nepos, was poisoned in the palace (the often cited Romulus Augustulus ‘ruled’ only Italy). One street of today's Split bears his name.

Today, the complex has preserved walls, 4 gates (Gold - Porta Aurea, Silver - Porta Argentea, Iron - Porta Ferrea and Brass - Porta Aenea), the emperor's mausoleum (now the Cathedral of St. Domnius), corner towers, Temple of Jupiter or the Temple of All Gods , the central square - the Peristyle, and directly south of the Peristyle, the Vestibule.

Middle Ages
The more significant settlement of Diocletian's Palace probably began in the 7th century, at the time of the first Slavic-Avar invasions. Later, Split expanded beyond the walls. After the settlement of the Croats, Split remained a Romanesque city. For a long time it was part of the so-called Byzantine Dalmatia because, like other cities on the coast, it was occasionally under Byzantine rule, and occasionally under the control of Croatian princes and kings. Split was Christianized at that time, so the emperor's mausoleum became a church. Subsequently, in the Baroque period during the reign of Archbishop Marco Antonio de Dominis, a choir was added, and from 13-18. a monumental bell tower was added in the 19th century, (thoroughly restored in the 19th century.)

In the 10th century, key church councils were held in Split, which decided the fate of the Glagolitic people, the diocese of Nin (see Gregory of Nin) and the church of the Croats.

On the peninsula west of the city port in the Middle Ages was the Benedictine monastery of St. Stipana under the pines (San Stephanus de Pinis, sub pinis). The peninsula is named after the same - Sustipan. The most famous ordained of that monastery was the son of the Croatian king Dmitar Zvonimir, Stjepan. The founder of this monastery was the Archbishop of Split Lovre, otherwise a friend of King Zvonimir. Sources mention this monastery for the first time in 1020.

From the 11th century, Byzantine rule in Split was continued by various rulers (Norman, Hungarian), and the city until the XV. century operates as an independent commune, with its own Council and Statute of 1312. The Statute of the City of Split and the Libro d`oro or Golden Book form a unique whole and are a valuable source for getting to know the legal, political and social life of the city from the 13th century until the collapse of the Venetian Republic in 1797. The first statute called the Capitularium from 1240 has not been preserved. It was compiled for the first testament of Gargano de Arscindis, who was invited from Ancona for mayor on the idea of ​​Thomas the Archdeacon. A new codification of Split law was made by Perceval, son of Ivan, of Fermo, also from the Italian region of Marche, in 1312, and was written as was then common in Europe, in Latin. There are various transcripts.

New era
Venetian government
From the 15th century until the fall of Venice in 1797, the whole of Dalmatia (with the exception of the Republic of Dubrovnik) was under Venetian rule. During the Turkish conquests, part of the Split hinterland was ruled by the Ottomans, so Split began to develop as a city on the border and as an import-export port. The town used to be a cultural center where one of the first and best Croatian writers, the writer Marko Marulić (1450-1524), the author of the famous epic Judith, worked.

The Napoleonic era
From 1805 to 1813, Split, like the whole of Dalmatia, was ruled by Napoleonic France. The memory of the short-lived rule of the French in Split is the first modern street, today Marmontova, named after the French Marshal August Marmont and the Marjan peak Telegrin. After Napoleon's defeat, Dalmatia belonged to Habsburg Austria.


Habsburg Monarchy and Austro-Hungary
After the Austro-Hungarian settlement and the creation of a dual monarchy (1867), Split belonged to the Austrian part of the Monarchy as part of the Kingdom of Dalmatia. Split was one of the focal points of the struggle of pro-Italian (initially non-Italian) autonomists and populists who advocated stronger ties with the rest of Croatia.

In the midst of these struggles, the autonomist Antonio Bajamonti came to power in Split in 1860. Split at that time was an extremely neglected city and cried out for revitalization. Antonio Bajamonti, otherwise extremely liberal and democratic, saw in this his calling and opportunity. In his twenty-year reign, he introduced numerous innovations into city institutions. One of the first actions he initiated was the opening of a savings bank that was supposed to help the most needy in the city. He introduced full transparency into municipal action. He was especially committed in the field of education of the general public and encouraged the opening of reading rooms.

Bajamonti's contribution to the city of Split is great. Arriving in power, Bajamonti immediately started the reconstruction and construction of the city center. He built numerous buildings that still contribute to the view of Split. On the neglected Marmont Park, he had a monumental complex of buildings built around the central square known as the Procuratorate. The architectural ensemble was supposed to exude the Venetian spirit, so Italian painters, sculptors and architects were most often hired for the work. The complex consisted of a theater building located at the top of the square and two single-storey side wings that have porches on the ground floor on square pillars, while their floor is dissolved by bifores. To the south, towards the sea, the space was open. Procuraratives were conceived as a set of buildings that were supposed to serve various functions. The west wing of the Procuratorate was built in 1863-1867, two-thirds of the southern part of the east wing was built in 1810-1811, and the final northern third of the building was completed in 1928. In the extension of this complex he built his palace Bajamonti (later called Dešković) in the Neo-Renaissance style and restored the Franciscan monastery which then received the eastern facade, also in the Neo-Renaissance style.

In order to complete the works on Diocletian's waterworks and bring drinking water to the city in 1880, Mayor Bajamonti had a Monumental Fountain (fountain) built, popularly known as "Bajamontuša". The author of the model of the fountain was Luigi Ceccon, a sculptor from Padua, and the stonemason's workshop responsible for the performance was F. Dall’Ara e Comp. The pedestal of the fountain was made of Brač stone, and the fountain itself was made of Veronese, and the sculptures of Carrara marble. On top of it was a half-naked figure of a boy, about two meters tall, who had a lictor's bundle in his right hand, and with his left hand pointed to the east, that is, to the future, the progress of Split. The complex iconographic program of the fountain was probably designed by Bajamonti himself, and the fountain was often the motif of postcards of the time. However, during the Italian occupation of Dalmatia, 1941-43. year, the fascist occupiers held the Italian and Dalmatian flags on it and ideologically adopted it, looking at the lictor bundle at the top of the fountain as a symbol of fascism - which was founded well after the construction of the fountain. For these reasons, it was often mistakenly associated with the fascist movement, and in the end, due to this, but of course also due to the wrong judgment about the artistic quality of the fountain, it was mined and demolished by the communists in 1947. Trying to reduce the damage of this culturicide, the then director of the Art Gallery and painter Vjeko Parać collected individual fragments of the fountain and later donated them to the Museum of the City of Split. Shortly after the blasting, the fountain was replaced by a circular pool with a fountain by Milorad Družeić, and Bajamontuša fell into oblivion.

Political embezzlement and conflict managed to overshadow these Bajamonti ventures and after numerous accusations of squandering city money, Italianization, and lack of documentation on municipal affairs and projects he lost the election.

On October 28, 1882, the Narodniks under the leadership of Gaj Bulat took power in the Split city municipality. The first populist mayor of Split was Dujam Rendić-Miočević. However, until the end of the First World War, Dalmatia was not united with the rest of Croatia. Despite the high port traffic, the construction of the connection with the continental railway network began only in 1912 (and it is questionable whether it went to Zagreb or to Livno and Banja Luka), but was interrupted due to the outbreak of the First World War. It is assumed that in that period of national awakening, the Croatian patriotic song "Marjane, Marjane" was written, which sings an ode to Croatia symbolized through the Croatian flag at the top of Marjan. The symbolism of that peak as a symbol of Croatia has remained to this day and has been a defiance of unpopular regimes.

Kingdom of SCS and Yugoslavia

In the interwar period, relatively few public buildings of a modern architectural concept were built in Split. The building of the Ambassador Hotel, the Pirate's Home on Matejuška, the building of the Aquarium on Marjan, the building of the Elementary School Manuš-Dobri and others are known from that time.

World War II
In the Second World War, after the April War and the collapse of Yugoslavia, he was briefly in the Independent State of Croatia. With the Roman agreements, it belonged to Italy, where it remained until the fall of Italy and the chief's termination of the Roman agreements, thus belonging to the Independent State of Croatia. After the fall of Italy, it was controlled by partisans, and after a few days the forces of the Third Reich and the NDH entered. He was in the Independent State of Croatia until October 26, 1944.

Socialist Yugoslavia
Protest removal of the flag on Marjan in 1947.
Related to this is the demonstrative act in Split from April 10, 1947, when a group of Croatian patriots were members of the Croatian Liberation Movement (Frane Bettini, Ivica Bavčević, Nikola Pensa, Jelka Betica, Vlado Zelinak, Borica Jonić, Ruža Anić, Katica Šanić, Jakov Kirigin, Tomislav Karaman, Vjekoslav Matijević and Frane Tente) took down the flag with a red star and hung an 18-meter Croatian flag on top of Marjan.

After the end of the First World War, Dalmatia entered the newly created state (Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes), which later became Yugoslavia). The city has since shared the fate of Croatia and Croats in it.

From that moment, Split began to grow intensively, becoming an increasingly important cultural, administrative and economic center. The completion of the railway to Zagreb (Lika railway) in 1925, with the efforts of the then mayor, Dr. Ivo Tartaglia, greatly contributed to the economic development of Split. The annexation of Zadar, Istria and Rijeka (cities and regions that were mostly Croatian) or Trieste (which had a significant Slovenian and Croatian community) to Italy also contributes to this. Numerous Croats who do not want to be under Italian rule and want to avoid Italianization and tal. government, moved, transferring their principals and companies, and to Split. While peace talks were underway, there was a possibility that Split would fall under Italian rule. As the Allied military authorities alternated, so did the Italian ones. Italian provocations almost created a big problem. In the end, thanks to the great efforts of Croatian politicians, Split did not fall under Italy. In addition to the aforementioned conditions that contributed to the growth of Split, Split also became the seat of a large administrative unit, the Primorska Banovina. During the 1930s, the HSS strengthened considerably in Split. On the eve of the war, it became part of the Banovina of Croatia. Projects have been launched and plans for further growth in Split have been drawn up. The HSS network contributed to the stable growth of Split and worked on the cooperation of workers and employers. Communists in Split resorted to violent methods.


After the Axis powers attacked the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Yugoslavia quickly disintegrated because no one wanted to be in that violent creation in which Balkan fascism was. Enthusiastic citizens of Split emphasized Croatian features, feeling the breath of freedom after a decade of Greater Serbian hegemony. But shock soon followed. Dirty political trade falls under Italian rule by the Treaties of Rome, because the Ustasha authorities had to pay tribute to their mentor. A large part of the Croats felt betrayed. The terror of the Italian fascist regime in all fields resulted in a great response of the people of Split to the partisan resistance movement or to the territory of the Independent State of Croatia. On the occasion of the arrival of the Italians in Split and the establishment of the Independent State of Croatia, some prominent leaders of the HSS and patriots in general left Split, leaving only a few in Split. Humiliations were daily. Despite being very pro-Allied, Split did not pass without bombing. In addition to the Axis bombings, Split unfortunately suffered unnecessary Allied bombings that resulted in heavy civilian casualties. Hunger also suffered from great scarcity and famine. After the fall of Italy, the NOVH came to power in Split. The partisan administration lasted fifteen days. In late September 1943, German troops captured the city and returned it to the rule of the NDH (after the first days before the Treaties of Rome). Many younger citizens of Split withdrew with the partisans. Part of the population joined the refugee who would sail via Vis to Italy, then to El Shatt. With new pressure from the new masters, the citizens were hardest hit by the daily overflights, bombing and machine-gunning of Anglo-American aircraft. In the first half of 1944, there were 1,890 raids, 640 alerts and 21 bombings over Split and its surroundings. More than 450 people were killed. The city was constantly under air alert, and the citizens were in constant tension. The June 3, 1944 bombings were particularly severe. The unreasonableness of the bombing is proved by the fact that from Firule to Meje, from Bačvice to Kopilica, from Poljička cesta to the slopes of Marjan, few streets were spared. 121 houses were completely demolished, 217 were seriously damaged and 210 were slightly damaged. 227 innocent civilians were killed. Church of St. Duje (Diocletian's mausoleum) and the bell tower were miraculously spared. At the same time, buildings that are military in nature and that were to be expected to be bombed were not hit: no bomb hit the Gripe Fortress (which dominates the city and is very conspicuous!) Or any of the buildings in which they were located. German military headquarters: Banovina, Hotel Amabasador, Jadranska banka on the Riva, etc. The people of Split, mostly pro-Allied, were saddened and indignant. While the people of Split cursed the Allies, the partisan illegal newspaper NOO Split (Glas Splita no. 11, dated June 8, 1944) wrote as if it were from some other reality, without condemning an unnecessary and completely failed Allied action. The issue read: "The Allied bombing of Split had great benefits for our liberation struggle. The occupying gangs panicked wildly, so that they fled the city once and for all. A terrible confusion was created in the entire military and administrative apparatus of the Ustasha government in the city. . (...) At one point, all the efforts of the Ustashas to create opportunities in the city that would convince them to carry out their anti-national policy unhindered ... "After the war, for the entire existence of socialist Yugoslavia, until 1990, critical writing or talking about these Anglo-American destructions of Split and other Dalmatian cities was an undesirable topic. There was little talk about this taboo topic and only politically eligible Yugoslav communist cadres were allowed to talk about it. The day after that great destruction by bombing, on June 4, Bishop Dr. Kvirin Klement Bonefačić, through the Apostolic Nuncio in Vienna, reported to Pope Pius XII. that German and Ustasha soldiers had left the city, and asked him to intercede in order to declare Split an open city. Radio London news was broadcast on June 5 by the New Age daily, which said "The attack was carried out at the request of Marshal Tito."


With the liberation from the cruel Axis regime on October 26, 1944, the much-coveted freedom and democracy did not come. Although many citizens of Split were happy to welcome their fellow citizens, whom they saw as liberators, a new fear loomed over the city. Intolerant communist totalitarians dealt cruelly with prominent intellectuals, and the HSS members were particularly targeted, as they were the previous democratically elected government with majority support in Split. Some were killed at the beginning of the war (Luka Čulić), some before the liberation of Split (Vojko Krstulović), and some had to flee (Desimir Jakaša). After the liberation, several partisan camps were established in Split, which existed during the remaining months of the war, but also after the Second World War (1944-1946). Some of these camps are so-called. the Gripe camp, Rok, and the Firule camp (left over from the Italians), held by the UN, and where numerous partisan deserter fighters, captured home guards, Ustasha, German and Italian soldiers, and numerous civilians were brought. The existence of these camps was a taboo topic throughout the existence of socialist Yugoslavia. According to the testimony of Msgr. Ivan Bilić from 2011, on Lovrinac (which was then kilometers away from the city) there are three mass graves: "And when I peeked behind a hill, and that would be north of the new morgue building and east of the old one where now the administration ... I saw three mass graves, between 120 and 150 meters long, about four meters wide, with earth about a meter and a half on them, there were once walled fields. people who were brought from all over Dalmatia from October 1944 to the middle of 1946 and killed without trial. " The executions of the citizens were part of a plan by totalitarian Party members to destroy "class enemies" and intimidate the rest of the population. Residents were liquidated without trial, without any documents. The Lovrinac execution site is an example of similar ones throughout Croatia, and orders for fratricidal executions were given by the Croats themselves.


In socialist Yugoslavia, Split recorded a large increase in population and a high rate of industrialization.

At the beginning of the Homeland War, the Greater Serbia forces attacked Split from the sea on the morning of November 15, 1991, and the night before the attack was preceded by a change of fire between Croatian units and the JNA and JRM barracks. Little is known that Split had been attacked once before, but to a lesser extent. On September 24, 1991, JRM torpedo boats fired several grenades at Marjan. On December 18, 1991, the so-called Nis special forces detained 24 Croatian volunteers, workers of Brodosplit, in the military port of Lora, which was still under the control of the JNA, who took part in taking over the seized Croatian weapons. According to the Žitnica Agreement, the JNA was to return the weapons it had confiscated from the Croatian Territorial Defense in May 1990. This was followed by the abuse of Croatian prisoners, who were not released until the morning of 19 December.

The 4th Guards Brigade of the Croatian Army "Spiders" was based in Split.


Weather in Split

Temperature in Split rise in July and August significantly along with tourist crowds and prices. Precipitation on the other hand decreases. If you travel outside of the city and you see a fire or a smoke, don't ignore it. Summer fires might be quiet deadly and travel much faster than you expect. The best time to visit the city is in May- June or in September. Temperatures are still pretty high, but they are not scorching.