Posted by: Alex MacGregor | May 9, 2010

Palatial Split

It was time to grit our teeth and hop on a bus back to coastal Croatia. This time we were headed for Split–the country’s second largest city and a major port–and although we knew the place has a great deal of history (and the tourists that come with it), we could only hope it was a bit more relaxed than Dubrovnik.

Thankfully, it was. Split’s large local population helps to diffuse the tourist frenzy, and fewer cruise ships seem to find their way into Split’s harbor, making it an easier and more relaxing place to explore.

The first thing you notice about Split is the palace wall, hemmed in by normal businesses and homes.

Split has a very unique history. It began as a Roman palace about 1,700 years ago, with a strong wall surrounding large, grand buildings. Eventually it was abandoned by Rome, but people in the area continued living in the palace; as original buildings fell down they just put up their own homes.

Life in the palace continues just like that to this day. Now it’s the center of Split, and the ruins of the palace are side-by-side with houses and businesses. Not only do you stumble upon ruins almost two millenia old, you also see people hanging their laundry to dry and sitting in simple cafes.

You also don’t have to wander far to see Croatians living in more typical neighborhoods.

There’s also the bustling market, which caters more to locals than to tourists. The dual economy is striking: a plain t-shirt in a normal part of the market might cost you 30 kuna, but if you happen to want Che Guevara’s face on the front of that shirt, you’ll have to pay 80 kuna at a tourist-focused stall!

Split is also a place with more reasonably-priced attractions, so we were able to relax and check out the sights, such as the main cathedral.

The bell tower is the most prominent structure in town.

View from the top.

The Temple of Jupiter, from the original Roman palace, has been transformed into a baptistry.

The ceiling.

Central Split’s main park, a good place for a leisurely stroll without fear of running into any foxes.


  1. Just no dogs? Wow, guess that means you can drink, play soccer, love, swim, sing and all that other stuff you can’t do in BiH, no? I vote for Split. I’ll leave the dogs at home on the farm. CAN’T WAIT FOR YOU TO GET HOME!!!!!!!

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