a. Split as a settlement existed several centuries before but the foundations of Split as we know it today was laid by Roman emperor Diocletian. It is believed he had humble origins and was son of an ex-slave of Illyrian origin from the village of Mravind near Split. From early on he started military service and thanks to his brilliant military career he gained prominence and ascended the imperial Roman throne.
b. Roman emperor Diocletian chose to build his retirement palace in Split because it was his homeland, had an outstanding geographical location, strategic position, favorable climate and the area around the palace site had a rich source of sulfur water (concentration of over 70 springs) beneficial for those suffering from rheumatism which is believed to be the ailment of the then ageing emperor. Diocletian’s palace complex has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1979.
c. The freshwater supply to Diocletian’s palace came from Jadro river for which a 9 km. long aqueduct was erected on his orders and this ancient aqueduct supplies running water to Split even today.
d. The mausoleum of Diocletian was converted to a place of worship - the Cathedral of Saint Dominius at the turn of 7th century when Christians removed all pagan icons and images including his sarcophagus as Diocletian was a known persecutor of Christians in his time. This cathedral belongs to the patron saint of Split and is considered to be one of the oldest in the world.
e. In 1100 the impressive bell tower of St. Domnius was constructed in Romanesque style and is one of the remaining original and oldest bells of the Adriatic coast. Visitors from the top of the tower can enjoy magnificent views of the city center, Marjan hill and the nearby islands.
f. There are 220 buildings within the palace walls and about 3000 people live inside it calling an ancient, enormous palace home.
g. From 9th to 20th century six different foreign powers ruled Split – the Byzantines, Franks, Hungarians, Venetians, French and Austrians. As per the legend Split was sold in 1409 to Venice for 100’000 ducats.
h. One of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in Europe built in 1573 is located on Marjan hill in Split. Besides Split also has the third oldest Jewish synagogue built in 16th century next to Pjaca square at the western-northern part of the palace called Ghetto.
i. In 16th and 17th centuries Split was a prominent maritime commerce center of the Mediterranean all thanks to Danjel Rodrigo of Sephardic Jewish origin who convinced Venice to open a transshipping center and a Lazaret quarantine in Split’s port.
j. Interestingly two neighbors and also close friends in Renaissance period Dmine Papalic and Marko Marulic used to spend their time collecting ancient treasures and storing them in Dmine’s home – the Grand Papalic palace is where today the City Museum of Split is located.
k. Sigmund Freud vacationed once in Split about which he has mentioned it in his book as well. Interestingly in the passage connecting Fruit square with Riva promenade there is a door with a plaque stating “Father of Psychoanalysis stayed at this house in 1898”.
l. Riva is a bustling promenade and has an abundance of restaurants and shops. Visitors can dine, shop, walk and admire the beautiful views.
m. Popular HBO TV series Game of Thrones was shot on location at Diocletian’s palace, Klis fortress, Kastel Gomilica and other places around Split. The fans of this epic fantasy series will enjoy visiting the various filming locations and recount the scenes. Visitors can also visit the Museum of Game of Thrones located in the city center.
n. Ultra - a mega music festival held yearly every June (do check exact dates due current COVID situation) is an electronic music festival that attracts fans from all over the globe. The festival features famous DJs like Carl Cox, DJ Snake, Afrojack, Swedish House Mafia and many more making it a real treat for electronic music lovers.
o. Hadjuk one of the two fan owned teams in Croatia is also the favorite football club of Dalmatia was founded in 1911 by four students from Split. The name Hadjuk translates in English to freedom fighter and the football club’s founders named the team in honor of Croatia’s struggle for freedom. The club has a fan following of over 1 million across Croatia.
p. Founded in 1860, Morpurgo is the third oldest bookstore of Europe located in Split.
q. Split’s main green market, designated as part of UNESCO’s intangible heritage is a favorite with city dwellers for grocery shopping especially on weekends and visitors should experience it as well and just a short walk across old town is the old fish market which has no flies due to the sulfur springs nearby.
r. Split is also famous as a city which takes sports very seriously and has produced world class players in various sporting disciplines. Split is the city from where tennis star Goran Ivanisevic hails and became the only player in the world to have a wild card entry and went on to win the Wimbledon in 2001. The world basketball body FIBA declared ‘Basketball Club Split the best team of the 20th century’ after they won three consecutive European championship titles from 1989-91. The city of Split has set up boards with names of Olympic medalists on the main promenade (Riva) to honor their achievements.