Emperor Diocletian was born in modern day Solin, just inland from Split and rose through the ranks to become Emperor in AD284. After 21 years of rule, he retired into his elaborate mansion on the shore of the Adriatic Sea in AD305 with a wish to enter into his palace directly from the ship without leaving the deck. Today his mansion is called the Diocletian's Palace and is the founding structure for modern day Split.
Diocletian's Palace was never a conventional Palace. Spread over 30000 square metres, it in fact was as large as a whole city with many alleyways, cobblestone streets, arches, columns and engineering and technology much ahead of its time. With elaborate, intricate carvings, squares inside the palace, open collonades surrounding courtyards (called the Peristil) as well as a mausoleum, the Roman engineers created a monument the charm of which has survived the test of time.
With time however, the palace underwent changes. Diocletian was once known as a persecutor of Christians but as history would have it, the mausoleum was converted into a Cathedral.
Today Diocletian's Palace is occupied by fashionable boutiques and clubs in between crumbling pillars and medieval churches. Small galleries, restaurants, cafes, sometimes literally built into the ancient walls provide an environment where history mingles with contemporary design and attractive Dalmatian lifestyle. The palace today contains no windows, no doors nor any roofs. It stands tall as a huge compound of squares.
for most tourists a fine vacation is a relaxing stay at the shore of pristine blue waters underneath azure blue skies. for many others it is a hike up the mountains for an experience in between the woods. for many it is soaking up a culture distinct and alien to their own. for some it is an experience of history and for a few it is gastronomy - fine food, night life and shopping!! now imagine a destination that provides all of the above and one has hit bulls eye. our travels today take us to split, croatia, one of the most complete travel destinations all over the europe.
split, is the second largest city of croatia after zagreb, its capital and undoubtedly one of its more modern ones.split's claim to fame is its perception of a gateway to the beautiful islands of hvar, brac, vis and korcula. but a visit to these islands without a deeper dive into split would be grave injustice to what the city stands for. A CLOSER LOOK AT THE FACADE OF THE ROMAN PALACE FRONTING ITS HARBOUR REVEALS THE CITY'S ANCIENT ROOTS AND OPENS UP TO ITS HISTORY WHICH DATES BACK TO 300 AD. TODAY SPLIT'S RESIDENTS ARE LITERALLY LIVING IN A ROMAN EMPEROR'S PALACE!
with a rich history dating to roman times, a cultural experience which feels different from any other european one, world class hotels, fine shopping, michelin starred restaurants and the best night life in croatia, split is without doubt the most complete travel destinations across europe and IS EUROPEUNEXPLORED'S TRAVEL DESTINATION OF THIS FORTNIGHT - ABSOLUTELY OFF THE BEATEN PATH!
Europe off the Beaten Path!!
sailing in split
Sailing and Dalmatia go hand in hand. At any point in Split one would encounter numerous number of boats and small ships taking a closer look at the coast of Split intending to look for a hidden cove or wanting to indulge into some island cruising. A view of the Dalmatian coast covering the Marjan Hills to the far west to the old town is a delight and hence a visit to Split and not indulge into sailing is akin to blasphemy! A view of the Bisevo (Blue cave), Vis (Stiniva bay), Ravnik (Green cave), Budikovac (Blue lagoon), Hvar (Hvar town) and Brac (Milna) can be one of the most beautiful rides of your life! Highly recommended by us at EUROPEUNEXPLORED!
Luckily sailing in Split will not make one sweat. Renting a boat including a skipper would set you back by Euro 100-110 per person and 10-11 hours (if negotiated well in advance). Considering that most other attractions in Split are free, this investment may be well worth it.
riva - the fine seafront promenade
Like many other cities having fine seafront promenades, Split has its own version of a fine promenade - Riva. And the citizens of Split take massive pride in Riva. The promenade starts right outside Diocletian's walls facing the sea on the waterfront. It boats of the finest gastronomy experience in the whole of Croatia. However, a walk along the promenade taking in the fine breeze flowing in from the islands while sipping piping hot coffee from the numerous coffee bars along the promenade may be an experience worth savouring for a lifetime!
the marjan hills
Split stands nestled between the Adriatic Sea at one end and the Marjan Hills at the other. In many ways, the Marjan Hills are the lungs of Split. Its where the locals frequent in the bustling summer months for a break from the chaotic life of the city. Starting from the Mormont street and continuiong westward, the Marjan Hills are more than 3 kms wide. There are hundreds of stairs that need to be climbed to get to the top of the Marjan Hills. But once climbed, the rewards in the form of finest views of the harbour of Split as well as the red tiled roofs of the old town at the other end, make the hike totally worthwhile!!
The highest peak called Telegrin, which name derives from Napoleonic era where here it was a telegraph station, is 178 meters high with 314 steps to reach the highest point. Tourists must not miss drinking coffee at one of the most popular bars on the Marjan Hills - Bar Vidilica which remains open right till midnight. A visit to Split cannot be complete without a hike to the Marjan Hills. No wonder Croats are known to be the fittest people in the whole of Europe!!
the dalmatian coast
The narrow strip of land extending from the city of Rab in the north to the UNESCO World Heritage City of Dubrovnik in the south of Croatia is called Dalmatia and arguably the primary reason to be in Croatia. Dalmatia possesses one of Europe’s most dramatic shorelines, as the stark, grey wall of the coastal mountains sweeps down towards a lush seaboard ribbon dotted with palm trees and olive plantations. It is urbanized with Split the focal point of the coast. However it is also home to antiquated villages and harsh natural wildernesses, which can often be found just a few minutes’ walk uphill from the coastal strip.
The shimmering waters of the Adriatic Sea make the beaches of the Dalmatian Coast a seaside getaway every bit as desirable as a turn on the Mediterranean.
Unknown to most people, Split has been in existence for over 1700 years. In the 3rd century, Emperor Diocletian who ruled over the Roman empire for 22 years decided to build his retirement palace on the Adriatic sea a short distance away from Solin- his home town. And thus Split was built, initially as a large walled city.
However, many empires attempted to put their mark on Split. The Byzantines, the Venetians, the Ottoman Turks, the Austrians and even the Italians, all planted their flags on this city. After the demise of the Roman empire, the Avars and the Slavs conquered Solin in AD614, and its citizens fled to Split for shelter and thus a new town was born. The new population set about altering the palace to suit their own housing needs and that gave the city a new distinct flavour.
In the 9th century, the Byzantine emperors came to Split. IN AD1069, King Kresmir annexed Split to his kingdom of Croatia. In the 15th century, the Venetians conquered Split. In the 16th century, the Ottoman Turks planted their foot on Split. They erected massive bastions to fortify their positions and in the process enhanced the walled character of the city. In the 1800s the Austro Hungarian empire took control of Split and ruled the city till 1918 - the end of the First World War. However, history was to take one more turn and in 1941, the Italians under Mussolini took control of Split for a brief 2 years till the end of the second World War.
All these dynasties left their indomitable impression on the city. However, despite years of foreign occupation, none could shake of the original Roman character that remains till today.
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