Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Summer in Split [Part 1/2]: Exploring the Old Town

Split’s Old Town can keep you engaged for hours. During my recent visit I got reminded of that. There is so much to explore and see in the old town walls that a quick walk through is not possible at all. There are many historic sights here. The most prominent landmark is the Diocletian Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Since it was built, the palace complex has housed many; at first these were the palatial staff quarters, today they house local citizens. This intriguing combination of history and everyday routine adds to the mystery of the complex. But let us dig a little deeper into the old town of Split.

This is part one of a two part photo series:
Part One: Exploring the Old Town
Part Two: Sunny Day on the Promenade



It was a hot morning when I started exploring the old town. Many tourists were already out and about, swarming the old walls and surroundings. On the north entrance you can find the statue of 10th century Croatian leader, Gregory of Nin (shown below). They say if you rub his big toe and make a wish, it comes true.



The Diocletian palace was built by the Roman Emperor Diocletian as a retirement home. He wanted to spend his remaining days closer to his birthplace, Salona, the then capital of Roman Dalmatia. Split being just four miles away proved to be an ideal location; the topography ensured he’d always enjoy a strategic advantage in case of any hostile approach, and he had more than enough room to build a luxurious palace that reflected his position and housed his staff. Split’s development as a prominent city was a result of this move.



At the heart of the palace is the monumental courtyard known as the Perystile. The Emperor used to entertain visitors in this lavish courtyard. And though the Emperor is long gone, the flow of visitors to his court has only increased: you’ll find tourists gathered around the massive columns and arches with guidebooks and cameras all year round.

The Perystile leads to two fascinating parts of the complex. Stairs take you to an elaborate network of underground vaults; these were used as prisons and torture chambers where Christian saints were persecuted on the Emperor’s command. Today you can buy a selection of local crafts here. The Perystile also leads up to the Cathedral of St. Dominus. Inside, the cathedral offers a rich collection of art and sculptures from the 14th century.


The Split Old Town is full of charming nooks. Tiny lanes take you past make-shift stalls full of local crafts and cheap souvenirs. They weave in and out of meeting spots like the People’s Square with the Clock Tower and City Hall, Veli Varos (a quiet medieval fishing settlement), and the busy fish market. Along the way you’ll also bump into several impressive museums, like the City Museum of Split, the Ethnographic Museum, the Archaeological Museum (founded in 1820, this is one of the oldest museums in Split, Croatia), and the Ivan Mestrovic Gallery, all within walking distance of the palace.




 I eventually made my way out of the old town walls, and into the open promenade of Split. In the next post I will show you some details and stories from there...


End of Part One
To be continued...


15 comments:

  1. Wonderful post, Mersad!

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  2. Thank you for taking me back to Split. I was on a guided tour which was mostly spent with the tour guide staying in one place at a time while she related the history of that place. Consequently she ran out of time and I didn't get to see as much as you did.

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    1. Those tour guides can be a tricky thing. I hope part 2 will take you even further into the old town.

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  3. Loved the post. Stunning pics.

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  4. ...a lovely spot to explore! 😀

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  5. I love old stone and you have lots of it here. I can't believe how beautiful the stone looks in black and white. my favorite today is number 2 photo. stunning

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  6. So much history here Mersad, beautifully shown and related here.. merci beaucoup ✨

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  7. It looks like such a beautiful place

    Mollyx

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  8. Would love to explore. Really beautiful what you are showing.

    Greetings

    N☼va

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  9. Brother ,
    what i say, This is the first place I saw. You have so many Thanks brothers
    It's very cool. I kept my mobile in two photos.

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  10. It's a wonderful place. I was there last year.

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  11. I was in Split maybe seven or eight years ago, and this is the part of the town that I remember. It was a day when I wasn't feeling very creative and my photos were Flat. Yours are much better.

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