Split lies on the Adriatic coast of Croatia. It is the country’s second largest city and its beginnings date from around the 6th century BC. As well as a popular tourist destination, the city is a transport centre for the nearby islands and the Apennine peninsula. Tall mountains up to 1340m protect the city from the cold north and northeasterly winds, ensuring that the evergreen Mediterranean and subtropical vegetation thrives and Split enjoys pleasant temperatures most year round. The historic center of Split is an important UNESCO World Heritage site.
Split was initially a Greek colony (Aspálathos) set up to trade with the Delmatae tribe. Roman occupation followed, with Slavs then Venetians taking over. Later Byzantine occupation was followed by the Kingdom of Croatia and the Hungarians, a brief Napoleonic rule and the Austrians (19th century AD), then the Serbs and Yugoslavians under Marshall Tito Split finally reverted to Croatia in the 1990’s. The historic legacy of all these influences combines to make Split a most interesting and atmospheric city.
Today’s Palace in the Old City is still inhabited and the many characterful markets, squares, the ancientt St Dule Cathedral and of course Diocletian’s Palace are a reminder of the city’s past glory.
Split’s rich history is documented in the many museums, with the 1820 Archaeological Museum containing over 150 000 artifacts from prehistoric to the period of Croatian popular rulers, the Archaeological Monuments Museum dedicated to Croat Middle Age cultural artifacts, and the City Museum in the former Papalić Palace representing the artistic, economic and cultural, heritage of the city. Others include the Museum of Ethnography, the Croatian Maritime and the Science Museum. The Gallery of Fine Arts is also an arts museum, its pieces ranging from the 14th century to the present day.
Split’s Summer cultural activity includes the Split Music and Summer Theatre Festivals. The city’s nightlife is vibrant all year round, with the latest Western trends mingling and co-existing happily with both pure and progressive Slavic styles. The visitor will have a great choice at any time of day and late into the night from the many themed pubs and clubs, wonderful eateries and coffee houses..
Split is also an excellent base for visiting the nearby islands of Brac or Solta (connected by several ferries throughout the day), as well as central Croatia. Car hire is strongly recommended. Some of the lovely day trips include the beautiful Brela beach, the picturesque port of Baska Voda at the foot of the mountains, the town of Makarska (described as Split n miniature), the Roman ruins at Solin and the characterful village of Omis next to the Cetina river.
Posted : Friday, December 3rd, 2010 at 12:58
Karen Bryan is the founding editor of the UK based, multi author Europe a la Carte Blog which features Europe travel tips about the best places to visit in Europe.