Tourist Info Split and History of Split
Split is the economic and administrative center of Middle Dalmatia, with about 200,000 inhabitants.
It is also the jumping-off point for exploration of the coast and islands of the beautiful Croatian Adriatic. The site was first settled when, at the end of the third century AD, the Roman Emperor Diocletian built his palace here.
The importance of Diocletian’s Palace far transcends local significance because of its level of preservation and the buildings of succeeding historical periods built within its walls, which today form the very heart of old Split.
Split’s growth became particularly rapid in the 7th century, when the inhabitants of the destroyed Greek and Roman metropolis Salonae (present-day Solin) took refuge within its walls. The lovely ruins of ancient city of Solin outside Slit can still be explored today. In the Middle Ages, Split was an autonomous commune.
Many of Split’s historical and cultural buildings can be found within the walls of Diocletian’s Palace. In addition, numerous museums, the National Theatre, and old churches and other archeological sites in the Split region make it an important cultural attraction.
Split is also a very busy port, with an international airport and regular ferry services with the nearby islands, the north and south Adriatic, Italy and Greece. The merchant and passenger ships of the Split shipyards may be encountered in almost all the seas of the world. In addition, the city has large chemical works, metallurgy plants, and workshops for the production of solar cells. The fertile fields around Split represent a good base for agriculture, while cultural monuments, superb landscapes and unparalleled seascapes make it a tourist’s wonderland. Split is also a university seat and host to numerous scientific institutions.
At the end of the third century AD, the Roman Emperor Diocletian built his palace on the bay of Aspalathos. Here, after abdicating on May 1, 305, A.D. Diocletian spent the last years of his life. The bay is located on the south side of a short peninsula running out from the Dalmatian coast into the Adriatic, four miles from the site of Salona, the capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia. The terrain on which the palace was built slopes gently seaward. It is typical karst terrain, consisting of low limestone ridges running east to west with marl in the clefts between them.
This palace is today the heart of the inner-city of Split where all the most important historical buildings can be found. The importance of Diocletian’s Palace far transcends local significance because of its level of preservation and the buildings of succeeding historical periods, stretching from Roman times onwards, which form the very tissue of old Split. The Palace is one of the most famous and integral architectural and cultural constructs on the Croatian Adriatic coast and holds an outstanding place in the Mediterranean, European and world heritage.
In November 1979 UNESCO, in line with the international convention concerning the cultural and natural heritage, adopted a proposal that the historic Split inner city, built around the imperial Palace, should be included in the register of the World Cultural Heritage.
The imperial Palace is built of white local limestone of high quality, most of which was from quarries on the island of Brac; tuffa taken from the nearby river beds; and brick made in Salonitan and other workshops. Some material for decoration was imported: Egyptian granite columns and sphinxes, fine marble for revetments and some capitals produced in workshops in the Proconnesos.
Water for the palace came from the Jadro river near Salona. Along the road from Split to Salona impressive remains of the original aqueduct can still be seen. They were extensively restored in the nineteenth century.