"Diocletian-A Palace that Started a City" Top 5 Page for this destination Split by BruceDunning

Split Travel Guide: 847 reviews and 2,378 photos

A Town That Grew to Power and Fame

A lot of people are named after the town they grew up in. That is what happened to Diocletian, the founder of the town and Emperor or Rome 284-305AD. He retired form power and built this palace at the water harbor inlet of a larger town of the time, Salona(Solin) which was a thriving metropolis of 20,000 people that was inland about 6 miles in the hills.
Prior to Diocletian settling here, the town was called Spalatum, a Greek town that traded with Salona and Illyrians in the region from 6th century BC.
By the completion of Diocletian new palace, it was 1 million square feet with all the shops, homes and amenities of a town inside the fortress walls. It did take a long time (150 years) for the town to grow to 10,000 people living inside the walls for protection and everyday life. Today is has 250,000 residents in the area, and is second largest in Croatia.

Urban Sprawling town in Wonderful Setting

Split is a thriving sprawling city with a lot of trade for goods transport on water and inland. The name of Spalatum from the Greek era dating back to 600BC, had a meaning and was named for a shurb in the area. After language changes, it was Spalatro in Delmatea language and the Slavs called it Split over time.
The city has a culture tied to its roots from the Medieval period mixed with the modern "hip" culture of the younger generation. They are strong in belief, soccer/football, and beautiful women in high heels and tight jeans-really. I was wearing a WestHam baseball cap for Westhamptom Houligans, and got a lot of respect form the locals. I did not know what it meant until so many people took note. The cap was a gift from my daughter & SIL who visited Oxford last year for schooling.

Remnanats of the palace surrounds the old town

There are still 15 original homes dating back to the 3rd century (which ones?), and most of the rest are from the 13th-14th century; still very old. Inside the palace walls there is no new home building, and that is good. The palace and the inside was nearly deserted for many years after the fall of the Roman empire, and came back as a town with control by the Byzantine Empire around 700AD. Then came the Venetians in 10th century to assert control of commerce and the economy of trade. By this time, Croats/Slavs were an established race in the area, and remained quasi-independent until around 1300. Venetians had control over the area from 1400-1800 range, and then came Austria, which then evolved into a Yugoslavic consortium of ethnic cultures under one rule. That changed in early 1990's, and in time Croatia became independent again.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:A lot of historical monuments to see-scenery wonderful
  • Cons:Too many people congregating around the center
  • In a nutshell:It is a nice visit and go to Marjan park for a great view
  • Last visit to Split: May 2010
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (58)

Comments (21)

  • roamer61's Profile Photo
    Sep 25, 2014 at 10:10 AM

    A place I'd like to visit. Good info and tips. Unfortunately, chances of me actually going there are poor to non-existent.

    • roamer61's Profile Photo
      Sep 30, 2014 at 12:15 PM

      I am very big into the history of Ancient Rome. So if the opportunity ever was to present itself, I will go.

    • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
      Sep 30, 2014 at 12:36 PM

      The whole core of city center is Diocletian Palace and church, and perimeter surrounded by walls. It is the best preserved Roman structure I have found outside of Rome.

  • xaver's Profile Photo
    Nov 7, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    You did find a great acomodation deal. I am glad to see in Split restaurants offer also Croatian specialites, in Dubrovnik menu restaurants' menu looked like photocopies.

    • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
      Nov 7, 2013 at 3:13 PM

      The trip to Croatia was great and thanks for the comment. It still was an Italian that developed this treasure of a city

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Jun 16, 2013 at 12:11 PM

    Thanks for looking at Split. It was truly a unique place with steep history, all still intact for a lot of the area. It was one favorites on the trip

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
    Jun 16, 2013 at 6:17 AM

    Great page

  • 807Wheaton's Profile Photo
    Feb 13, 2012 at 6:56 PM

    Every tip was good - you were sure brave to drive there. WOW! Ferral cats seem to be common in the Mediterranean area.......they're everywhere.

  • nicolaitan's Profile Photo
    Jan 9, 2011 at 5:27 AM

    Very enjoyable reading, nice photographs, a place i would love to visit. impressed by ivan mestrovic and his 'interesting' anatomic studies. and yes, from a distance the riva looks very classy. n.

  • Durfun's Profile Photo
    Nov 18, 2010 at 1:27 AM

    Nice pics, especially of Riva & Maestrovic's panels of Christ ; good restaurants you visited!

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Oct 27, 2010 at 12:56 PM

    Bruce, fabulous page with brilliant photos of Split. We only spent two nights in this gorgeous city and liked it a lot. We also had a drink in the Vidilica cafe.

  • omidamini's Profile Photo
    Oct 19, 2010 at 10:58 AM

    Your Page is vert helpful and nice with wonderful pictures, Thanks alot.

  • wise23girl's Profile Photo
    Oct 14, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    These heels have swept the world and I never liked them even as a young thing...some do not even have a heel..just a platform thing! Marg


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