The Imperial Palace built by Emperor Diocletian is the historical core of Split, from which the modern city has developed during the past 1500 years. The Palace was built at the village of Aspalathos, situated 3 miles from the provincial capital Salona. Construction started around 295 AD, and lasted ten years. Research has shown that some parts were not finished until 305 AD, the year in which the Emperor moved in. The design of the Palace is a fusion of a villa maritima and a Roman military camp (castrum), providing both luxury and security and monumentality. The Palace still keeps its secrets, so many questions regarding the original function and purpose of some of its parts are still unresolved. The heart of the Palace is a castrum, a rectangular enclosure (approximately 215 x 180 metres) fortified with walls and towers. Two axes, the cardo and the decumanus, divide the interior of the Palace, modelled on Roman castra and towns. The area to the of the decumanus was the imperial apartment with government and religious buildings, while the area to the north, divided by the cardo into two blocks, was used for housing of the Imperial guard, servants, storage and utilities.

Large quantities of African Red Slip ware found in the Palace shows that life continued intensively even after the death of Diocletian, although the function and legal status of the Palace during the 4th and 5th centuries are not known. It can be assumed that the Palace continued to be a part of the imperial estates, and continued to be used by the ruling families. Thie last western Emperor, Julius Nepos, was killed in his villa outside Salona on 9 May 480, implying that the villa in question was the Palace. The Byzantine emperor and writer Constantine Porphyrogenitus (905-959) states: ”The town of Split, which means ‘little palace’ was founded by the Emperor Diocletian; there he had his own dwelling-place within which he built a court and a palace, most part of which has been destroyed…”. Although the Byzantine period of Split is little known, it is evident that the Palace itself was destroyed and transformed in a town as it is today.

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Peristyle (Peristil)

The Peristyle is the central square of the Palace, built on the crossing of cardo and decumanus. It functioned as the formal entrance to the imperial apartments, but it also had a crucial role in official audiences with the retired Emperor. The Emperor would appear under the architrave of the central part of Protyron (porch), while his subjects would approach him after entering the Palace through the monumental northern gate and along the cardo that led to this majestic square. The square, with its elongated rectangular shape, is surrounded by a colonnade, typical for the eastern part of the Empire. The red granite columns are an unequivocal symbol of imperial power. Sphinxes made of black granite ornamented the Peristyle, and one still retains its original position in the SE corner of the square. The Peristyle was not just a space for imperial ceremony, but it was also had a religious role and was surrounded by temples of the imperial cult.

In a way, this spiritus loci has continued to present day. During the transition from antiquity to the middle ages, the former imperial mausoleum became a church, which after the fall of Salona became the cathedral of the Dalmatian archdiocese. The Peristyle itself became the Square of Saint Domnio, and, as such, it was the centre of the civic and religious life of the town. With the construction of a new city square west of the Palace (Pjaca) in the 13th/14th century, the Peristyle became a religious centre. In the Renaissance period, four smaller churches were built. Although it lost its role as the centre of civic life, the Peristyle kept its prestige, so the noble families of Split built their palaces within its western arcade. As important Renaissance and Gothic monuments, they became an integral part of the space, giving it additional value.

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The imperial mausoleum was built to the east of the peristyle. It was strategically positioned so that the people arriving for an audience would notice its splendour, and it was probably intended to become the centre of worship of Diocletian after his death. Because it was a sacrilege for burials to take place within the city walls, let alone in a sacred building, some have questioned whether this building actually was a mausoleum. It is possible, however, that by the time of Diocletian, ideas had changed and that the entire palace was intended to serve as a place of worship after the emperor’s death.

The Octagon of the mausoleum has an aisle (peripter) formed of 24 columns. In its interior, it has a circular form with four semicircular and four rectangular niches. In the middle stood Diocletian’s sarcophagus, later destroyed. Above the niches rise eight red granite Corinthian pillars, and above them another eight smaller ones. The cornice above holds a relief of Erotes hunting, as well as masks and human heads. Two medallions are of special interest because portraits of Emperor Diocletian and his wife Prisca have been recognised in them.

In the later Roman or Byzantine periods, the mausoleum became a church. In the 7th century, it became a cathedral where altars, with relics of St Domnius and St Anastasius, martyrs executed in nearby Salona under Diocletian’s rule. The Cathedral of Split is the oldest building still serving as the seat of a bishop, compared with all other European cathedrals. The cathedral is today primarily a place of religious observance, with a millennium-long continuity, which is best reflected on the procession on St Domnius’s day – the day of Split’s patron saint. The gates of the Cathedral, made by local master Andrija Buvina, are renowned as the best example of Romanesque sculpture in Croatia. The two doorposts have fourteen tablets, each with scenes from the Gospels, from Gabriel’s Annunciation to the Resurrection of Christ. The altar’s ciborium was erected by Bonino da Milano in 1427 in the late Gothic style, while the decoration of frescoes of the four evangelists were painted by the late Gothic painter Dujam Vušković from Split in 1429. On the left side is the altar of the second patron of Split, the martyr Anastasius of Aquileia, who was executed in Salona. It was made in 1448 by the most celebrated Croatian architect and sculptor of his time, Juraj of Dalmatia. Especially impressive is the central relief on the sarcophagus depicting the Flagellation of Christ, where Christ is shown twisted by the torment and pain. The main altar was built between 1685 and 1689. The altar in the northern niche, with (since 1770) St Domnius’s remains from Bonino’s altar, was built by the Venetian sculptor Morlaiter in 1767. The Baroque choir of the Cathedral has wooden bench-rests which initially stood in front of the main altar, and were carved in the first half of the 13th century.

The inhabitants of Split consider the bell tower of the Cathedral (57m) one of the most important symbols of their city. The first bell tower, from the 13th century, was one of the most original Dalmatian medieval buildings, but it was demolished and replaced with a new one at the turn of the 20th century in a historical style imitating the Romanesque period.  Today it provides one of the best views of the historical centre of Split.

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The Temple of Jupiter

The Scottish architect Robert Adam considered this temple to be one of the most beautiful European monuments. Rectangular in its floor plan, the temple was dedivcated to the cult of Jupiter. It sits on an elevated podium, with a six-column porch in front of it. One of several entirely or partly preserved granite sphinxes that Diocletian brought from Egypt is on the podium. Initially, west to the Peristyle was a small enclosed park with three temples. At the far end of the park was the Temple of Jupiter, while on each side of the entrance were two smaller circular temples. The remains of one, presumed to be a temple of Venus, are still visible on the pavement of the Luxor Café and Restaurant situated in the Baroque palace on the western side of the square.

During the medieval period, one of the buildings served as the seat of the government of the free commune. The Temple of Jupiter became a baptistery, possibly already in the Late Roman period, to which a crypt was added under the building, and dedicated to St Thomas. In the temple it is possible to see the Baptismal basin from the 13th century that was made from the pluteus of the altar, which was originally situated in the cathedral. One of the scenes shows the figure of a ruler, probably an image of a Croatian king Petar Krešimir IV (or Zvonimir). If so, it would be the earliest representation of a European king in medieval stone sculpture. The Baptistery today is dominated by a Secession sculpture of St John the Baptist, the work of Ivan Meštrović.

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The Imperial Apartments

Two axes dominated the imperial apartments in Split, and the longitudinal axis connects the Peristyle from its grand porch (Protyron), the Vestibule, the central hall and the south façade. It was also the so-called ceremonial axis along which the emperor’s guard escorted visitors and took them to the main reception room at the west end of Diocletian’s apartments. The transversal axis defined the apartments with a long walkway along the south façade (Portikat). The imperial residence consisted of several parts. The eastern part was dominated by the big dining complex, the western part by a large reception hall, while the SE part housed private chambers with baths. Some elements of the interior of the imperial residence are still visible today.


Remains of the imperial loggia were unearthed in the centre of the great porch (Protyron) in 1957, above the vaults of the stairwell leading to the basement of the Vestibule. The loggia was recognised as a tribunal by Danish architect E. Dyggve, as in other imperial residences elsewhere in the Empire.


The vestibule is the entrance hall into the imperial apartment. It is square on the outside and cruciform on the inside, and the interior walls at the upper level were articulated with four semi-circular niches. The mosaics in the interior were still visible in the 16th century, but are now entirely lost. The upper circular space of the Vestibule in Split has its analogies in Roman architecture starting from the Domus Flavia on the Palatine hill in Rome and the Piazza d’Oro in Hadrian’s villa in Tivoli to late antique rotundas such as the Tempio della Tosse in Tivoli, the temple of Romulus in the Roman Forum or circular structures in the villa of Maxentius.


Earlier investigators of Diocletian’s Palace gave the name Tablinum to the central hall that connected the Vestibule and the southern gallery, because they thought that this was the main reception hall in the Palace. This interpretation was abandoned in the light of new research, primarily because this hall was a transitory space through which visitors were to approach to the western part of the complex, where the actual reception hall was situated. The “Tablinum” was longitudinal and covered with an open-timbered roof. The surviving south door frame with its bas-relief ornamentation, formed with characteristic motifs of braids, beads and meanders, is the only in situ remains of its interior.

Great Hall

The centre of the west end is a large three-aisled basilica hall, in the substructures of this part of the Palace. It has a semi-circular apse (exedra), which suggests that this hall was probably a throne room. Spiral stairways flanked the exedra with four flights of stairs (still mostly preserved), which communicated directly with the corresponding ground floor. The hall at the upper level does not exist anymore, but specialists assume that it was articulated with niches and covered with marble and mosaic. Unlike the three-aisled substructure, the upper hall was a single, aisleless space covered with an open-timbered gable roof.


The dining room was the central area of the eastern part of the apartment. The Imperial triclinium covered a large area, and it consisted of a central chamber rectangular on the outside and octagonal on the inside. In the walls were set four semi-circular niches. A dome and pyramidal roof covered the Triclinium. Its original structure survived only in the lower sections of its walls, which were partially restored 30 years ago in order to emphasise its authentic shape. During excavations, a mensa was found that belonged to one of the four triclinium chambers.

South façade gallery

A portico with a corresponding space at the lower level ran the entire length of the south façade of Diocletian’s Palace. The primary function of the gallery was to provide access to all the chambers in the apartments. At the same time, it could also be used for walks and its arcade openings offered a view of the bay and the Dalmatian islands. Most of the arcade openings, as well as the engaged columns between them, have survived. However, the colonnade was blocked up for reasons of defence in the Middle Ages or by newly built houses. Some of the openings have been restored and reopened. SE of the Vestibule is the medieval part of the city, with the oldest early Romanesque house dating from the tenth century. It is attached to the Vestibule, and today it is one of the most beautiful and most highly valued hotels in Split, appropriately named the Vestibule. On the other side of the square, in the former church of St. Andrew built in the seventh century (in the place where the imperial chambers once were), is the Ethnographic Museum. Unfortunately the imperial chambers have not been preserved, but the Substructures retain the original layout, making it easy to visualise where the dining room, kitchen, women’s quarters, spa were originally.

Walking along the remains of the Cryptoporticus, the path takes you to the western chambers dominated by a library, and next to the imperial chambers on the southwest part used to be the Diocletian’s spa, today the interior of the Hotel Slavija.

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The Substructures

The Diocletian Palace Substructures represent one of the best preserved ancient complexes of their kind in the world, and hence are in many ways responsible for the inclusion in 1979 of the historical centre of Split in the list of UNESCO’S World Heritage sites.

In Roman times, their function was to support the Emperor’s chambers on the floor above, but it is presumed that they were also the storage area for the Palace. Being structurally a faithful replica of the chambers above, they give us a sense of the original appearance of the Emperor’s chambers.

In the early Middle Ages a part of them was used as a residential area, and in one of the halls parts of an ancient oil and wine press (turnjačica) were found, and they remaining exhibited there to this day. With the later residential development of the Palace, the Substructures were turned into a waste pit for the households built above them. The cleaning of the Substructure’s halls was conceived and commenced in the mid 19th century by an architect Vicko Andrić, the first Split and Croatian conservationist, and they were excavated and reconstructed in the 60s of the last century. The eastern part was opened to the public relatively recently, in May 1995.

The modern entrance to the halls of the Substructures is through the Porta Aenea, from the Riva, or down the stairs from the Peristyle. Today the Substructures are full of life. They regularly host painting and sculpture exhibitions, theatre plays, fairs like the International Flower Fair, gastronomic and oenological festivals, and many other social and cultural events. The central hall, representing the main communication link between the Riva and the Peristyle, is a place to buy souvenirs, and the rest of the Substructures is open for sightseeing as one of the greatest attractions of Split, being frequently regarded, like the Peristyle, a synonym for Diocletian Palace.

Diocletian's palace


The Golden Gate

Today all four original gates of the Palace are still in use by its visitors and inhabitants. A local tradition dating from the Middle Ages has given new names to the gates: the Golden, the Silver, the Brass and the Bronze gates.

The original name of the main entrance on the northern wall was the Porta septentrionalis. The Emperor Diocletian would have walked through them as he entered the Palace on the 1st of June 305, as they were the formal and official entrance to the Palace. They were built in the shape of a rectangle, with double doors, as part of the military defences (a propugnaculum). Niches with sculptures of the four tetrarchs, Diocletian, Maximian, Galerius and Constantius Chlorus, filled the facade above the entrance, but today they remain empty. During the medieval and modern periods, housing covered the entire northern facade of the Palace, and most of these buildings were heavily damaged in the bombing at the end of the Second World War. They were then demolished, and most of the northern wall became visible once again. In a way, the tragedy of the World War restored this part of Palace to its place as one of the most important elements of the entire imperial complex. On the street above the Golden Gate a monumental statue of the Bishop Gregorius of Nin (Grgur Ninski), the work of Ivan Meštrović, was set up after the Second World War. The original location of the statue was in the Peristyle, but it has found its final place here, making it one of the favourite tourist spots today.

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The Silver Gate

The Porta Orientalis, or the eastern gate, bears the name of the Silver Gate. This gate was more modest in scale and decoration, and it was closed from the Middle Ages until 1952, when it was thoroughly reconstructed when the Baroque church of Dušica was destroyed. The remains of the octagonal towers of the gate are today visible on the pavement. The original part of the Decumanus behind the Silver gate is still visible with its original pavement made of lime slabs.

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The Iron Gate

The western gate of the Palace, or Porta Occidentalis, is known as the Iron Gate. This entrance to the Palace has remained open during the past 1700 years as it was the main connection between the Palace and medieval and Renaissance extension of Split. The lintel slab bears a symbol of a cross, which replaced the original relief of Victoria in the 5th century. In the 11th century, a small church of our Lady of the Belfry, was built above the door, originally dedicated to St Theodore, with early Romanesque bell tower. In the Middle Ages, the inside of the gate was used as a court house. In the Renaissance, just next to the gate, a clock tower was built with its peculiar design that shows 24 digits instead of the usual twelve, making it one of the characteristic monuments of old Split.

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The Brass Gate

The gate from which it was possible to enter the imperial apartments was called the Porta Meridionalis, but today it is known as the Brass Gate. It differs entirely from the other three entrances, both in size and function. Its function was as the direct exit from the imperial apartments to the paved waterfront that were constructed along the entire length of the southern facade. This pavement is now called the Riva, and is today the most popular open space in Split. In Roman times it was used as the harbour of the Palace. The Brass Gate by tradition earned the name ‘Secure’, as it was the fastest way to flee the Palace by the sea.

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Medieval and modern Split

The Franciscan Church and Monastery of St. Anthony

On the north side of the Split peninsula, in the Poljud cove of the Kaštelan bay, the Archbishop of Split, Paul, built a church of St. Mary of Poljud around the year 1020. Ever since the middle of the 11th century, the Church was cared for by the Benedictine monks of the Monastery of St. Stephen of Sustipan, and in the 15th century the Benedictine monks were allowed to build a Monastery next to the derelict church. In the 16th century a cloister was added with a square tower on the west side, as a part of the defence complex protecting the church and the monastery from Turkish attacks. In the 18th century a bell tower was added to the south side of the church. Among other treasures in this extraordinary complex is an altar polyptych, part of which is the oldest known depiction of Split. It was made by the Venetian master Girolama de Santa Crocea in 1549, and shows the city as it lay in the hands of its patron St. Domnius. Even more interesting is a rare depiction of the Islamic prophet Mohamed, whose image should not be shown according to the Koran, on a painting by a Baroque painter Mihovil Luposignoli, as one of the 39 theologians debating over the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary.

The Church and Monastery of St. Francis

The Church and the Monastery of St Francis, located on the Western part of the Riva, were built on the old early Christian site, by the grave and a small Church of St Felix, a martyr from the time of Diocletian. In the 13th century the Little Brothers of St Francis inhabited the Church. The most valuable works of art in the church are the Gothic Crucifix painting by Blaž Juraj of Trogir, from the beginning of the 15th century, and the sarcophagus depicting the Crossing over the Red Sea, dating from Roman times. Next to the Church is a Franciscan monastery with a 13th century cloister and an rich library with over 3000 books, some of which date from the 16th century. In the Church and the Monastery are tombs of prominent citizens of Split, like the father of Croatian literature, Marko Marulić, and one of the greatest Croatian politicians, Ante Trumbić, whose sarcophagus is the work of Ivan Meštrović.

The Church of Holy Trinity

The small yet beautiful church is situated in the Sutrojice part of Split, near the Poljud stadium and the Split shipyard. This early medieval (early Croatian) architectural monument was built between the 8th and 11th century, as a six-folaite type of building with semicircular arches around an irregular circle. The Church of the Holy Trinity has been added into the register of the most valuable Croatian Cultural Heritage, in the highest category. During its restoration in 1948 the remains of a building from an even earlier date were found stretching towards the east, and several fragments of an altar partition, an example of a pre Romanesque art with geometric braided ornaments and carved text, and is exhibited today in the Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments in Split.

The Church of St. Philip Neri

A clergyman of Split and a Bishop of Makarska, Nikola Bjanković, decided in 1672 to establish a congregation and build a church dedicated to St Philip Neri. On the site of the house was donated by the nobleman Frane Soppe Papalić, together with another two bought beside it, the building of the church began in 1679. This modest rectangular church was finished in the year 1680.

The Church of St. Martin

In the northern part of Diocletian’s Palace, within the wall over the Golden Gate, was the early Christian church of St Martin. The Church today is a replica of the early Christian Church of the 6th century, with a pre-Romanesque altar partition from the 11th century. This ids the smallest and one of the oldest churches in Split: it is only 1.64m wide and 10m long, and is considered the best preserved religious monument from the past. Its location was originally used as a passageway for the guards protecting the northern entrance to the Diocletian Palace.

Small Churches on the Marjan Hill

A series of small churches and chapels are as much a feature of the Marjan hill, on the west side of the Split peninsula, as its dense pine forest, countless trails and recreational facilities, or the medieval labyrinth of Varoš.. Built during the time when Marjan was a spiritual haven for the citizens of Split who expressed their faith by going on a pilgrimage to their holy hill, the churches, sometimes miniature, were one of the most important witnesses to the way life developed in Split. For those fond of taking nature walks, a tour of this spiritual area is a great opportunity for sightseeing Marjan, and enjoying the peace it offers to the citizens of Split and their guests.

St. Nicholas the Traveler

This church was built in 1219 by Rako, a citizen of Split, and his wife Elisabeth, and was donated to the abbey of St. Stephen of Sustipan. It was taken care of by the Benedictine monks, later hermits, and today the Marjan society, which, with the help of countless citizens of Split, repaired it in the year 1990. St. Nicholas can be found on the southeast slope of the Marjan hill, around two hundred metres above the Prva Vidilica (First Peak), from where a spectacular view spreads over the sea and the ships which St. Nicholas has protected since ancient times.

Our Lady of Good Council

In the former summer house of the Capogrosso-Kavanjin family, the great Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović set up, before the Second World War, an exhibition area for his works, and renovated it thoroughly. Among others, in the chapel of Our Lady of Good Council, built in 1513, he set up a series of woodcuts depicting the life and passion of Jesus Christ.

Our Lady of Seven Sorrows (Gospica)

Of several historic churches in the wider area of Kašjuni, the only church left preserved is Our Lady of Seven Sorrows, or Our Lady of Sorrows. All the churches of Marjan have a western facade, while Our Lady’s Chapel had been adapted to fit the Suspas gully – from the east. Historians date it to 1362, and emphasizeg the bell tower and the relief of the Madonna holding the dead body of Christ, a work of the great Juraj Dalmatinac. The citizens of Split regarded Marjan as a Calvary, and so it is now surprise that they the shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows there.

Our Lady of Bethlehem, Betlem

It is a  simple single-nave building built at the same time as the one of St. Jeronimus, from the time of Marko Marulić, sometime before 1500, when the presence of hermits became more frequent on Marjan. Inside, a beautiful stone altar is preserved: in its centre is Christ’s Birth, on the sides St. Jeronimus and St. Anthony the Hermit, and on the tympanum Christ’s Crucifixion. In the everyday life of Split this church is most famous for celebrating midnight mass on Christmas Eve.

St. Jeronimus on Marjan

Built in the second half of the 15th century, and dedicated to St. Jeronimus, or Jere, patron saint of Dalmatia. Andrija Alessi finished and signed the altar in 1480. In the immediate vicinity are the hermit refuges, walled in caves where hermit monks resided and protected the church.

St. Jure on the Marjan cape

On the Marjan cape, during Roman times, there was a temple of the goddess Diana, patroness of the hunt. Next to its site is the pre Romanesque church of St. Jure, a single-nave building with semicircular apse built in the eighth or ninth century. A fragment of a pluteus of the altar screen has been preserved, dating back to the 9th or 10th century.

St. Benedict on Marjan

This little church was originally mentioned in 1362, and its remains can be found today in the well-known recreational area of Bene, named after the church. After extensive archaeological research, the walls of the church were partially restored in 2004, up to the average height of half a metre, and with a stone pillar which was definitely part of the original church.

Our Lady of Spinut

This church has been originally mentioned in 1096, and the historians say that there was a Late Antiquity – early Christian era sanctuary here, as the traces and remains of the oldest building show signs of the early Christian architecture and reveal that the church was founded in the very early centuries of the faith. A legend could be heard among the people that angels make processional pilgrimages to this church every Saturday.

St. Lazarus – St. Magdalene of the Poor

The first mention of the church of St. Magdalene/St. Lazarus was found in a will dating back to 1412. The chronicle of an unknown citizen of Split, dating from 1782, states that, in that year, around 600 souls died in Split and its suburbs from hunger, and that they were buried under the Marjan hill, in Veli Varoš next to the church of St. Magdalene, and some of them in Bačvice (Katalinić hill). Although the altarpiece shows St. Lazurus and St. Magdalene, the worshppers celebrate only St. Magdalene.

St. Mikula on Stagnja

Coming down from Marjan into the city we come upon the church of St. Nicholas ad pedes montis – at the foot of the hill, in the midst of Veli Varoš, named by locals, since time immemorial, St. Mikula. The construction of the church is “described by the stone”. On the lintel above the facade a Latin inscription was set up, and translated it says: “With the help of Christ this temple was built by the famous Ivan and his wife Tiha, whom he married second after the first”. On the altar partition inside the church a second inscription can be translated as follows: “This church was built by Ivan with his second wife, but using the property of the first, overtaken by death, and with his sisters”. The church is the work of local craftsmen who, through the 12th century, merged the pre Romanesque and Romanesque style.

Our Lady of Soca

The church of Our Lady of Soca (Seoca), well known in Veli Varoš, was built in the 10th century. It had an area of only 45 square meters. The inhabitants of the surrounding streets are called Sočani by the citizens of Split. In the time of the Turkish invasions the villagers (seljaci) from the surrounding parts lived outside of the city walls, hence naming the settlement Seoce. A legend claimed that the bells of the church of Our Lady of Soca could be heard all the way to Rome.

Church of the Holy Cross in Veli Varoš

The old church of the Holy Cross was demolished in 1657, “to prevent the Turks from conquering it and turning it into one of their towers”. It was located around 150m below today’s church, the building of which commenced in 1680, and was finished five years later. An old Romanesque wooden cross was transferred from the old church, alongside with the statue of the Pieta and the three Capitals, and a Gothic chalice as a part of the liturgical utensils.

The Prokurative

Prokurative or as they are officially called, The Republic Square, resemble St. Marks Square in Venice. They are located west of the Riva and they were named after the arches found on the neo-Renaissance buildings surrounding the square on three sides. Most people to this day know it by that name. The square is only open on the south side, providing a beautiful view of the harbour and the Riva (waterfront). The building of the Prokurative was initiated by one of the most renowned mayors in the history of the city, Antonio Bajamonti in the mid 19th century. He wanted to show that Split supported Italian tradition. Hence the colonnade resembles Venice, and reliefs above the windows evoke ancient and Renaissance influences. Bajamonti also made a great theatre in the square, but it was destroyed by a fire.

The square has long been established as an excellent stage for cultural events, especially pop music festivals, and the local bars and restaurants make it a popular venue for the citizens of Split. The plateau on the south side has always been an integral part of Prokurative, with, ever since 1947, a neo-classical fountain, destroyed by the communist authorities, due to its alleged connection with Italian rule over Split and Dalmatia.

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The Pjaca

Pjaca (People’s Square, another square nobody in Split calls by its real name), is first mentioned in 13th century as St Lawrence’s Square, and it was the first inhabited part of Split outside the Diocletian Palace, leaning to its western wall. Already for centuries the Pjaca has been the central stage of city life. In the Gothic building of the Old Town Hall, today an exhibition centre, was the seat of the city’s authority, and in the beautiful and well-preserved palaces on the outskirts of the Pjaca lived the noble families: the Cambi, Pavlović, Nakić, Ciprianis, Karepić… Still there is one of the oldest book shops in the world, Morpurgo, and to this day it looks almost the same as it did in 1861. The Café Central, where the intellectuals of Split gathered, was the former hotel Troccoli, where tourism began in Split.

The city clock has been ticking for centuries on Pjaca, unique with its 24 instead of 12 digits, and in the surrounding cafés, restaurants and bars the citizens of Split can always find a place to rest, meet, be seen and see others, or go through the most important events of the city. Every building on Pjaca has its story, each is a witness of history and the spirit of the city. As it was yesterday, it is also today, when Pjaca is filled with numerous bars, restaurants and shops, and when it became one of the most important spots for tourists wishing to enjoy in whatever it is that their hosts, citizens of Split, are enjoying.

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Voćni trg (Fruit square)

This square, maybe the most beautiful one in the city, is more familiar to the citizens of Split under its unofficial rather than its official name of Trg Braće Radić (Square of the Radić brothers). Its “familiar” name comes from the fact that it was once home to the bustling and colourful market, where women from the surrounding villages came to sell their fruit. This small square, which thrives with city life in bars, restaurants and exclusive shops, and is a venue often used also by fairs, has several landmarks. The biggest is certainly the octagonal Venetian tower, the remains of the former fortress, built in the 15th century for the defence of, at the time, a small town. Opposite the tower is a magnificent Palace of the old family Milesi, from the 17th century. It has a spectacular Baroque facade, one of the best examples of the style in the whole of Dalmatia. Just in front of it stands the monument to the father of the Croatian literature, the citizen of Split, Marko Marulić, who was one of the most important philosophers and intellectuals of the 15th century. The creator of the monument, as well as of several others in the city, was Ivan Meštrović. This is, of course, not all, as every stone on the Fruit Square, just like on the other old city squares, bears witness to the history and tells the story of the times that passed, from the oldest of days, “represented” by the south-western tower of the Diocletian Palace on the very exit from the Fruit Square to the Riva. Consequently, just like Pjaca, the Fruit Square holds a special place in the hearts of the citizens of Split. It was also the central location for the filming of one of the most popular Croatian TV series, the saga of Split “Velo Misto”.

Split experience 15


The Fish Market

The Fish Market is, just like Pazar, one of the central points of city life of Split, but is also an interesting architectural monument, built over 120 years ago in Secession style. It is important to note that its meaning for the citizens of Split greatly transcends its merely “physical” dimension. All that the Adriatic sea can offer comes to its tables, from sprats, picarels, sardines, mackerels, to more expensive red-scorpion fish, dentex, red porgy, sea bass, lobsters, sea shells… The only thing that’s missing are flies, as it seems that they don’t care for the smell of sulphur coming from the neighbouring spa, one of the reasons why Diocletian, burdened by rheumatism, chose exactly this place to build his Palace. Just like on Pazar, the Fish Market, or Peškarija, as the locals call it, will make you feel the affiliation of Split and Dalmatia to the Mediterranean, its culture and civilization.

Peškarija became too small for Split long time ago, but it is too important a part of the city’s spirit for anyone to even think of giving it up. The visitors coming to the fish market for their “portion” of Split are also very aware of this fact.

The Pazar

The outdoor market – Pazar – is located right next to the east wall of Diocletian’s Palace, and around the church of St Dominic. It is one of the central places of life in Split, and recently it has also become a popular destination for tourists eager to share the local spirit. The outdoor market used to be on today’s Fruit Square, but due to the rapid development of the city there was a need for a bigger space, and today it remains a central part of the history of the city of Split. At the same time it is the place where you can also feel the spirit of Dalmatia and the Mediterranean, the colours, flavours and aromas of fresh fruits and vegetables, but also the sounds, the yelling and bargaining, all of which you will experience when you visit. Of course all that you can buy on the open market can also be bought in any supermarket, even cheaper, but nothing can replace the local atmosphere.

Split experience 16


The Riva

The Riva started to look the way it does today two centuries ago, when the French, in time of Napoleon, ruled these parts through Marshal Marmont, and today this promenade is the city’s “living room”, the most popular and most important public place in Split. Over the years it has been widened and reconstructed several times, but it has always enjoyed a most spectacular setting, at the south facade of Diocletian’s Palace, with the entrance into the Substructures, and later on with the buildings that were built west of the Palace, the Franciscan monastery with the church of St. Francis, the Bajamonti Dešković Palace and, last but not least, the Port Authorities building at the east end.

The Riva today is a pedestrian heaven, bursting with cafés and restaurants. It is an ideal place for having a morning or afternoon coffee, or for an evening out with friends over drinks. The Riva is the stage of the city life of Split, a venue for numerous cultural and entertainment events, like the exuberant Split carnival, as well as the place to meet Split’s suucessful sportsmen, such as Goran Ivanišević, the Hajduk football club players and the Jugoplastika basketball players, Olympic medal winners… The Riva is also a political forum, witnessing many political rallies over the decades. The Riva is always at its best at the time of Sudamja, a celebration dedicated to St. Domnius, the patron saint of Split.

The Riva started to look the way it does today two centuries ago, when the French, in time of Napoleon, ruled these parts through Marshal Marmont, and today this promenade is the city’s “living room”, the most popular and most important public place in Split. Over the years it has been widened and reconstructed several times, but it has always enjoyed a most spectacular setting, at the south facade of Diocletian’s Palace, with the entrance into the Substructures, and later on with the buildings that were built west of the Palace, the Franciscan monastery with the church of St. Francis, the Bajamonti Dešković Palace and, last but not least, the Port Authorities building at the east end.

The Riva today is a pedestrian heaven, bursting with cafés and restaurants. It is an ideal place for having a morning or afternoon coffee, or for an evening out with friends over drinks. The Riva is the stage of the city life of Split, a venue for numerous cultural and entertainment events, like the exuberant Split carnival, as well as the place to meet Split’s suucessful sportsmen, such as Goran Ivanišević, the Hajduk football club players and the Jugoplastika basketball players, Olympic medal winners… The Riva is also a political forum, witnessing many political rallies over the decades. The Riva is always at its best at the time of Sudamja, a celebration dedicated to St. Domnius, the patron saint of Split.

Split experience 17


The Matejuška port

For centuries Matejuška has been a port for small boats owned by the fishermen of Split, while the residents of Veli Varoš set sail from there out to sea to feed their families. Even today, there are dozens of boats tied up here, their nets drying, bait being prepared, and there is a monument dedicated to fishermen and bidding them farewell as they sail out to sea – a big fish hook.

Matejuška is also known for socializing among those who appreciate its aromas and sounds. You can always see them cheerfully gathered around a barbeque with the day’s catch on it, often also in the company of wine and song. Edo Šegvić, the chronicler of Matejuška, who was also responsible for the reconstruction project of the port, said that Matejuška has remained, despite the growth and development of the city, an oasis of preserved tradition and that it holds a special place in the hearts of the citizens of Split.

There are many stories about Matejuška. Especially moving is the story of Roko and Cicibela, a poor fisherman and the love of his life who lived in a fishing boat, and their indestructible feelings. Matejuška also used to be the home of the Gusar rowing club, which nursed many young rowers who would later return with medals from great competitions, and in the 50s and 60s it was a popular spot for dancing. Unfortunately, much of it was later demolished, but life has returned to Matejuška with its new reconstruction.

Today it is one of the most popular places for the youth of Split, and also for young tourists, eager to socialise at bars, sitting casually on the pavements of Matejuška, usually with a drink bought in a nearby supermarket. This is what makes this old port a place where the contact between locals and visitors takes place most easily, with mutual enjoyment. If someone is hungry, many informlal restaurants and taverns have opened around Matejuška, the most popular of them being the mythical Fife, attracting for years everyone who is eager to feel the spirit of the city they have chosen for their holidays.

Split experience 18


Marmont street

Although a conqueror, Napoleon’s Marshal Marmont was responsible for the urbanisation of Dalmatian cities. In return the citizens of Split named their most beautiful street after him. Marmont street is not only beautiful but also full of history. In 1922 a library and a reading room were built there for Francophiles, today’s Alliance Francaise. The first cinema of Split found its home there as well. The unique Fish Market adorns its centre (see above). It is also graced by the beautiful Secession buildings Duplančić and Tončić, while its northern end borders the Venetian bastion and the architecture of the Theatre and the Church of Our Lady of Good Health. Two of the most popular exhibition centres in the city are also in this street, Salon Galić and the Photo Gallery. A couple of passageways lead directly from it to the Prokurative. Numerous shops line Marmont street from the Riva to its top, and they have made the street into one of the most important shopping oases of the city centre. The top of the street is bursting with popular cafés and restaurants. The witty contemporary fountain, called Pirja, should not be missed! It still makes you wonder what was the message the artist was trying to convey?

Split experience 19 Split experience 20


The West coast

The West Coast is a kind of a seaside continuation of the Riva, a promenade stretching 623 meters in length. Paved entirely with white stone from Brač, hosting luxurious yachts tied to its coastline and with cafés and restaurants along its entire length, it represents the new popular meeting point for Split’s citizens and visitors.

The West Coast is not only a place where you can enjoy a coffee with a spectacular view of Split. You can also meet there those athletes from Split who have won an Olympic medal and as such promoted their city all around the world. Along the promenade, right by the sea, bronze plates are imbedded into the white stone with their names, the year of the Olympic Games, the city the Olympics were held in, the medal that was won and the image of the sport. They are lined up chronologically, starting with the first Olympic medal.

Split experience 21




Founded in 1820, the Archaeological Museum in Split is the oldest Museum in Croatia. It has a large collection of archaeological objects from prehistoric times, from the period of Greek colonization of the Adriatic and from the Roman, Early Christian and early medieval ages.

Most of the monuments come from the region of central Dalmatia, especially from Salona (Solin). There are important collections of stone epitaphs from Salona (about 6,000 of them), of Greek Hellenistic ceramics, of Roman glass, of clay lamps, of objects made out of bone and metal, and of gems. The Museum has a large collection of antique and medieval coins.

The Museum also has a large library with about 30,000 books on archaeology and history, as well as on ‘Dalmatica’ (books and journals dealing with themes from the history of Dalmatia).

Since 1878 the Museum has issued its own journal, the Bulletin for Dalmatian Archaeology and History. The beginning of archeology in Croatia is connected with the Archaeological Museum. Its long-time director Frane Bulic won it world renown, especially after the First lnternational Congress of Early Christian Archaeology which was held in Solin and Split in 1894.

The building housing the Museum was built according to the design of the Viennese architects A. Kirstein and F. Ohmann, from 1912 to 1914. The Museum’s galleries were renewed in 1970 on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of its foundation. Stone monuments (sculptures, epitaphs) are exibited in the portico of the lapidarium; the chronological succession of cultures from Prehistory to the Early Middle Ages is displayed in the main exhibition hall. There is a guide-book to the Museum, in both Croatian and English.

Opening hours (1 October – 31 May)
Monday – Friday: 9 am – 2 pm and 4 pm – 8 pm
Saturday: 9 am – 2 pm
Sunday: closed


Zrinjsko-Frankopanska 25
+385 (0)21 329 340; +385 (0)21 329 360

Split experience 22



The Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments was founded in Knin in 1893. After World War Two it was moved to Split, and since 1976 it has been in the present building. The Museum has a rich collection of early medieval stone monuments and collections of weapons, tools, jewellery, coins and objects of everyday usage. The epigraphic monuments from the IXth to the XIIth century are of special importance, where we find engraved the names of Croatian kings and other eminent dignitaries.

These represent an extraordinarily rich “archives in stone”, rare in Europe of the time. The preserved stone monuments are mostly parts of altar partitions and of other monuments from the pre-Romanesque churches in Croatia.

Numerous finds from graves in Croatia have produced abundant material for research of the economic, cultural and political life of the Croatian people during the Early Middle Ages. Swords, spears, knives, arrows, axes and spurs have been found in the graves of warriors, all of which, according to their types, belong to the Carolingian cultural circle. The most numerous grave finds are different froms of jewellery: earrings, rings, necklaces, diadems, buttons, and such-like. They belong to a long span of time from the VIIth to the XVth century and are, for the most part, products made in local workshops and by native craftsmen. Finds of gold Byzantine and other medieval coins are also well represented.

The area around the Museum has displays of the three basic types of pre-Romanesque churches and a number of standing tombstones from the XIVth and XVth centuries, giving an idea of a necropolis of that time.

Opening hours (15 September – 15 June)
Monday – Friday: 9 am – 4 pm
Saturday: 9 am – 2 pm
Sunday: closed

Šetalište Ivana Meštrovića 18
+385 (0)21 323 901

Split experience 23



The Split City Museum was founded in 1946, and is situated in the Gothic-Renaissance palace of the noble Papalić family, which was built during the second half of the 15th and the first half of the 16th century. The Papalić palace is one of the most beautiful historical monuments in Split, with an interesting courtyard, well, loggia and great hall on the first floor, with a wooden painted Gothic ceiling.

The Split City Museum gathers, preserves and presents the material and spiritual history of the city. The best pieces from the museum’s collections are presented in the permanent exhibiiton on three floors and tell the story of the development of Split and its most prominent figures from the antiquity to the 20th century.

Part of the Split City Museum is also the Emanuel Vidović Gallery, dedicated to Split’s most important artist of the first half of the 20th century.

Opening hours (April, May, June)
Every day: 8:30 am – 9 pm


Papalićeva 1
+385 (0)21 360 171 | +385 (0)21 360 172

Split experience 24



Housed in an imposing marble villa planned by the artist himself, the Ivan Meštrović Gallery does a fine job of telling the story of a sculptor who went from humble beginnings as a stonecutter’s apprentice to an exalted position in the international art scene. Meštrović’s influences ranged from modernism to folk art and ancient Greek sculpture, producing an instantly recognizable individual style. The displays include an impressive selection of his large-scale works, alongside religiously-inspired works and intimate portraits of family members.

Meštrović was also famous for the huge works he produced for public spaces, most notably the statue of Grgur Ninski in Split (see “Landmarks”). After teaching in Zagreb, Meštrović emigrated to the USA, becoming a professor first at Syracuse University and then at Notre Dame. He died in South Bend, Indiana, in 1962. A five-minute walk further west along the same road is the Meštrović’s Crikvine – Kaštilac, a 16th-century agricultural fortified property bought by Meštrović in 1939 and converted into a chapel. Inside lies what is arguably the artist’s most stunning creation, a cycle of 28 wooden reliefs based on the life of Christ. The result of 35 years’ work, the cycle incorporates motifs from ancient, medieval and modern art, combined to produce an emotionally powerful piece of spiritual sculpture.

Opening hours (1 October – 30 April)
Tuesday – Saturday:  9 am – 4 pm
Sunday:  10 am – 3 pm
Closed on Mondays and public holidays.


Šetalište Ivana Meštrovića 46
+385 (0)21 340 800; +385 (0)21 340 810

Split experience 25



Founded in 1997, the Croatian Maritime Museum combines a collection from the Split Maritime Museum and the Military Maritime Museum, as well as several associated maritime heritage collections. The museum is situated in the only completely preserved fortified building in Split – the 17th-century Gripe Fortress.

In the fortress’s courtyard you can observe the vessels ‘Bakar” and ‘Perina’. Perina is a traditional Dalmatian ‘gajeta’ (fishing boat). It is significant as one of the oldest surviving vessels on the east Adriatic coast (it dates back to 1857).

Within the walls of the fortress you will find many antique anchors and amphorae, model ships and images of Dubrovnik’s and Boka’s sailing boats, as well as other vessels from the region. Models of steamboats and boat artifacts can also be seen, as well as a valuable collection of ships’ engines.

In the gallery of Maritime Conquests, many rare and valuable artifacts represent WW I and WW II, the exhibit also includes a unique collection of torpedoes – the most important exhibition within the museum.

Opening Hours (1 October – 31 May)
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 9 am – 3 pm
Thursday: 9 am – 7 pm
Saturday: 9 am – 3 pm
Sunday: closed


Glagoljaša 18 (Tvrđava Gripe)
+385 (0)21 347 346
+385 (0)21 348 092

Split experience 27



Ethnographic Museum in Split is the first Ethnographic Museum in Croatia and was founded on 3rd of July 1910 by the architectural engineer Kamilo Tončić.

Since the very beginning of the Museum’s activity, its curators-ethnologists have focused on the exploration of the traditional and contemporary culture of Dalmatia, so the majority of items which are kept in Museum derive from this territory. But there are also many items from other parts of Croatia, as well as from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia, Kosovo and also from more distant European and overseas areas.

The permanent display presents the traditional culture of Dalmatia, which is very interesting because it is a place where two ethnographic cultural zones encounter: the Dinaric zone, characteristic of the Dalmatian hinterland, and the Adriatic zone, characteristic of the islands and coast. Traditional forms of dress and ornament adopted by the inhabitants of Dalmatia are on display, together with traditional weapons, handicrafts and the furniture of the area. In addition, visitors can experience the folk room, furnished with authentic furniture from the beginning of the last century. As well as the permanent display and temporary exhibitions, which change on the ground floor of the Museum, visitors can also enjoy the architecture of the exhibition space. The oldest architectural elements dating from the early 4th century are associated with Diocletian’s Palace. One of the oldest churches in Split, the church of St Andrew de Fenestris from the 7th century, is an integral part of the museum.

Visit the Ethnographic Museum Split and learn about the rich cultural history of Dalmatia.

Opening hours (October – May)
Monday – Friday: 10 am – 3 pm
Saturday: 10 am – 2 pm
Sunday: closed

Iza Vestibula 4
+385 (0)21 344 164; +385 (0)21 344 161

Split experience 28



The Museum of Fine Arts in Split was opened in 1931. The Museum’s valuable collection today holds over 5,200 works and spans a time period from the 14th century to the most recent. The collection reflects the specific tastes and cultural standards of the states and societies that succeeded one after the other in this region: from the Venetian Republic, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Kingdom and Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia to the Republic of Croatia. The display of some 400 artworks in the 2,200 m2 of exhibition space illustrates the different styles, themes and diversity of media of the collection in all its richness, allowing a travel through time and an understanding of the evolution of artistic creativity. As well as the main collection, you can also visit some of the exciting temporary exhibitions showing Croatian and international art.

Opening hours:
Tuesdays – Fridays: 10 am – 6 pm
Saturdays – Sundays: 10 am – 2 pm
Closed on Mondays and holidays.


Kralja Tomislava 15
+385 (0)21 350 110

Split experience 29



The GAME OF THRONES Museum Split will give fans around the world an opportunity to step inside Meeren and world of GOT. Inspired by and filled with the breathtaking images and enthralling artifacts from the hit HBO series GAME OF THRONES, this Museum will drop fans into the centre of the Seven Kingdoms for an close-up and personal look at authentic props, costumes,real-size figures, weapons,city dioramas, sets and more…


Bosanska 9
+385 (0)99 6940 312

Split experience 30



The treasury holds exceptionally valuable gold artefacts and a precious collection of sacred artworks.

On display are objects from the goldsmiths’ trade from the 13th to the 19th century, panel paintings from the 18th century, mass vestments from the 14th to the 19th centuries, and famous books from the period between the 7th and 11th centuries. They include– Croatia’s oldest Evangelist manuscript from the 8th century, the Supetar kartular from the 9th century, and the Historia Salonitana by Toma Arhiđakon from the 13th century.


Ulica Kraj Sveti Duje 5, 21000 Split
telephone +385 21 345 602 / 305 444




Vukovarska 207 (City Center one)
+385 (0)21 239 670




The Emanuel Vidović Gallery is dedicated to the person and art of Emanuel Vidović (Split, 1870-1953), one of the most eminent Croatian artists.  It is the place where the artist’s material and spiritual legacy is gathered, studied, protected and presented. The name of Emanuel Vidović is a synonym for superior art and one that has deeply marked one of the artistic poles of the 20th century Croatian art.

The Gallery is a part of Split City Museum and is located in the classicising house at the Silver Gate of Diocletian’s Palace. The Gallery shows remarkable works of art and its interesting exhibitions stresses the collision of the traditional and the modern in Vidovic’s work.

Opening hours (April)
Tuesday – Sunday: 8.30 am – 8 pm
Monday: closed

Poljana Kraljice Jelene bb, 21 000 Split
+385 (0)21 360155 /  +385 (0)21 342714

Split experience 31



The Salon Galić Gallery opened for exhibitions in 1924 with a group exhibition in which works were shown of two painters, Emanuel Vidović and Anđeo Uvodić. At that time, between the two world wars, the Salon Galić Gallery possessed a true cult status as the main Art Salon, where the intellectual elite would gather. They include the towering figures of Croatian culture: Writers such as: Dinko Šimunović, Tin Ujević, Vladimir Nazor; Sculptors: Dujam Penić, Marin Studin, Branko Dešković; Painters: Antun Zupa, Milan Tolić, Sylvia Bonacci Ciko, Anđeo Uvodić, Vjekoslav Parać and others. Among the artists who exhibited the same year were: Ljubo Babić, Vladimir Becić, Jozo Kljaković, Jerome Mise, Ivan Meštrović, Fran Kršinić, Zlatko Šulentić, Marin Studin and Vladimir Varlaj. Exhibition activity continued with exhibitions of Ignjat Job, Neven Šegvić, Marko Ostoja, Raul Goldoni, Svetozar Domic, Antun Maslo and many others.

Although the city of Split has long departed from being a small coastal town with a small art salon, the Salon Galic Gallery in Marmont Street remains a cultural centre for the city.

Marmontova 3
T: +385 21 348 177
E: hulu@hulu-split.hr

Split experience 32


Marmontova 5
+385 (0)21 347 597


Vukovarska 8a
+385 (0)91 2000 872


Marmontova 3
+385 (0)21 347 290
+385 (0)21 347 290


Kralja Tomislava 10
+385 (0)91 454 6666