The inhabitants of Split will proudly say that Split is the most beautiful town in the world. It is a city tailor-made for man, a city where the present is intertwined with the past, a city of rich and glorious history.
Although the foundation story of Split is associated with the construction of the Diocletian’s Palace (built between the years 295 and 305, during the 4th century), the archaeological finds excavated after the year 2000 (sacral facilities, amphitheatre, port on the north side of Marjan hill), prove that this area was inhabited in the Ancient Times, long before Diocletian. It is possible that one of the Greek colonies was located here and because of the favourable geographical location probably an Illyrian settlement too.
Diocletian, the Roman emperor from year 284 to 305, came from a modest family and was originally called Diokles. He is known as the great reformer of the Roman Empire because he introduced a system called tetrarchy, which is the simultaneous reign of the four rulers. He was a persecutor of Christians who considered himself a God. The Diocletian’s Palace, the city centre of today’s Split town, was built for Diocletian to spend his retirement days at. (Diocletian was the only Roman emperor to step down without coercion).
Diocletian’s Palace is the largest and best-preserved Palace in the world dating back to Late Antiquity period. The eastern and western walls of the Palace are each 216 m long, with the one on the South of 181 m, and the North wall of 175 m. The northern part of the Palace was reserved for the servants and the army while the emperor’s quarters were in the South of the Palace overlooking the sea. The Romans built the aquaeduct to supply the Palace with water from the river Jadro. The parts of this antique water supply are still in use today. According to the most recent theories, the Diocletian’s Palace was not solely a vacation home for the emperor Diocletian, but an actual wool processing factory too. In the year 480 the last rightful emperor of the Western Roman Empire, Julius Nepos, was poisoned during his stay at the Palace. (The often-named Emperor who ruled during that period Romulus Augustulus ruled only the Western Roman Empire – today’s Italy.) One street in Split was named by him.
Split is the town where you can walk the same streets the emperor Diocletian walked during his time. He chose Split to enjoy the mild Mediterranean climate, pine and sea scents surrounded by the clear blue skies and seas under the glowing sun for his retirement days.
The prints of time on the Palace walls are what gives it the dramatic beauty and the stamp of timelessness. Even the producers of the world-known HBO-series Game of Thrones recognized the beauty of the Palace and used it as a filming location for the series. The Palace has been on the UNESCO heritage list since 1979.
Split is the town of straightforward and bold people. The city of laughter and the city of sports.
This is the city where people enjoy good food, a good song, long coffee breaks and walks along the sea.