Updated: Oct 3, 2020
An interesting thing about driving from Dubrovnik, Croatia, to Split Croatia, is you have to go through border control. After 2 nights in Dubrovnik, we took a three hour drive where our route crossed through Bosnia and Herzegovina. It appears to be a lovely country but we were only in it for about 10 minutes. After crossing the next border, we stayed in Split for two nights stopping along the way to stretch our legs, have a snack, and take in the scenery.
Our spartan accommodations were not available when we arrived, so we went for lunch at a local pizzeria that was quite good. Unfortunately, we were not a walkable distance to town, but rather a 15 minute drive to the town center. While Split is a remarkably beautiful area, the old town is not as extensive as Dubrovnik's. On the other hand, finding parking, even free parking, is much easier.
A short walk from the town’s port we came upon a plaza. The visitors to this city tend to be a tad more trendy in terms of transportation, entertainment and style.
As an example, I caught a woman sporting a window shutter coordinated dress as she looked towards the harbor in Republic Square (or Prokurative), The beautiful buildings behind her are constructed in the Neo-Renaissance architectural style.
Some of you may be old enough to remember that, back in the day, drug stores served ice-cream. As we continued to explore the old town of Split we came upon an ice-cream parlor with the green cross that is typical of European pharmacies. In 2018 Don Dino opened this ice-cream and sweet shop in the former location of one of those locations. While you might find what you need to feel better, it no longer sells pharmaceuticals. Situated on Tončićeva , it is 2-3 minutes from the harbor and 2-3 minutes from Diocletian's palace.
The next thing to catch my eye was this building with one of the dragons from Game of Thrones in the window.
I had to wait for a while on Bosanska Street to get this shot of the Game of Thrones museum. Every time I saw what I wanted, someone walked in front of the camera. Some tourists, seeing my plight, stopped the traffic for a few minutes so that I could capture the image above. #GameofThrones
So many plazas, so little time...
Plaza Marchi located in the UNESCO Heritage Mihovil Square, once an orphanage, is now a deluxe hotel. That’s a far cry from when the residents had to do the laundry and work the fields for their meals.
This photograph was taken on Ulica Ispod, Ulica Ure, the oldest part and the heart of Split. Like much of the old city of Split, this section was built using the walls of Diocletian’s palace. You can imagine the people returning in the evening from a hunt or battle and grabbing a Gelato.
The Old City of Split clearly put a lot of thought into mood lighting for evening strollers. A small Peristyle washed in a rosy hue and the ever changing colors of the main fountain are but two of many examples.
Built by the emperor Diocletian at the beginning of the 4th century, no expense was spared. Local limestone, high quality marble, granite and sphinxes imported from Egypt were all used to construct this monumental world heritage site.The marble capitals came from workshops in Proconnesos, Greece (now Marmara Island , Turkey). The palace is one of the most intact of the Roman ruins along the Adriatic coast. At night, the courtyard and surrounding buildings are illuminated with magenta and yellow lights giving a surrealistic glow to the environs. For Game of Thrones fans it was one of the scenes for Meereen, a slave city state conquered by Daenerys Targaryen.
The bell tower pictured to the left was an 12th century add-on to what is now Saint Dominus Roman Catholic Church. This structure was originally built early in the 4th century as a mausoleum for the Roman emperor Diocletian. Ironically, during his reign, Diocletian persecuted and had Bishop Dominus, along with 6 other Christians beheaded in 304 AD. In the 7th century, the church was consecrated on the grounds where the remains of both the persecutor and patron Saint Dominus reside. This is the oldest existing structure used as a Roman Catholic Church. Through the ages, churches, towers and apartments have been added to Diocletian’s palace though much of the original architecture was lost during restoration in the early 20th century.
If you go to Maximus Studios, you can dress up as a Roman Soldier and be photographed in the courtyard, or not.
This fountain, located between the harbor and Republic Square,changes color frequently, sometimes blue, sometimes violet, sometimes red, sometimes white...
Street art by the entrance to the Marjan Tunnel. Street murals are a common sight throughout Croatia. Some capture scenes, as above, while others depict the exploits of the country’s heroes.
This boat, one of the few non-mega yachts that moor here, is sailing towards Riva Harbor, Split, Croatia.
This 3500 year old granite sphinx which guards the Peristyle, was brought from Egypt for Emperor Diocletian in the 4th century.
Just to remind you that this was once an ancient Roman city
A wall painting of Emperor Diocletian adorns this eatery.
Approaching the building that houses the Maximus Studios and Caffe Bar Buža, I heard from behind me,”why are you going there, there is nothing to see”. I replied,” you need to see what I see” as I looked up to be greeted with pink, sea green and yellow umbrellas suspended from the sky.
The Split National Theater, pictured above, is a splendid example of neo-Baroque architecture, with its curved balconies and sculpted facade This prominent structure in the Gaja Bulat Square was built in 1893, and was once the second largest theater in the Balkans and designed by Fellner & Helmer architectural firm.
As you travel around Croatia, one of the things you will notice is a proliferation of large murals dedicated to the memory of deceased public figures. One such dedication was to the memory of Bernard "Bajdo" Vukas, a Croatian left winger/forward football (soccer) player who is mostly remembered for his fancy footwork slicing through the opposition's defense.
The Narodni Trg Pjaca (People’s Square), located to the west of Diocletian’s Palace
is lined with Renaissance, Venetian and Gothic Architectural style building, many dating back to the 15th century.
These city lounge chairs allowed me a bit of relaxation and a chance to soak up a few rays on the Split Riva promenade.
This painting of Zvonko Busic is another example of Croatian street art, or mural honoring the legacy of a national icon.
Zvonko Busic - who hijacked a plane, planted explosives, and served 32 years in an American prison was considered as a terrorist by some and a freedom fighter by others.
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