We arrived in Split, Croatia via high-speed catamaran from Korčula. We had a whole day before our overnight ferry to Italy, so we decided to visit the Old Town. It was a beautiful warm day, and the place was bustling with visitors as we walked along the waterfront promenade to the entrance of old town centre.
Wow. What a sight. As we stepped into old town, it was like stepping back centuries. We were greeted by Roman pillars, arched doorways, and buildings that withstood time. We stood in the centre, in the Diocletian’s Palace, which is now a Unesco World Heritage site.
Originally this was a Greek settlement named Aspalathos, where Illyrian tribes lived in the 3rd century until the Romans came. The Romans conquered in 229 BC and named the province Dalmatia, a name still used today for this region — and the capital was Split. The Roman Emperor Diocletian, who ruled between 284 and 305 AD started constructive his retirement home here. It was a massive project, with huge walls surrounding it.
Cathedral of St Domnius was originally built as a mausoleum for Diocletian, who died in 313 AD and was buried here in 311 AD. A few centuries later the Christians destroyed his sarcophagus and converted his tomb to this church in the 5th century. Payback, since he was known for persecuting Christians. Today the cathedral stands tall and is considered one of the best kept buildings.
We marveled at the many beautifully preserved buildings.
After that Split was ruled by Venetians, Austrians, Hungarians and French before the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes took over in 1918.
Now part of Croatia, the city is an important port town, with connection to neighboring islands and Italy, where we were headed.
It was a warm day, and the ocean beckon us. So we looked for the nearest swimming area.
A swim in the Adriatic ocean in early May was amazing.
It was time to say goodbye to warm and sunny Croatia.
We boarded our overnight boat to Ancona, Italy and then it would be three train passages as we worked our way to Genoa, Italy to find the building where Marco Polo was imprisoned and wrote his famous book. The journey continues….
Watch our video on Split, Croatia (Burek and Beer) by clicking HERE