The Ancient Greeks invaded the Eastern Dalmatian shore in the 4th century BC after two centuries of careful planning. Dionysius, from Syracuse, made his first settlement on Issa – Vis island where he stationed his military in its deep hidden bay-like harbor. From there he established the cities of Pharos – Hvar Island, Lombardo (on Korcula), Tragurian – Trogir and Epetian, now known as Stobreč. When you see how lovely these areas are – natural water source, protective mountain range, harbor and cove, you can appreciate their good planning.
Croatia’s second largest city, Split is a wonderful place to be!
Split – believe it or not – is the youngest town in this area, built by the Roman imperator Diocletian, who was of Illiric heritage but became a Roman in every sense of the word in order to climb the political ladder to the top.
Its climate, culture, transportation hub via rail, air, auto, ferry and auto bus make it tough to beat. Night life or romantic hot Mediterranean summer nights the Split has it all!
If you are coming to Split via Zagreb, here are the facts you need to know…
Home to the annual ULTRA EUROPE MUSIC FESTIVAL, it greets half a million visitors every year.
Click here to read up about how the city began (an ancient Palace which became a city).
The overall Split area contains:
Since ancient times, the peninsulas of Sveti Petar and Osejava cove were natural shelters for ships caught in Adriatic storms. Both feature impressive forest parks rich in animal and plant life offering a good opportunity for long walks and recreational runs. It is not a small wonder that a settlement was founded on the local shore which provided rest and supplies to the crews of merchant ships, military frigates, and occasionally a pirate who promised not to misbehave on the docks. Malakoloski Muzej is a unique museum devoted solely to the exibition of various clams and shells.
It is not a small wonder that a settlement was founded on the local shore which provided rest and supplies to the crews of merchant ships, military frigates, and occasionally a pirate who promised not to misbehave on the docks.
Sveti Petar is also known for a unique attraction – the fence of love, on which pairs attach padlocks as a proof of their commitment to each other. The settlement became bigger as commerce increased, and it was named Makarska. Today, many centuries after its founding, it is one of the most beautiful coastal towns of Croatia, known for its stone-paved streets and many palm trees decorating its main promenade. Because of its natural beauty and large tourist capacities, the entire region around the town was named the Makarska Riviera.
Home of ancient ruins, a wonderful day trip. Roman imperator Diocletian, who was of Illiric heritage but became a Roman in every sense of the word in order to climb the political ladder to the top was born and raised in the area of Salona, it is an ancient ruin that also deserves to be named a UNESCO heritage site with its complex cultural heritage of 60,000 citizens dating back to the 1st century BC – a mighty city of antiquity and home to the early Christian and pagan citizens of its age. Two saints were made here – Saint Dujam / sveti Duje, most likely the first Christian bishop executed in 304 AD and highly celebrated by the residents of Split. His colleague, Saint Anastasia (male) / Sveti Anastasius – was drowned in the Jadro River with a millstone tied around his neck. For those who want to stay close, book an apartment in SOLIN – the modern town’s new name!.
While visiting, be sure to catch a short film virtually recreating the town’s former magnificence. It can be seen at Manastir on the old city grounds.
Greek architects built the city on an island – peninsula for natural protection from invaders. There are many legends, many of them true, included the foiled attempts at invasion by Ghenghis Khan in the 13th century. A UNESCO heritage site, it has been called “Little Dubrovnik” and is known for its wealth and influence during the early Renaissance. The Balkan Peninsula’s first drugstore apothecary was founded here in 1271 AD. A bustling harbor and Venetian influence can still be felt, along with traces of its French Regime during the early 19th century.
Between Trogir and Split, you will see remnants of the Diocletian’s aqueduct system, bringing water from the mountains outside to the city of Split (formerly known as ASPALATOS). Roman concrete notwithstanding, it was renovated in the late 19th century and is still in use today.
KAŠTELA (the seven pearls of Dalmatia consisting of settlements between Split and Trogir)
Founded by the wealthy nobles living in Split and Trogir, these fortresses or castles were established as squatters rights to keep the ravenous Turks off the territory. Kastela Gomila (“pile of rocks”) was successfully built in piecemeal by nuns, mothers and children while the men were off at war. Kambi is named after the Kambelovac family. Each Kastle has a tower and a church near the sea but it considered a single municipality.
Known for its wonderful, fertile soil, it is the fruit basket of Dalmatia offering a wide variety of mediterranean products – from carob and olives to all kinds of herbs, citrus, tomatoes and grapes, figs and dates, pomegranes and persimmons. Most famous of all is its sweet red cherry, which is harvested in June.
As well one of the shooting locations of famous series Game of Thrones due to its authentic middle aged architecture and rugged beauty. From its origin as a small stronghold built by the ancient Illyrian tribe Dalmatae, becoming a royal castle that was the seat of many Croatian kings, to its final development as a large fortress during the Ottoman wars in Europe, Klis Fortress has guarded the frontier, being lost and re-conquered several times throughout its more-than-two-thousand-year-long history. Magnificent in its structure, it has many legends as well. Peter Kruzić was the last Croatian to live there until 1537 when the Ottomans finally took control of this strategic point guarding the corridor to the inland from the Sea. KLIS is an ancient Greek word meaning KEY. Who ever controls this fortress holds the key to Dalmatia, and for 111 years the Ottomans were stationed here overlooking Split… much to the distress of its citizens – until they were finally expelled. Klis is remembered in a Croatian proverb based on the resistance of Klis and the strength of its people: It is difficult for Klis because it is on the rock and it is difficult for the rock because Klis is on it.
Breathtakingly beautiful, it is serene and bustling, along the Croatian coastal highway #8 (Jadranska Magistral) which will take you all the way south to the cliffs of OMIŠ (home of Croatian pirates and river rafting adventures) and onward to Makarska and eventually Dubrovnik.
The (Southern) Dalmatian Islands
Each island has its own flavor – (to name a few…):
LASTOVO – Lastovo is a beautiful island located in the south of Croatia, in southern Dalmatia. It attracts a great number of tourists with its natural beauty and crystal clear sea. Town Lastovo is an old medieval town with a long and interesting history, shaped like an amphitheatre, surrounded by mountains. The island is full of beautiful bays with popular tourist destinations.
The most famous are Zaklopatica and Pasadur on the north coast, Skrivena luka (Hidden Harbour) and Ubli on the south coast and Lučica, at the foot of town Lastovo. A 3 hour boat ride is also lush with natural habitation and intense serenity.
Hidden Harbour Zaklopatica bay
BRAČ – Split’s closest island is also the largest with a bustling olive oil trade, natural soap factory, and largest population of all the islands. Daily boats run back and forth several times a day
View from Mount Vidova on Brac, highest point in Dalmatia and comemorative spot of British soldiers’ airlift victory saving Winston Churchill’s son… many Brits return to visit here every year. It is also a great place for an outdoor lamb feast with Croatian brandy (rakija) and the local mixed cow / goat cheeses and other delicacies….
HVAR – the Las Vegas of Dalmatia, it is both known for its 200 plus days of sun and the home to great night life and hotels. During the summer, it is not unusual to see famous people visiting, and quite happily, since Croats are not overly impressed by show business celebrities.
ŠOLTA – another peaceful paradise, just a stone’s throw away from Split itself. The Diocletian had a weekend home here.
VIS – a former military base with hidden bunkers and lookout points – is largely untouched, full of natural beauty.
Vis harbor. The tiny peninsula where the church is located was once a Greek arena for theatrical events. Sports events (running, discus, etc) were held along the long strip between the peninsula and the ferry. There were Roman baths in this area and ancient Greek graves.
On the opposite side of Vis Island, in the town of Komiza you will feel the joy of Mediterranean life in this famous fisherman’s town… nearby Island Bisevo holds the mystical “Blue Cave” or Modra Spilja – ideal to be seen at midday, when the sun’s rays give it its silvery blueish hues.
These places all a part of the Split – Dalmatian county (or Županija (jhu-panniya) as its said in Croatian.
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