The history of Split, the second-largest city in Croatia, is unique and fascinating. Split is known for Diocletian’s Palace which is one of the world’s most impressive Roman monuments. Over 1700 years ago, the Roman emperor Diocletian decided to build a palace near the large Roman town of Salona where he spent the last years of his life. Over these 1700 years, the palace grew and became an impressive town, which today is full of tradition, history, and culture.
In 1979, Diocletian's Palace and the entire historical center of Split was named a UNESCO world heritage site not only because of the excellent preservation of the Palace itself, but also because the city and palace remains active and full of life.
The city of Split offers much more than magnificent architectural and historical monuments. It is a city which allows for the enjoyment of superb dining and wine, numerous cultural events such as film and theater festivals, exhibitions, world-class museums and concerts. Split has a diverse nightlife and hosts world-renown festivals such as Ultra Europe which is visited by more than 100,000 people from countries around the world. Split also has a prominent sporting tradition and is home to several athletes who have won Olympic medals and other acclamations.
Split is an exuberant city with many attractions to explore, including the infamous Palace of Diocletian, the buzzing city center and the promenade Riva. Other attractions in Split and the surrounding area include Marjan and the city beach of Bacvice, which is a well-known as an ideal location for the game of “Picigin”.
Visitors can explore the city of Split by foot, starting from the main promenade, which has a model of the re-constructed palace. Here, visitors will find an array of diverse cafes, restaurants and bars all with the backdrop of the old walls of the palace. Nearby, a path will then lead to city squares such as the Fruit or People's Square, and even further to the north wall of the palace which is the best preserved. Visitors can also visit the Statue of Gregory of Nin, which is the work of the great Croatian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic and the magnificent Golden Gate, which in Roman times lead to Salona, the largest Roman city on the east coast. Other main attractions include the Temple of Jupiter, the Vestibule, the Peristyle, the Cathedral of Saint Domnius (Patron Saint of Split). One day of exploration will not be enough to enjoy all of the historical and cultural attractions the city of Split has to offer. Along their journey, visitors should not forget to indulge in exquisite cuisine, which is offered throughout the city.
Split is the second largest city and the most powerful regional center on the east coast of Croatia. According to a census from 2011, Split had 178,192 inhabitants, which is almost 40 percent of the inhabitants of the Split-Dalmatia County (455,242 residents), or just over 4 percent of the total population of the Republic of Croatia (4,290,612 inhabitants).
Split is the metropolis of Dalmatia and is a major cultural and economic center with a prestigious University and developed sports center. The city of Split has a large professional, scientific and production potential and with the support of European funds will encourage the development of the region. Split is an attractive location for foreign investors who continue to show an interest in implementing new and planned city projects, with an estimated value in over hundreds of millions of euros. These new projects in the city of Split, along with the strong cultural and historical presence attracts tens of thousands of tourists each year.
Split is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination attracting visitors from around the world. According to ECM, a non-profit organization which works to strengthen the marketing strategies of over 120 major tourist cities in Europe, Split had the highest annual percentage growth with regard to the number of arrivals and overnight stays. Split has become a hit tourist destination, especially with younger generations and is a leader of tourism in the country compared with other destinations. In the first nine months of 2014, there was a record of 863,000 overnight stays, which is 33,000 more than in 2013. The average nightly stay for tourists in Split was 3.5 days and the majority were German citizens, followed by the British, French and Italians, and then citizens from the USA and Australia. With nearly one million overnight stays annually, Split has become a distinguished tourism destination on the European and world tourism stage. With the completion of new hotels and planned construction of additional hotels, Split will strengthen its position and encourage conference, sports, recreational and cultural tourism. With continued infrastructural growth, within 10 years, the number of overnights in Split is expected to reach over 2 million. The city of Split has received varying domestic and international awards and recognition for the advancement and continued development of infrastructure, tourism and economic growth.
Split has always been and continues to be a major transit hub, which has further developed with the construction of the highway to Zagreb. The geographical position of the city Split encourages the interconnectedness of Dalmatia by all modes of transport (ship, road, rail and air). The importance of Split’s geographical position is emphasized by the statistics of transit passengers at the Split Airport, which continues to experience yearly growth. The port of Split, with over 4 million transit passengers, is the third largest port in the Mediterranean.