Split - Roman City Going Strong After All These Years
"As the largest Croatian city on the Adriatic coast and a major transport hub, Split is more exciting than relaxing. With a massive port sending ferries out to the Dalmatian islands and beyond, Split is a nearly obligatory stop on a Dalmatian visit. Although ringed with apartment-block housing of stupefying ugliness, the remarkable Diocletian's Palace (a World Heritage site) makes a visit to the city more than worthwhile. In the centre of town, within the ancient walls of Diocletian's Palace, rises the majestic cathedral surrounded by a tangle of marble streets containing shops and businesses. The entire western end of town is a vast, wooded mountain park with beaches below and pathways above. A refurbished harbourside promenade lined with cafés makes for a pleasant stroll, and the high coastal mountains set against the blue Adriatic provide a striking frame, best appreciated as your ferry heads into or out of the port.
Split achieved fame when Roman emperor Diocletian (AD 245--313), who was noted for his persecution of the early Christians, had his retirement palace built here from 295 to 305. After his death the great stone palace continued to be used as a retreat by Roman rulers. When the neighbouring colony of Salona was abandoned in the 7th century, many of the Romanised inhabitants fled to Split and barricaded themselves behind the high palace walls, where their descendants continue to live to this day."
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