The Bell Tower of St. Domnius Cathedral, Split © Ricky Yates

On the evening of Friday 23rd October, we arrived in Split on the central Dalmatian coast of Croatia. This followed a day of driving through some of the heaviest rain I’ve experienced in a very long time. Our ferry crossing took place with only a few spots of rain falling. But as we passed through Herceg Novi and headed towards the Montenegro – Croatia border, it started raining with a vengeance. As a result, we drove past the wonderful historic Croatian city of Dubrovnik, only just able to make it out in the near distance through the heavy rain and mist.

Our journey through the driving rain along the Adriatic coast was also notable for taking us into the ninth different country of our trip. For 10 km, the main coastal highway passes into Bosnia-Herzegovina and through the town of Neum before passing back out into Croatia again. Finally, in the late afternoon as we approached Split, the constant rain started to ease, very much in line with the BBC online weather forecast we had looked at the previous evening.

Split is the second-largest city in Croatia after the capital Zagreb. It is also an important port and ferry port. However, probably its greatest claim to fame is being the location of one of the most imposing Roman ruins still in existence – the Emperor Diocletian’s Palace. But the palace is not a museum. Instead, it is the living heart of the city, consisting of a whole network of interconnected alleyways and squares containing shops, restaurants and bars, as well as the Cathedral of St. Domnius with its wonderful Romanesque bell tower. The B&B Kašel 1700, where we stayed for two nights, also lies within the palace, just inside the Southern Gate.

On my 1975 coach trip, I had stopped off in Split for no more than half an hour which had therefore only allowed me a very cursory glance at this amazing Roman ruin. This time, because of staying for two nights, we had the whole of Saturday 24th October to explore and take in the atmosphere of the vibrant historic city centre. And after all the rain of the two previous days, our full day in Split was spent once more enjoying fine and sunny weather.

From my brief April 1975 visit, I have precisely two pictures. However, by sheer coincidence, I took pictures of the same ancient buildings from similar positions during my October 2009 visit. As with the previous examples that I have already posted from Cappadocia and Montenegro, it is fascinating to see how little has changed in nearly 35 years.

Diocletian's Palace, Split in April 1975 © Ricky Yates

Diocletian's Palace, Split in October 2009 © Ricky Yates

Diocletian's Palace, Split in April 1975 © Ricky Yates

Diocletian's Palace, Split in October 2009 © Ricky Yates

5 comments to Split

  • Grand to see these ancient and beautiful buildings have not only escaped the recent, er, unpleasantness but are also being preserved. Oh, what a shame though about the bad weather – must have been miserable, not to mention frustrating to miss those wondrous views.
    .-= Minnie´s last blog ..Tricks of confidence =-.

  • Ricky

    Minnie – Fortunately, I don’t think Split suffered too much damage in the conflict that followed the break-up of the former Yugoslavia. And the Croats do seem very keen to repair and preserve their historic buildings as they do help bring in the tourist Euro.

    The rain that day, and for a good part of the previous day, was a real pain but then overall on our trip we had very good weather so we shouldn’t really complain. However, I was sad to miss out on seeing Dubrovnik once again and for Sybille not being able to see it for the first time.

  • They are some awesome photos, but considering the speed of things here in Croatia, it is a wonder it still looks the same (-:

    It has only been in recent years that they have started renovating the Peristil (the first of your photos). As far as I have heard from one of the city conservators, they hope to finish cleaning the Peristil by the end of 2012, but of course, that is only a small part of the Palace.

    Did you notice any changes on the waterside?

    Brgds, Morten from Split

  • Ricky

    Hi Morten – Many thanks for your comments and compliments! In answer to your question, I honestly cannot remember what the waterside in front of Diocletian’s Palace looked like in 1975. As I remarked in my post, I only had a very brief stopover in Split that time. But I have seen old photographs of how it used to look before the recent changes which I do think are very much for the better.

  • Actually they polished some of those buildings (Peristil for example), but I liked it better before, now they look almost fake. Maybe they could use some cleaning, but this has gone too far in my opinion. I’ve lived in Split most of my life so I guess my opinion counts as well…
    .-= Helio@Croatia´s last blog ..CROBEX =-.