Split, Croatia

Grad Split
City of Split

Top: Nighttime view of Split from Mosor; 2nd row: Cathedral of Saint Domnius; City center of Split; 3rd row: View on the city from Marjan; Night in Poljicka Street; Bottom: Riva waterfront


Coat of arms
Nickname(s): Velo misto (Croatian: (the) Big town/city
Anthem: Marjane, Marjane

Location of Split in Croatia

Coordinates: 43°30′36″N 16°27′00″E / 43.51000°N 16.45000°E / 43.51000; 16.45000Coordinates: 43°30′36″N 16°27′00″E / 43.51000°N 16.45000°E / 43.51000; 16.45000
Country  Croatia
County Split-Dalmatia
Greek colony of Aspálathos established 6th century BCE
Diocletian's Palace built 305 CE
Diocletian's Palace settled 639 CE
  Type Mayor-Council
  Mayor Ivo Baldasar (Ind.)
  City Council
  City 79.38 km2 (30.65 sq mi)
  City itself 22.12 km2 (8.54 sq mi)
Elevation 0 m (0 ft)
Population (2011)[3][4]
  City 178,102
  Density 2,244/km2 (5,810/sq mi)
  Metro 349,314
  City itself 167,121
  City itself density 7,499/km2 (19,420/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code HR-21000
Area code 21
Website split.hr

Split (Croatian pronunciation: [splît]; see other names) is the second-largest city of Croatia and the largest city of the region of Dalmatia. It lies on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea, centered on the Roman Palace of the Emperor Diocletian. Spread over a central peninsula and its surroundings, Split's greater area includes the neighboring seaside towns as well. An intraregional transport hub and popular tourist destination, the city is a link to numerous Adriatic islands and the Apennine peninsula.

Split is one of the oldest cities in the area. While traditionally considered just over 1,700 years old, counting from the construction of Diocletian's Palace in 305 CE, the city was in fact founded as the Greek colony of Aspálathos (Aσπάλαθος) in the 4th century BC, about 2,400 years ago. It became a prominent settlement around 650 CE, when it succeeded the ancient capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia, Salona: as after the Sack of Salona by the Avars and Slavs, the fortified Palace of Diocletian was settled by the Roman refugees. Split became a Byzantine city, to later gradually drift into the sphere of the Byzantine vassal, the Republic of Venice, and the Croatian Kingdom, with the Byzantines retaining nominal suzerainty. For much of the High and Late Middle Ages, Split enjoyed autonomy as a free city, caught in the middle of a struggle between Venice and the King of Hungary for control over the Dalmatian cities.

Venice eventually prevailed and during the early modern period Split remained a Venetian city, a heavily fortified outpost surrounded by Ottoman territory. Eventually, its hinterland was won from the Ottomans in the Morean War of 1699, and in 1796, as Venice fell to Napoleon, the Treaty of Campo Formio rendered the city to the Habsburg Monarchy. In 1805, the Peace of Pressburg added it to the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy, and in 1809, after the Treaty of Schönbrunn, it was included directly in the French Empire, as part of the Illyrian Provinces. After Napoleon's defeat in 1814, it was eventually granted to the Austrian Empire, where the city remained a part of the Austrian Kingdom of Dalmatia until the fall of Austria-Hungary in 1918 and the formation of Yugoslavia. During World War II, the city was annexed by Italy, then liberated by the Partisans after the Italian capitulation in 1943. It was then re-occupied by Germany, which granted it to its puppet Independent State of Croatia. The city was liberated again by the Partisans in 1944, and was included in the post-war Federal Yugoslavia, as part of its republic of Croatia. In 1991 Croatia seceded from Yugoslavia amid the Croatian War of Independence.


The city draws its name from the spiny broom (calicotome spinosa; brnistra or žuka in modern Croatian), a common shrub in the area, after which the Greek colony of Aspálathos (Aσπάλαθος) or Spálathos (Σπάλαθος) was named. As the city became a Roman possession, the Latin name became "Spalatum" or "Aspalatum", which in the Middle Ages evolved into "Aspalathum", "Spalathum", "Spalatrum", and "Spalatro" in the Dalmatian language of the city's Romance population. The Croatian term became "Split" or "Spljet", while the Italian-language version, "Spalato", became universal in international usage by the Early Modern Period. In the late 19th century, the Croatian name increasingly came to prominence, and officially replaced "Spalato" in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia after World War I.

For a significant period, the origin of the name was erroneously thought to be related to the Latin word for "palace" (palatium), a reference to Diocletian's Palace which still forms the core of the city. Various theories were developed, such as the notion that the name derives from "S. Palatium", an abbreviation of "Salonae Palatium". The erroneous "palace" etymologies were notably due to Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, and were later mentioned by Thomas the Archdeacon.[5] The city, however, is several centuries older than the palace.


For more information on the history of Split's region, see History of Dalmatia.


Reconstruction of the Palace of the Roman Emperor Diocletian in its original appearance upon completion in 305 CE, by Ernest Hébrard
The modern-day center of Split with Diocletian's Palace in 2012. Visible also are the medieval Varoš district and the Giardin Park.

Although the beginnings of Split are traditionally associated with the construction of Diocletian's Palace in 305 CE, the city was founded in the 4th century BCE as the Greek colony of Aspálathos, or Spálathos. This was a colony of the polis of Issa, the modern-day town of Vis on the island of the same name. Issa itself was a colony of the Sicilian city of Syracuse, which was in turn originally founded by Corinth. Corinthians and Syracusans (as well as Issans) were Dorian Greeks.

The Greek settlement lived off trade with the surrounding Illyrian tribes, mostly the Delmatae. In time, the Roman Republic became the dominant power in the region, conquering the Illyrians in the Illyrian Wars of 229 and 219 BCE. Upon establishing permanent rule, the Romans founded the Province of Dalmatia.[6] The city of Salona, only a short distance from Spálathos, became the capital of the province and evolved into a significant city in the Roman state. The history of Spálathos becomes obscure for a while at this point, being overshadowed by that of nearby Salona (to which it will later become successor).

The Roman Emperor Diocletian (ruled 284 to 305 CE) reformed the government in the late Roman Empire and established the Tetrarchy. This new system presupposed that Diocletian himself would retire at some point in favor of Galerius. Thus, in 293 CE, he began the construction of an opulent and heavily fortified palace near his home town of Salona, selecting the site of Spálathos (or Spalatum in Latin). The palace was built directly fronting the sea, so as to allow its occupant to escape by that means if necessary (in an era plagued by civil wars). The site was most likely chosen due to being near to Salona, but also with a secure port and a more immediate access to the open sea in the case of an attack. Following a bout of illness in 303 CE, Diocletian announced he would retire as soon as his Palace, scheduled for completion in 305 CE, was ready.[7]

The Palace was built as a massive structure, much like a Roman military fortress. It faces the sea on its south side, with its walls 170 to 200 metres (570 to 700 feet) long, and 15 to 20 metres (50 to 70 feet) high, enclosing an area of 38,000 m² (9½ acres). The palace water supply was substantial, fed by an aqueduct from Jadro Spring, which supplies the city to this day. The palace and the city of Spalatum which formed its surroundings were at times inhabited by a population as large as 8,000 to 10,000 people.[8] Diocletian established Marjan hill as a recreational area for the residents,[9] a tradition which persists to this day. The palace was finished on schedule in AD 305. Diocletian accordingly retired, becoming the first Roman Emperor to voluntarily remove himself from office.[10] Little is known what became of the palace after Diocletian's death, though it is supposed to have fallen under the administration of the magistrates of Salona, and was gradually abandoned along with its surroundings. For a period one part of it seems to have been the site of a textile manufactory where Salonitan women worked.[11]

The Palace was to have one further significant occupant, however: Flavius Julius Nepos, the last legitimate Emperor of the Western Roman Empire. By the late 5th century CE, the Western provinces of the Empire fell under the control of various Germanic confederations. Dalmatia (which had been considered a Western province since the reign of Theodosius I) eventually remained the only exception in that regard. From 468 CE, the Province was ruled by Julius Nepos, who was appointed Western Emperor in 473 CE by Leo I of the Eastern Court. He attempted to establish himself in the Western capital of Ravenna (right across the Adriatic from Salona), but was deposed within two years by his Germanic Magister militum, Orestes. He returned to Salona in 475 and took Diocletian's Palace for his residence.[11] Orestes installed his young son Romulus Augustulus as the Emperor in the West, but was murdered within a year (476 CE) by Odoacer and his son deposed. Thereupon Odoacer did not establish his own puppet emperor, but instead returned the Imperial regalia of the West to the Emperor in the East (that now being Emperor Zeno), effectively abolishing the Western Imperial throne. The Eastern Court in Constantinople, however, still recognized Julius Nepos as legitimate Western Emperor.[12] From AD 475, Nepos therefore ruled from Diocletian's Palace as effective "Emperor of Dalmatia". He was however murdered in the Palace by local political enemies in 480 CE, whereupon the two thrones of the Roman Empire were formally united under the Eastern emperors in Constantinople, who now became the sole Roman emperors. The Empire itself is henceforward more commonly referred to in historiography as the Byzantine Empire.

The city's seaward walls in 1764, an engraving by Robert Adam.

In 493 CE Salona, along with most of Dalmatia, was lost to the Ostrogothic Kingdom. However, by 535 CE the Emperor Justinian the Great was ready to attempt a reconquest of Roman lands held by the Ostrogoths. By July of the same year, the Roman general Mundus had quickly overrun Dalmatia and captured Salona. But a large Gothic army arrived to reclaim the province, and though he inflicted a heavy defeat upon them, Mundus himself was mortally wounded. As a result, the Roman army withdrew, and all of Dalmatia, with the exception of Salona, was abandoned to the Goths.[13] Salona was then taken by the Gothic general Gripas. Justinian dispatched a new general, Constantianus, to recover Dalmatia, which he accomplished speedily. Gripas was forced to abandon Salona because of the ruined state of its fortifications and the pro-Roman stance of its citizens. Constantinianus then occupied the city and rebuilt its walls. Seven days later, the Gothic army departed for Italy, so that by late June 536 CE Dalmatia was again in Roman hands.[14]

Sack of Salona

The history of Split as a significant city, in its own right, begins with the Sack of Salona by the Avars in 639 CE. Conflicting versions of the event are in existence, and it is unknown whether the city was taken by treachery, by ruse, or whether the defense was simply abandoned by the terrified populace. In either case, the city (in spite of its newly-rebuilt circuit of walls) fell with little or no resistance, and was thoroughly sacked and destroyed, "so that nothing but the theatre remained standing".[15] The Romans of Salona fled by sea to the nearby Adriatic islands of Solentia (Šolta), Bretia (Brač), Pharia (Hvar), Issa (Vis), and Corcyra Nigra (Korčula). The Avars had ravaged the entire region and expelled or killed most of the Roman population. The Dalmatian region and its shores were at this time settled by tribes of Croats, a South Slavic people subservient to the Avar khagans[16] (the Avars themselves, i.e. the Avar Khaganate, occupied the more fertile land of the Pannonian Basin).

For the following decade, the Salonitans lived in huts on the islands, suffering from a lack of drinking water (the islands themselves appear to have been mostly deserted by that time). The younger men equipped some light ships and raided Croat settlements on the mainland "so that none of the Slavs dared to go down to the sea".[15] At this point there emerged a leader among the exiles, known only as Severus the Great ("whose house had stood next to the columns of the Palace by the sea"[15]). He persuaded the vast majority of the remaining Salonitans to return to the mainland. They could not return to the ruins of Salona, which were entirely indefensible and closer to the Slavic tribes of the interior, but chose instead to occupy the 300-year-old Palace of Diocletian. They intended to stay in the Palace until such a time as Salona might be reoccupied, but this never became possible. The strong fortifications of the palace, along with its placement directly upon the sea, meant that it could not be effectively besieged by the Slavic tribes of the mainland.[16]

The Salonitans occupied the Palace around the year 650 CE. Their numbers were so reduced by this point that the fortress-like structure, which was not built to serve as a city, was sufficient for their needs. Contrary to their expectations of retaking Salona, the citizens were hard-pressed to maintain themselves even in the Palace. Upon hearing of their return, the Croats destroyed their crops and confined them within the gates. The Emperor Constans II intervened at this point, and granted them an Imperial mandate to establish themselves in the Palace as the City of Spalatum, which imposed upon the Slavs a cessation of further hostilities through diplomatic arrangements.[16] The Empire itself at this time was hard-pressed to defend itself against the Caliphate and the Lombards in Italy, but was at the time in fact allied with the Croatian Slavs against the Avars.

The citizens of Spalatum now purged the temple of Jupiter in Diocletian's Palace and rededicated it to the Virgin Mary. They undertook a dangerous expedition to the overgrown ruins of Salona to recover the remains of the popular Saint Domnius, a one-time Bishop of Salona of Syrian ancestry, executed by order of Emperor Diocletian. They brought the remains to Spalatum in great haste, fearing attack by Slavs, and so brought the remains of the wrong saint. A second expedition was more successful, and the Cathedral of Saint Domnius could now be established with the necessary conditions of sanctity (some have later argued, however, that the remains interred in the Cathedral were not in fact those of Saint Domnius).[16] The new see was invested by the Pope with all the authority of the ancient archiepiscopal see of Salona. The Archbishop of Salona retained his status as metropolitan of all Dalmatia, continuing on to be referred to for centuries by the name of the ruined ancient city.[16] In 1100, the bell tower which became the main symbol of the city was constructed and dedicated to Saint Domnius, by then regarded as the patron saint of the city.

Byzantine period

Statue of bishop Gregory of Nin, in the Giardin Park

Throughout the following centuries, effectively until the Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople, Split remained a de jure possession of the Byzantine Empire. Its hinterland, however, ravaged and desolated by the Avar invasion (from which it never fully recovered), was lost to the Empire beyond much hope of recovery. The region was now home to the Duchy of the Croats. In this period, an independent Dalmatian language developed from Latin, with a distinct local dialect: to its inhabitants, the city became known as Spalatrum or Spalatro.

Dalmatia, or rather the cities, islands, and the immediate coastline, was organized as a Byzantine duchy, administered by the Exarchate of Ravenna. After the final fall of Ravenna to the Lombards in 751, the prefects and fleet fled from Ravenna to the port of Jadera (Zadar), and the Duchy of Dalmatia began to be administered from there. The cities along the coast, however, enjoyed significant privileges and in practice ran their own affairs independently.[17]

In 925, in the hinterland of Spalatro, Tomislav, Duke of the Croats, conquered the Duchy of Pannonia to the north, and the Kingdom of Croatia now emerged in the hinterland of the city. He was an ally of the Byzantine Empire against their common enemy, Simeon I of Bulgaria, and relations with the Empire were cordial. However, contrary to some claims originating in the 19th century, the notion that the King received from the Emperor any powers (the position of Strategos) over Spalatro or other Dalmatian cities, or exercised any authority there, is not supported by historical sources. He did receive from the Emperor Romanus I Lecapenus the title of "proconsul", but this was an honorific with no function attached to it.[17]

Tomislav had his seat at Nin, on the northern Dalmatian coast (relatively near to Zadar), and the bishops of Nin (also known as "bishops of the Croats") gained jurisdiction and influence over the Church in Croatian territories, at the expense of the Archbishopric in Spalatro. The Bishopric of Nin, headed by Bishop Gregory, attempted to institute the "Slavonic" or "Slavic language" as the language of religious service in the Croatian realm. In response to these developments, in 925 a significant synod was held in Split, at which it was decreed that "no one should presume to celebrate the divine mysteries in the Slavonic language, but only in Latin and Greek, and that no one of that tongue should be advanced to the holy orders". Further, the Archbishop of Spalatum was reaffirmed as having jurisdiction over Croatian lands.

Medieval overlords
of Split, 998–1420

Throughout the 9th and 10th centuries, the waters of the Adriatic were the theatre of a naval struggle between the Narentines (a South Slavic confederation recognizing the King of Croatia as their sovereign) and the Venetian Republic, with the Narentines long holding the upper hand and at one point raiding Venice itself. Split was constantly subjected to raids from both the Narentines on the sea, and by the Croats in its immediate hinterland. Therefore, the city offered its allegiance to Venice in exchange for the Doge establishing security. In 998 the Venetian Doge Pietro II Orseolo, led a large naval expedition along the eastern shores of the Adriatic. He arrived in Split and was welcomed by the population, with the city immediately allying itself to him and providing naval assistance. He defeated the Narentines the same year, and the cities of Dalmatia offered to pledge their allegiance to the Doge and his successors. After obtaining permission from Emperor Basil II in Constantinople, Orseolo proclaimed himself Duke of Dalmatia.

In 1014 the First Bulgarian Empire was destroyed by Basil II, and in 1019 the Byzantine Empire restored direct control over Dalmatia. The title "Duke of Dalmatia" seems to have been dropped at this point by the Venetian doges. In 1069 Peter Krešimir IV, King of Croatia, gained control over Dalmatian islands and cities, including Split, and stretched his rule south to Neretva. The coastal cities retained autonomous administration and were still nominally under Byzantine Empire, but were now subjects of the Croatian king.[18][19][20] By 1084 Imperial influence was waning again. Emperor Alexius I Comnenus conferred once more the title of "Duke of Dalmatia" to the Venetian Doge (his nominal vassal).[19] The Venetians had rendered invaluable naval assistance to the Empire in the Byzantine–Norman wars, while the last King of Croatia, Demetrius Zvonimir, had offended the Emperor by seeking investiture from the Pope and not the Patriarch of Constantinople (as was the case with his immediate predecessors). However, it was merely a title since Dalmatian coastal cities remained under control of King Zvonimir.[19]

After the death of Croatian King Stephen II in 1091, a period of succession crisis followed in Croatia, with King Ladislaus I of Hungary interfering in it.[21] Byzantine Emperor Alexius took advantage of this and joined the old Theme of Dalmatia to the Empire.[19][22] In 1096 Emperor Alexius, at the time engaged in the First Crusade, granted the administration of Dalmatia to the Doge of Venice.[22]

Struggle for Dalmatia

The Riva of Split in the 19th century, with Marjan in the background.

Split was now a subject of the Venetian Doge, and was, along with Trogir and Zadar, one of the three (major) cities of Dalmatia. At this time the Kingdom of Hungary arrived on the scene. King Coloman had by 1097 conquered the Kingdom of Croatia in the Dalmatian hinterland, and after a failed Croat rebellion in 1102, crowned himself "King of Croatia and Dalmatia" at Biograd, the coastal town that served as the traditional seat of the Croatian monarchy. The neutrality of Venice in these events was acquired by assurances that the Hungarian kings would respect Venetian rule in Split and the other coastal cities. Hungarians and the Venetians now sailed against the Duchy of Apulia in a joint expedition to end Norman incursions into the Adriatic, in which they were successful. After this, however, it was no longer in Coloman's interest to maintain his Venetian alliance, and, in 1105, when the Venetians under Doge Ordelafo Faliero de Doni were engaged in Syria and Acre, Coloman laid siege to Zadar and took it by assault, whereupon he advanced on Split. The citizens of Split, seeing the appearance of "an army of unknown race" were "disposed to fight", but "finding that the men were Christians and that the King was disposed to deal liberally with them", they surrendered upon guarantee of their ancient privileges. Nearby Trogir (at that time the primary rival of Split), did the same.[16]

The rights granted to the city (and reaffirmed by new charters) were substantial. Split was to pay no tribute, it was to choose its own count and archbishop whom the king would confirm, it preserved its old Roman laws, and appointed its own judge. Dues from trade (which were substantial in the period), were divided between the count, the archbishop, and the king, and no foreigner was to live within the walls of the city against the will of the citizens. These rights were generally upheld by Hungarian kings, but there were inevitable incidents of violation. The new Hungarian Archbishop of Split, Manasses, attempted to take control of the city with the aid of the Hungarian garrison (whose presence was in itself a violation of privilege). Headed by Adriano de Treviso, the Count of Split, the citizens rose up, and, with the help of a contingent from Trogir, massacred the garrison and expelled the Archbishop. Some years later, one Reles, referred to as the Duke of Croatia, attempted to gain control over the city by inducing the citizens to elect him their Count, but the citizens refused "out of detestation of being ruled by a Slav".[15] When Reles ravaged their lands the citizens defeated him in battle and killed him.[16]

King Coloman died in 1116, ten years after his conquest, while the Doge Ordelafo Faliero had in the meantime returned from Outremer. In a comprehensive campaign along the coast, the Doge retook all the Dalmatian cities, and also, for the first time, the Croatian cities of coast such as Biograd and Šibenik. In 1117, however, he was defeated and killed in renewed battle with the Hungarians under Stephen II of Hungary, and Split again acknowledged Hungarian rule. But the new Doge, Domenico Michele, quickly defeated the Hungarians again and restored Venetian authority by 1118. In 1124, while the Doge was engaged against the Byzantine Empire (now hostile to Venice), Stephen II recovered Split and Trogir without resistance. Upon Michele's return in 1127, however, the Doge yet again expelled the Hungarians from the two cities and utterly destroyed Biograd, the favored seat of the Croatian Kings that the Hungarians were attempting to establish as a rival to the Venetian Zadar.[16]

The cities remained in Venetian hands without contest during the reign of Béla II. But in 1141, his successor, King Géza II of Hungary, having conquered Bosnian lands, marched to Split and Trogir, both voluntarily accepting him as overlord. This turned out to be a definitive conquest, as Venetian rule was not to return to Split for another 186 years. His son Stephen III then retook Šibenik, which had become a large and wealthy town due to the influx of refugees from the ruined Biograd. Šibenik was at this time chartered by the King and became counted among the "Dalmatian" cities. In 1145 the episcopal see of Zadar became raised to metropolitan rank by Pope Anastasius IV, to avoid submission to the now-Hungarian Archbishopric of Salona at Split (a distinction which remains to this day, with the Archdiocese of Zadar being subject directly to the Holy See).[16]

In that period, however, Split was to see one brief (and final) restoration of Imperial power in Dalmatia. The Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Comnenus began his campaigns against the Kingdom of Hungary in 1151, and by 1164, had secured the submission of the Dalmatian cities back under Imperial rule. Having won a decisive victory against Hungary in 1167 at the Battle of Sirmium, consolidating his gains, the Emperor suddenly broke with Venice as well, and sent a fleet of 150 ships to the Adriatic. Split was to remain in Byzantine hands until Manuel's death in 1180, when Béla III of Hungary moved to restore Hungarian power in Dalmatia. The city remained loyal to the Empire, resisting the re-establishment of Hungarian rule, and consequently, upon its inevitable submission, was punished with the King's refusal to renew its ancient privileges. In that year Rainiero, the Archbishop of Split, attempted to regain Church farmlands on Mount Massarus (Mosor) from Croats who occupied them, and was stoned to death by the locals.[16]

During the 20-year Hungarian civil war between King Sigismund and the Capetian House of Anjou of the Kingdom of Naples, the losing contender, Ladislaus of Naples, sold his disputed rights on Dalmatia to the Venetian Republic for 100,000 ducats. Acting on the pretext, the Republic took over the city by the year 1420, and it was to remain under Venetian rule for 377 years (1420–1797).[23]

Venetian period

Overall view of Split in the Early modern period (1764), an engraving by Scottish architect Robert Adam. Marjan hill is visible in the background.
City center and the Riva promenade from the slopes of Marjan in 1910
A German Panzerspähwagen Sd.Kfz. 231 armoured car during the second occupation of Split in 1943, descending from Marjan Hill, with the city in the background.
City center and the Riva promenade, as seen from Marjan 2008.

The population was by that time largely Croatian, while Romance Dalmatian names were not so numerous, according to the Medieval city archives, and the common language was also Croatian, but Italian (a mixture of Tuscan and Venetian dialects) was also spoken due to the Italian minorities.[24] The autonomy of the city was reduced: the highest authority was a prince-captain, always of Venetian birth.

Split eventually developed into a significant port-city, with important trade routes to the Ottoman-held interior through the nearby Klis pass. Culture flourished as well, Split being the hometown of Marko Marulić, a classic Croatian author. Marko Marulić's most acclaimed work, Judita (1501), was an epic poem about Judith and Holfernes and written in Split, it was printed in Venice in 1521. It is widely held to be the first modern work of Croatian literature. Still, it should be noted the advances and achievements were reserved mostly for the aristocracy: the illiteracy rate was extremely high, mostly because Venetian rule showed little interest in educational and medical facilities.

19th century

During the brief period of Napoleonic rule when it was part of the Napoleonic France's Illyrian Provinces (1806–1813), large investments were undertaken in the city, new streets were built and parts of the ancient fortifications were removed.[25]

The city was captured from the French by an Austrian and British force led by Captain William Hoste without resistance in November 1813. The city was then allocated to the Empire of Austria by the Congress of Vienna. The Split region became part of the Kingdom of Dalmatia, a separate administrative unit. After the revolutions of 1848 as a result of the romantic nationalism, two factions appeared. One was the pro-Croatian Unionist faction (later called the "Puntari", "Pointers"), led by the People's Party and, to a lesser extent, the Party of Rights, both of which advocated the union of Dalmatia with the Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia which was under Hungarian administration. This faction was strongest in Split, and used it as its headquarters. The other faction was the pro-Italian Autonomist faction (also known as the "Irredentist" faction), whose political goals varied from autonomy within the Austro-Hungarian Empire, to a political union with the Kingdom of Italy.

The political alliances in Split shifted over time. At first, the Unionists and Autonomists were allied against the centralism of Vienna. After a while, when the national question came to prominence, they separated. Under Austria, however, Split can generally be said to have stagnated. The great upheavals in Europe in 1848 gained no ground in Split, and the city did not rebel.

Antonio Bajamonti became Mayor of Split in 1860 and – except for a brief interruption during the period 1864–65 – held the post for over two decades until 1880. Bajamonti was also a member of the Dalmatian Sabor (1861–91) and the Austrian Chamber of Deputies (1867–70 and 1873–79). In 1882 the Bajamonti's party lost the elections and Dujam Rendić-Miočević, a prominent city lawyer, was elected to the post.

20th century

Kingdom of Yugoslavia

After the end of World War I and the dissolution of Austria-Hungary, the province of Dalmatia, along with Split, became a part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. Split was the site of a series of incidents between 1918 and 1920.

Since Rijeka, Trieste and Zadar, the three other large cities on the eastern Adriatic coast, were annexed by Italy, Split became the most important port in the Kingdom. The Lika railway, connecting Split to the rest of the country, was completed in 1925.

The country changed its name to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929, and the Port of Split became the seat of new administrative unit, Littoral Banovina. After the Cvetković-Maček agreement, Split became the part of new administrative unit (merging of Sava and Littoral Banovina plus some Croat populated areas), Banovina of Croatia in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

World War II

Italian warship in the City Harbour after the annexation into Italy in 1941.

In April 1941, following the invasion of Yugoslavia by Nazi Germany, Split was occupied by Italy. Although Split formally became part of the Independent State of Croatia, the Ustaše were not able to establish and strengthen their rule in Split, as Italians assumed all power in Dalmatia. One month later on 18 May 1941, when the Treaties of Rome were signed, Italy formally annexed Split and large parts of Dalmatia.[26] Italian rule met heavy opposition from the Croat population as Split became a centre of anti-fascist sentiment in Yugoslavia. The first armed resistance group was organized on 7 May 1941; the 63 member strong 1st Strike Detachment (Prvi udarni odred) served as the basis for future formations, including the 1st Split Partisan Detachment.[27] Between September and October 1941 alone, ten officials of the Italian fascist occupation were assassinated by the citizens.[28] On 12 June 1942, a mob, which included Italian soldiers, devastated the city's synagogue, attacked the Jews inside, and looted sixty Jewish homes.[29] In September 1943, following the capitulation of Italy, the city was temporarily controlled by Tito's brigades with thousands of people volunteering to join the Partisans of Marshal Josip Broz Tito (a third of the total population, according to some sources). A few weeks later, however, the Partisans were forced into retreat as the Wehrmacht placed the city under the authority of the Independent State of Croatia a few weeks later. The local football clubs refused to compete in the Italian championship; HNK Hajduk and RNK Split suspended their activities and both joined the Partisans along with their entire staff after the Italian capitulation provided the opportunity. Soon after Hajduk became the official football club of the Partisan movement.

In a tragic turn of events, besides being bombed by axis forces, the city was also bombed by the Allies, causing hundreds of deaths. Partisans finally captured the city on 26 October 1944 and instituted it as the provisional capital of Croatia. On 12 February 1945 the Kriegsmarine conducted a daring raid on the Split harbour, damaging the British cruiser Delhi.

Second Occupation
German vehicles in the city streets. The sign reads "Death to fascism - freedom to the people". 
A French-built Hotchkiss H38 tank (captured by the Germans after 1940), passes through the streets of the city center. 
German troops lowering the Yugoslav flag from Marjan Hill 
Germans raising the flag of Nazi Germany over Split 
German troops on the Riva promenade. The signs read "Long live the IV. Operational Zone Commander, Comrade Vicko Krstulović", and "Long live the fighting unity of the Yugoslav nations" 

Federal Yugoslavia

The Yugoslav-era Coat of arms of Split. Introduced in 1967, it was based on the Medieval rectangular arms, dating at least from the 14th century (and likely much earlier).

After World War II, Split became a part of the Socialist Republic of Croatia, itself a constituent sovereign republic of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. During the period the city experienced its largest economic and demographic boom. Dozens of new factories and companies were founded with the city population tripling during the period. The city became the economic centre of an area exceeding the borders of Croatia and was flooded by waves of rural migrants from the undeveloped hinterland who found employment in the newly established industry, as part of large-scale industrialization and investment by the Yugoslav Federal Government.

The shipbuilding industry was particularly successful and Yugoslavia, with its Croatian shipyards, became one of the world's top nations in the field. Many recreational facilities were also constructed with federal funding, especially for the 1979 Mediterranean Games, such as the Poljud Stadium. The city also became the largest passenger and military port in Yugoslavia, housing the headquarters of the Yugoslav Navy (Jugoslavenska ratna mornarica, JRM) and the Army's Coastal Military District (equivalent of a field army). In the period between 1945 and 1990, the city was transformed and expanded, taking up the vast majority of the Split peninsula. In the same period it achieved an as yet unsurpassed GDP and employment level, still above the present day's, growing into a significant Yugoslav city.

Since independence

Marjan hill as seen from the Riva Promenade, 2013.

When Croatia declared its independence again in 1991, Split had a large garrison of JNA troops (drafted from all over Yugoslavia), as well as the headquarters and facilities of the Yugoslav War Navy (JRM). This led to a tense months-long stand-off between the JNA and Croatian National Guard and police forces, occasionally flaring up in various incidents. The most tragic such incident occurred on 15 November 1991, when the JRM light frigate Split fired a small number of shells at the city and its surroundings. The damage was insignificant but there were a few casualties. Three general locations were bombarded: the old city center, the city airport and an uninhabited part of the hills above Kaštela, between the airport and Split. JRM Sailors who had refused to attack Croat civilians, most of them Croats themselves, were left in the vessel's brig. The JNA and JRM evacuated all of its facilities in Split during January 1992. The 1990s economic recession soon followed.

In the years following 2000, Split finally gained momentum and started to develop again, with a focus on tourism. From being just a transition centre, Split is now a major Croatian tourist destination. Many new hotels are being built, as well as new apartment and office buildings. Many large development projects are revived, and new infrastructure is being built. An example of the latest large city projects is the Spaladium Arena, built in 2009.


Split and the surrounding satellite towns, as seen from space.

Split is situated on a peninsula between the eastern part of the Gulf of Kaštela and the Split Channel. The Marjan hill (178 m), rises in the western part of the peninsula. The ridges Kozjak (779 m) and its brother Mosor (1339 m) protect the city from the north and northeast, and separate it from the hinterland.

Panorama view of Split and surroundings from atop the Marjan


Snow is rare in Split.

Split has a borderline humid subtropical (Cfa) and Mediterranean climate (Csa) in the Köppen climate classification, since only one summer month has less than 40 millimetres (1.6 in) of rainfall, preventing it from being classified as solely humid subtropical or Mediterranean. It has hot, moderately dry summers and mild, wet winters (however, winters can sometimes feel cold, because of the north wind Bura and its windchill factor - for example, if the air temperature is 5 °C (41 °F) and strong bura is blowing, it feels like -10 °C (14 °F). Average annual rainfall is more than 820 mm (32.28 in). July is the hottest month, with an average high temperature around 30 °C (86 °F). January is the coldest month, with an average low temperature around 5 °C (41 °F). November is the wettest month, with a precipitation total of nearly 113 mm (4.45 in) and 12 rainy days. July is the driest month, with a precipitation total of around 26 mm (1.02 in). Winter is the wettest season; however, it can rain in Split at any time of the year. Snow is usually rare; since record-keeping began the months of December and January have accrued 1 snowy day on average, while February has averaged 2. In February 2012, Split received unusually large amount of snow which caused major problems with traffic. Split receives more than 2,600 sunshine hours annually.

Climate data for Split (Marjan Hill, 1948 – 2015)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 17.4
Average high °C (°F) 10.3
Daily mean °C (°F) 7.9
Average low °C (°F) 5.4
Record low °C (°F) −9.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 78.7
Average rainy days 11 10 10 9 9 9 6 5 7 9 12 13 110
Average snowy days 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
Mean monthly sunshine hours 130.0 145.6 186.6 216.8 272.4 307.1 351.2 327.6 246.8 196.7 129.7 119.1 2,629.6
Source #1: National Meteorological and Hydrological Service (Croatia) [30]
Source #2: World Weather Information Service [31]
Average sea temperature:[32]
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
12.0 °C (53.6 °F) 11.5 °C (52.7 °F) 11.9 °C (53.4 °F) 13.8 °C (56.8 °F) 17.3 °C (63.1 °F) 21.1 °C (70.0 °F) 23.2 °C (73.8 °F) 23.6 °C (74.5 °F) 21.7 °C (71.1 °F) 19.3 °C (66.7 °F) 16.4 °C (61.5 °F) 13.7 °C (56.7 °F) 17.1 °C (62.8 °F)


Historical population
1857 12,417    
1869 14,587+17.5%
1880 16,883+15.7%
1890 18,483+9.5%
1900 21,925+18.6%
1910 25,103+14.5%
1921 29,155+16.1%
1931 40,029+37.3%
1948 54,187+35.4%
1953 64,874+19.7%
1961 85,374+31.6%
1971 129,203+51.3%
1981 176,303+36.5%
1991 200,459+13.7%
2001 188,694−5.9%
2011 178,102−5.6%
census data

According to the 2011 census, the city of Split had 178,102 inhabitants.[3] Ethnically, Croats make up 96.23% of the population,[33] and 86.15% of the residents of the city are Roman Catholics.[34]

The settlements included in the administrative area of the City are:[3]

In the wider urban Split's area lives 293,298 inhabitants, while there is 349,314 people in the Split metropolitan area. Urban area includes the surrounding towns and settlements: Okrug, Seget, Trogir, Kaštela, Solin, Podstrana, Dugi Rat and Omiš, while the metro area adds Marina, Primorski Dolac, Prgomet, Lećevica, Klis, Dugopolje, Dicmo, Trilj, Sinj and Supetar on the island Brač. The entire Split-Dalmatia County has 454,798 residents, and the whole region of Dalmatia just under a million.[33]


A "Morlach" (Vlaj) peasant in Split, 1864.

Although the inhabitants of Split (Splićani) may appear to be a homogeneous body, they traditionally belong to three groups. The old urban families, the Fetivi, (short for "Fetivi Splićani", "real Split natives") are generally very proud of their city, its history and its distinctive traditional speech[35] (a variant of the Chakavian dialect). The Fetivi, now a distinct minority, are sometimes referred to (semi-derogatorily) as "Mandrili" - and are augmented by the so-called Boduli, immigrants from the nearby Adriatic islands who mostly arrived over the course of the 20th century.[36]

The above two groups are distinct, in the Mediterranean aspects of their ethnicity and traditional Chakavian speech, from the more numerous Shtokavian-speaking immigrants from the rural Zagora hinterland, referred to as the Vlaji (a term that sometimes carries negative connotations). The latter joined the Fetivi and Boduli as a third group in the decades since World War II, thronging the high-rise suburbs that stretch away from the centre.[36] By now the Vlaji constitute a decided majority of inhabitants, causing a distinct shift in the overall ethnic characteristics of the city. Historically more influenced by Ottoman culture, their population merges almost seamlessly at the eastern border with the Herzegovinian Croats and southern Bosnia and Herzegovina in general.[35][36] Local jokes have always condemned the Vlaji to playing the role of rural unsophisticates, although it is often conceded that it was their hard work in the industries of the post-WWII era that made modern-day Split what it is now.[36]

In recent years, the most pronounced distinction in Split society is one between those well established in the city and the more recent arrivals from Herzegovina (ethnically akin to the Vlaji of the Zagora), who came to Split in increasing numbers in the 1990s.[36]


Juice carrier sitting on a slipway at Brodosplit

Split's economy is still suffering the backlash from the recession caused by the transfer to a market economy and privatization. In the Yugoslav era, however, the city had been a highly significant economic centre with a modern and diverse industrial and economic base, including shipbuilding, food, chemical, plastics, textile, and paper industry, in addition to large revenues from tourism. In 1981 Split's GDP per capita was 37% above the Yugoslav average.[37] Today, most of the factories are out of business (or are far below pre-war production and employment capacity) and the city has been trying to concentrate on commerce and services, consequently leaving an alarmingly large number of factory workers unemployed.

Brodosplit shipyard is the largest one in Croatia. It employs around 2,300 people, and has built over 350 vessels, including many tankers, both panamax and non-panamax, as well as container ships, bulk carriers, dredgers, off-shore platforms, frigates, submarines, patrol boats and passenger ships. 80% of the ships built are exported to foreign contractors.

The new A1 motorway, integrating Split with the rest of the Croatian freeway network, has helped stimulate economic production and investment, with new businesses being built in the city centre and its wildly sprawling suburbs. The entire route was opened in July 2005. Today, the city's economy relies mostly on trade and tourism with some old industries undergoing partial revival, such as food (fishing, olive, wine production), paper, concrete and chemicals. Since 1998, Split has been host to the annual Croatia Boat Show.


Split University Library

There are 24 primary schools and 23 secondary schools including 11 grammar schools.


Main article: University of Split
Further information: List of universities in Croatia

The University of Split (Croatian: Sveučilište u Splitu) was founded in 1974. In the last few years it has grown to a large extent. Now it has 26,000 students and is organized in 12 faculties. Currently the new campus is being built, and it will be finished before 2018. It will house all of the faculties, a large student centre with a sports hall, sporting grounds and a university library.


UNESCO World Heritage Site
Historical Complex of Split with the Palace of Diocletian
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
Type Cultural
Criteria ii, iii, iv
Reference 97
UNESCO region Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 1979 (3rd Session)

In 1979, the historic center of Split was included into the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. Split is said to be one of the centres of Croatian culture. Its literary tradition can be traced to medieval times, and includes names like Marko Marulić, while in more modern times Split excelled by authors famous for their sense of humor. Among them the most notable is Miljenko Smoje, famous for his TV series Malo misto and Velo misto, with the latter dealing with the development of Split into a modern city.

Despite colorful settings and characters, as well as a cinema tradition that could be traced to early 20th-century works of Josip Karaman, there were relatively few films shot in or around Split. However, the city did produce several famous actors, most notably Boris Dvornik.

Also well known is Ivo Tijardović, and his famous operetta "Little Floramye" (Mala Floramye). Both Smoje and Tijardović are famous artists thought to represent the old Split traditions that are slowly dying out due to the city being overwhelmed by large numbers of rural migrants from the undeveloped hinterland.

Museums and galleries

The Prokurative, now Republic Square, developed during the Mayoralty of Dr.Bajamonte and designed in 1859.
The Prokurative, dating to the brief rule of the French Empire.

The Archaeological Museum (Arheološki muzej) main collection is housed at Zrinsko-Frankopanska 25 in Split. There is also a branch building in Solin (Salona and Tusculum Collection) and two regional centres at Vid near Metkovic (Narona Collection), and on the island of Vis (Issa Collection). The Split Archaeological Museum is the oldest museum institution in Croatia, founded in 1820 by the decree of the Dalmatian government in Zadar. Some 150,000 artifacts cover prehistoric times, the period of Greek colonization of the Adriatic, Roman Provincial and Early Christian era to the early Middle Ages and the period of Croatian popular rulers). Of special interest is the collection of stone inscriptions from Salona and the collections of Graeco-Hellenistic ceramic objects, Roman glass, ancient clay lamps, bone and metal articles, as well as the collection of gems. In addition, the museum houses an extensive collection of ancient and medieval coins, a submarine achaeological collection, and a rich archive library.[38]

The Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments (Croatian: Muzej hrvatskih arheoloških spomenika ) is the only museum in Croatia dedicated to researching and presenting cultural artifacts of the Croats in the Middle Ages, between the 7th and 15th centuries, particularly the time of the early medieval Croatian state from 9th to 12th century. The collection of early medieval wicker, clay figurines, and old Croatian Latin epigraphic monuments is the largest collection of its kind in Europe.[39]

The Split City Museum (Croatian: Muzej Grada Splita) at Papalićeva 1, is housed in the former Papalić Palace. The collection presents the urban, cultural, artistic and economic heritage of the city. The museum is also home to the Emanuel Vidović Gallery, dedicated to the most important Split painter of the 20th century.[40][41]

The Ethnographical Museum (Croatian: Etnografski muzej) at Severova 1, has a wide range of ethnographic content mainly from Dalmatia. Founded in 1910, the museum collects original and contemporary applications of traditional heritage. They also track contemporary popular culture living with traces of old foundations and preserve and promote the value of folk heritage, renewing them and presenting exhibitions.[41]

The Croatian Maritime Museum (Croatian: Hrvatski pomorski muzej) at Glagoljaška 18 - Tvrđava Gripe has a collection of marine equipment and supplies, weapons and navigation equipment, medals, ship models, uniforms and equipment, and related artwork. A permanent exhibition is planned to complete the presentation of military maritime and naval history, with a presentation that covers the period from the arrival of the Slavs to the present day.[41]

Split Science museum and Zoo (Croatian: Prirodoslovni musej i zooloski vrt) located at Kolombatovićevo šetalište 2 on the Marjan peninsula.[42]

The Gallery of Fine Arts (Croatian: Galerija umjetnina), located at Kralja Tomislava 15, is an art museum that contains works from the 14th century to the present day providing an overview of the artistic developments in the local art scene. The gallery was founded in 1931, and has a permanent exhibition of paintings and sculptures that includes works by major Croatian artists such as Vlaho Bukovac, Mato Celestin Medović, Branislav Dešković, Ivan Meštrović, Emanuel Vidović and Ignjat Job. The gallery also has an extensive collection of icons, and holds special exhibits of works by contemporary artists. In May 2009, the gallery opened its new premises in the old Split Hospital building behind Diocletian's Palace.[43]

The Ivan Meštrović Gallery (Croatian: Galerija Meštrović), on the Marjan peninsula is an art museum dedicated to the work of the 20th-century sculptor, Ivan Meštrović. The gallery displays some of his most significant work, and the building itself is an art monument.[44] The permanent collection includes works of sculpture, drawings, design, furniture and architecture. The gallery building and grounds were based on original plans by Meštrović himself, and included living and working areas, as well as exhibition spaces.[45] Not far from the Gallery lies Kaštelet-Crikvine, a restored chapel that houses a set of wooden wall panels carved by Ivan Meštrović.[46]


One of the most recognisable aspects of Split culture is popular music. Notable composers include Josip Hatze, Ivo Tijardović, Zdenko Runjić - some of the most influential musicians in former Yugoslavia. Also, the more notable musicians and bands from Split are Oliver Dragojević, Gibonni, Daleka Obala, Magazin, Severina, Dino Dvornik, Jasmin Stavros, Neno Belan, Goran Karan, Dražen Zečić, Doris Dragović, Jelena Rozga, Tutti Frutti, Siniša Vuco, Meri Cetinić and guitar player Petar Čulić . There is great cultural activity during summers, when the prestigious Split Music Festival is held, followed by the Split Summer (Splitsko ljeto) theater festival.


Poljud Stadium, commissioned for the 1979 Mediterranean Games.

Sportsmen are traditionally held in high regard in Split, and the city is famous for producing many champions. The most popular sports in Split are football (soccer), tennis, basketball, swimming, rowing, sailing, waterpolo, athletics, and handball. Residents of Split prefer to call their city as "The sportiest city in the world". The main football (soccer) club is HNK Hajduk, the most popular club in Croatia supported by a large fan association known as Torcida Split, while RNK Split is the city's second club.Torcida Split is the oldest fan group in Europe est.1950. The largest football stadium is the Poljud Stadium (HNK Hajduk's ground), with around 35,000 capacity (55,000 prior to the renovation to an all-seater). Slaven Bilić, Aljoša Asanović, Igor Tudor, and Stipe Pletikosa are some of the famous Split natives who started their careers at Hajduk. Basketball is also popular, and the city basketball club, KK Split (Jugoplastika Split), holds the record of winning the Euroleague three consecutive times (1989–1991), with notable players like Toni Kukoč and Dino Rađa both of whom are Split natives.

Split's most famous tennis players are the retired 2001 Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanišević, Mario Ančić ("Super Mario"), Nikola Pilić and Željko Franulović. Marina Erakovic was also born in Split.

Members of the local rowing club HVK Gusar won numerous Olympic and World Championship medals.

Swimming also has a long tradition in Split, with Đurđica Bjedov (1968 Olympic Gold Medal and Olympic record in the 100 m breaststroke), Duje Draganja and Vanja Rogulj as the most famous swimmers from the city. As a member of the ASK Split athletics club, the champion Blanka Vlašić also originates from the city. The biggest sports events to be held in Split were the 1979 Mediterranean Games, and the 1990 European Athletics Championships.

Split was one of the host cities of the 2009 World Men's Handball Championship. The city constructed a new sporting arena for the event, the Spaladium Arena. Its capacity is around 12,000 spectators (in basketball events). The cost of the arena was evenly divided between the city and the government.[47] Ivano Balić, two time IHF World Player of the Year is the most famous handball player to come from Split.

Split used to be the home to three highest-level waterpolo clubs, the winners of many domestic and international titles: Jadran (twice LEN Champions League winner), Mornar (LEN Cup Winners' Cup winner) and now defunct POŠK (one LEN Champions League, one LEN Supercup and two times LEN Cup Winners' Cup winner). Many players from Split have participated at Olympic Games, World and European Championships, both for Croatia and Yugoslavia, having won a lot of medals. Several waterpolo players from Split during their careers have been considered the best in the World: Ratko Rudić, Damir Polić, Milivoj Bebić, Deni Lušić.

Picigin is a traditional local sport (originating in 1908), played on the famous sandy beach Bačvice. It is played in very shallow water (just ankle deep) with a small ball. Picigin is played by five players. The ball is the peeled tennis ball. There is a tradition of playing picigin in Split on New Year's Day, regardless of the weather conditions, in spite of the sea temperature rarely exceeding 10 °C.

RK Nada were the pioneers of rugby union in this part of the World. They were by far the strongest club in former Yugoslavia and they are also by far the most successful club in modern-day Croatia.

Baseball in Split is one of the city's longest traditions. Although the sport began semi-officially in December 1918 when a group of US sailors from a ship in port here introduced the game to some young Croats, it wasn’t until 1972 when a pair of teachers at a local school formed the Salona Baseball Club. Salona is a town about 5 km (3 mi) from Split, the site of the capital of the Roman Empire in this part of the world more than 1,700 years ago.

The first actual game played in Split was on Sept 9, 1978 between Split (the new team moved here and was called Nada) and Jezice from Ljubljana–a 20-1 romp for the locals!

A schedule of games began in earnest and by 1980 there were regular league games. The next major milestone was in 1983 when the World Baseball Federation (IBAF) accepted Yugoslavia as an official member. A Croatian National Baseball Federation was established in 1989.

Today the Croatian national team (with 10 or more members coming from Split’s Nada team) is ranked 25th in the world, ahead of Russia and France!

Split's team, Nada, plays its homegames at old Hajduk stadium, where the rugby club also plays. Alas, without a mound, it is not a regulation field. The team's main rival is Zagreb and there are teams from half a dozen other cities around the country. In addition to playing other Croatian teams, inter-league games are played and the team travels to Belgrade and other cities to play.

Although not a professional team or league, some player/coaches are paid. Several have pro experience and the new coach of the national team was a former major league pitcher with the LA Dodgers! The source material here is from Mladen Cukrov's book "There's no ball like baseball" (Nima baluna do Baseball) and from the writer's experience as an assistant coach of the team for several years.

The Split SeaWolves is the only team of American football in Dalmatia. Active from 2008, they are currently still developing and the main focus is on a flag football team.


The Port of Split (passenger section), a regional passenger hub. The North Port (not shown) is for cargo ships.

Split is an important transport center for Dalmatia and the wider region. In addition to the Zagreb-Split freeway (A1), all the road traffic along the Adriatic coast on the route RijekaDubrovnik (Adriatic Highway) flows through the city. The city also has a series of expressways and avenues, enabling efficient, fast transit by car around the city and its suburbs. The most important mean of transport in Split is bus, the city being inadequate for trams due to its hilly geography. The local public transport company Promet Split renovated its fleet in 2008 with the latest MAN and Mercedes-Benz models.

Split is also the southernmost integrated point of the Croatian Railway network. Within Split's city centre, railway traffic passes two tunnels before reaching the Central Station. The line to Split is unremarkable; a journey from Split to Zagreb or Rijeka takes around 5 hours, as the line is unelectrified and consists of only one track. Currently, there are no definite plans to upgrade the line, but with the start of work on the new Zagreb-Rijeka railway line in October 2007. The Split Suburban Railway network opened in early December 2006. It currently has one line, running from the Split city harbour to Kaštel Stari. The line is expected to get a second track and be fully electrified in the near future. New, low-floor trains are expected to be implemented as well. This line will also be lengthened, to encompass the aforementioned Split International Airport, and continue on to the towns of Trogir and Seget Donji. Split also plans to construct a mini-metro that in future.

The Split Airport in Kaštela is the second largest in Croatia in terms of passenger numbers (1.581.734 in 2013), with year-round services to Zagreb, Rome, Munich, Stuttgart, Frankfurt and the Cologne Bonn Airport in Germany, as well as heavy tourist traffic in the summer. The expansion of the terminal is scheduled to commence in 2012. The airport is located about 20 km west of Split.

The Port of Split, with its annual traffic of 4 million passengers, is the third busiest port in the Mediterranean, with daily coastal routes to Rijeka, Dubrovnik, and Ancona in Italy. During the summer season Split is connected with other Italian cities as well, such as Pescara. Most of the central Dalmatian islands are only reachable via the Split harbor (with Jadrolinija and Split Tours ferries). This includes the islands of Brač, Hvar and Šolta, as well as the more distant Vis, Korčula and Lastovo. Split is also becoming a major cruise ship destination, with over 260 ship visits, carrying 130,000 passengers. The largest ship scheduled to dock is the 315m long Celebrity Eclipse.

In addition, European Coastal Airlines offers multiple daily connections by seaplane from Split to a multitude of islands throughout the Adriatic. These super fast seaplane connections include an 11-minute flight to Jelsa on the island of Hvar, an 8-minute flight to Vela Luka on the island of Korčula, a 22-minute flight to Ubli on the island of Lastovo, and a 1-hour flight to Pula. The first trans-Adriatic flights between Croatia and Italy began in November 2015 with four weekly flights being offered between Split downtown and Ancona (59 minute flight).

International relations

Split-born US Marine Major Louis Cukela (Čukela), one of 19 two-time recipients of the Medal of Honor.

Twin towns—Sister cities

Split is twinned with:[48]


Split is partnered with:

See also


  1. "Odluka o donošenju Prostornog plana uređenja Grada Splita". Službeni glasnik Grada Splita (in Croatian). City of Split. 13 December 2005. ISSN 1332-6074. Retrieved 8 August 2011. Prostorni plan obuhvaća područje Grada Splita utvrđeno Zakonom o područjima županija, gradova i općina u Republici Hrvatskoj („Narodne novine“ 10/97, 124/97, 68/98, 22/99, 117/99, 128/99, 44/00, 129/00, 92/01, 79/02, 83/02) površine 79,38 km2, a čini ga osam naselja.
  2. "Prostorni plan uređenja Grada Splita" (DOC) (in Croatian). City of Split. p. 1. Retrieved 8 August 2011. Tablica 1. Površine katastarskih općina u obuhvatu grada Splita [...] Katastarske općine Split [...] Površina (ha) 2.212 [...] Ukupno površina Grada Splita 7.938 Izvor: Državna geodetska uprava, Područni ured za katastar Split
  3. 1 2 3 "Population by Age and Sex, by Settlements, 2011 Census: Split". Census of Population, Households and Dwellings 2011. Zagreb: Croatian Bureau of Statistics. December 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  4. Slobodna Dalmacija, "Split kao metropola", Split 28 April 2003
  5. Wilkes, J., Diocletian's Palace, Split : Residence of a Retired Roman Emperor, 17. The name Aspálathos had referred to a white thorn common in the area. Thus, contrary to popular belief, the name "Spalatum" has nothing to do with the Latin word for palace, palatium. According to Wilkes, the erroneous etymology was notably due to Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus.
  6. John Everett-Heath. "Dalmatia." Concise Dictionary of World Place-Names. Oxford University Press. 2005. Encyclopedia.com
  7. Gibbon, Edward. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Modern Library, New York, page 335
  8. C. Michael Hogan, "Diocletian's Palace", The Megalithic Portal, A. Burnham ed, October 6, 2007
  9. Frederick Hamilton Jackson, (1908) The Shores of the Adriatic, J. Murray, 420 pages
  10. "Diocletian's Palace". W3.mrki.info. Retrieved 6 May 2009.
  11. 1 2 John Gardner Wilkinson (1848), "(Spalato)", Dalmatia and Montenegro, London: J. Murray
  12. J. B. Bury, History of the Later Roman Empire, §4, p. 408.
  13. Bury (1923), Vol. II, Ch. XVIII, p. 174
  14. Procopius, De Bello Gothico I.VII
  15. 1 2 3 4 Thomas (Spalatensis, Archdeacon) (1266). "VII-IX". Written at Split. Historia Salonitanorum atque Spalatinorum pontificum [History of the Bishops of Salona and Split] (in Latin). Amsterdam: Johannes Lucius (published 1666).
  16. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Thomas Graham Jackson (1887), "Spalato", Dalmatia, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  17. 1 2 Van Antwerp Fine, John (1991). The Early Medieval Balkans. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0472081497.
  18. Split, Encyclopaedia Britannica
  19. 1 2 3 4 Grga Novak: Prošlost Dalmacije; Knjiga prva - Od najstarijih vremena do Kandijskog rata, Split, Marjan tisak, 2004. p. 48-50
  20. David Luscombe, Jonathan Riley-Smith: The New Cambridge Medieval History IV, c.1024 - c.1198 part II, p. 272
  21. History of Dalmatia: 614 to 802 AD
  22. 1 2 Ferdo Šišić: Povijest Hrvata; pregled povijesti hrvatskog naroda 600. - 1918., Zagreb, p. 153
  23. History: 1301 to 1526 AD
  24. Novak, Grga, Povijest Splita, Split.,1957
  25. The Illyrian Provinces, 1809-1813
  26. Nikola Anić: Povijest Osmog dalmatinskog korpusa Narodnooslobodilačke vojske Hrvatske : 1943.-1945., p. 12
  27. "1941. - Prva ratna godina" [1941. - The first war year]. ratnakronikasplita.com. Udruga antifašističkih boraca i antifašista grada Splita. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  28. Ramet, Sabrina P.; The three Yugoslavias: state-building and legitimation, 1918-2005; Indiana University Press, 2006 ISBN 0-253-34656-8
  29. Cohen, Philip J. (1996). Serbia's Secret War: Propaganda and the Deceit of History. College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press. p. 92. ISBN 978-0-89096-760-7.
  30. "Monthly Climate Values". Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  31. "Climatological Information". World Meteorological Organization. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  32. "Split Climate Normals" (PDF). Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
  33. 1 2 "Population by Ethnicity, by Towns/Municipalities, 2011 Census: County of Split-Dalmatia". Census of Population, Households and Dwellings 2011. Zagreb: Croatian Bureau of Statistics. December 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
  34. "Population by Religion, by Towns/Municipalities, 2011 Census: County of Split-Dalmatia". Census of Population, Households and Dwellings 2011. Zagreb: Croatian Bureau of Statistics. December 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
  35. 1 2 Birnbaum, Henrik; Terras, Victor (1978). International Congress of Slavists, 8. Slavica Publishers. p. 472. ISBN 089357046X.
  36. 1 2 3 4 5 Bousfield, Jonathan (2003). The Rough Guide to Croatia. Rough Guides. p. 293. ISBN 1843530848.
  37. Radovinović, Radovan; Bertić, Ivan, eds. (1984). Atlas svijeta: Novi pogled na Zemlju (in Croatian) (3rd ed.). Zagreb: Sveučilišna naklada Liber.
  38. "Arheološki muzej" [Archaeological Museum] (in Croatian). Retrieved 23 October 2010.
  39. "Muzej hrvatskih arheoloških spomenika" [Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments] (in Croatian). Retrieved 23 October 2010.
  40. "The Split City Museum". Retrieved 23 October 2010.
  41. 1 2 3 "Grad Split" [City of Split] (in Croatian). Retrieved 23 October 2010.
  42. "Prirodoslovni muzej i zooloski vrt" [Natural History Museum and Zoological Gardens] (in Croatian). Retrieved 23 October 2010.
  43. "Galerija umjetnina" [Gallery of Fine Arts] (in Croatian). Retrieved 23 October 2010.
  44. "Meštrović Gallery". Retrieved 16 October 2010.
  45. "Ivan Meštrović Museums". Retrieved 16 October 2010.
  46. Cabinet And Split Participate In Financing Hall
  47. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 "Gradovi prijatelji Splita" [Split Twin Towns]. Grad Split [Split Official City Website] (in Croatian). Archived from the original on 2012-03-24. Retrieved 2013-12-19.
  48. "Mostar Gradovi prijatelji" [Mostar Twin Towns]. Grad Mostar [Mostar Official City Website] (in Macedonian). Archived from the original on 2013-10-30. Retrieved 2013-12-19.
  49. Trondheims offisielle nettsted - Vennskapsbyer
  50. کرمانشاه و اسپیلیت خواهر خوانده می شوند (in Persian). Retrieved 15 March 2012.

Further reading

Published in the 18th century
Published in the 19th century
Published in the 20th century
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