Split is Croatia’s second largest city and famous for the Diocletian Palace founded by Emperor Emeritus in AD 305. Nearby Salona was the capital of Dalmatia and where the Diocletian first built his palace. Christianity was introduced in Salona, and it soon became the metropolitan diocese of Dalmatia until the Avars and Slavs leveled the city in the year 614. Escaping to Split, this is where a new life began. The palace is one of the most preserved monuments of the Late Classical Period in Europe. The heavily protected enclave holds the history of the city.
The palace has four entrances (north, south, east and west), but I entered the south gate located along the riva (the water front walkway where many drink several coffees a day). First walking through the Vestibule, this served as a lobby before the people caught a glimpse of the Diocletian, who claimed to be the son of Jupiter. Inside the vestibule at about 11 a.m. each day during the season, you must stop in to hear the beautiful klapa (acapella) singers. The palace is like a living room for the people of Split. It is so fascinating to see such an old palace be modernized with shops, café bars and cathedrals. The ironic thing about the cathedrals is the Diocletian was the biggest prosecutor of the Christians. The Cathedral used to be the mausoleum during those times. Hidden in one of the walls above the Northgate is the smallest cathedral in the country. Only the thickness of the walls, this was the church for the guards of the Northgate. Step outside of the walls and go up the stairs to the statue of a Bishop (you can’t miss it). You will notice everyone touches his big toe, make a spiritual wish and then continue your tour. A few places I suggest you visit are the fish market, the green (outdoor) market as well as the main square called the piazza.
Trogir is extremely picturesque with a culture influenced by the Greeks, Romans and Venetians. The city was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997 and has a cathedral that cannot be missed, St. Lawrence. By far this is the grandest building in the town and is appreciated mostly for the works of Radovan on the portal of the church. This Romanesque-Gothic style masterpiece was completed and signed in 1240. The portal is divided into two parts, the upper and lower. The stories being told celebrate scenes from the Gospels and the life of Christ. Master Radovan also felt he should incorporate his face into the portal as well, so be sure to keep a lookout. Other must sees in Trogir include a hike up Fortress Kamerlengo and at least a walk through Trogir’s great outdoor market. Of course a sailing adventure is only a few steps away!