My brother Josh and I concluded our Croatian trip at what ended up being one of my favorite places in the country. Split is a gorgeous city, and the atmosphere and architecture reminded me of the summer I spent in Sicily.
The heart of Split is Diocletian’s Palace, one of the world’s most impressive ancient Roman monuments.
Outside the palace looms a statue of medieval bishop Grgur Ninski (Gregory of Nin). I’m not sure what look the artist was going for, but Gregory looks like he’s condemning the entire city!
See how big he is!
Once you step through the gates of Diocletian’s Palace, you’re greeted by a labyrinth of narrow streets leading to bars, restaurants and shops.
The main square is stunningly Roman, and is a testament to the care that Roman emperor Diocletian put into building his great stone palace.
Along the steps of the square, you’ll find cushions and small wooden tables set out by a local restaurant.
It was too adorable not to sit down for a drink! I ordered a local chardonnay.
And Josh sampled one of Croatia’s most famous beers, Ožujsko. He liked it, but thought that Croatian Karlovačko was better.
It was the perfect spot for a drink, and allowed us to listen to live music and take in the sights as the sun went down.
Then afterwards, we decided to explore a bit on our way to dinner.
As this was originally a Roman palace, Egyptian influences (Rome did conquer Egypt after all) were everywhere. Apparently there is a big headless black granite sphinx nearby. We never found it, and instead only found a sphinx with its head. How disappointing!
The corridors underneath the palace would have been creepy if it weren’t for the overwhelming presence of gift shops. I think I would have preferred creepy!
Split is absolutely beautiful at night, when the imposing monuments are lit up against the night sky.
Once you leave Diocletian’s Palace, the rest of central Split is decidedly more modern, but equally beautiful.
Split is just as pretty in the daytime, when the streets come alive with people.
The city is known for its fish market, so we made sure to stop by and look at the unique varieties of local fish.
Before we left, we took one final walk along the Riva.
On our way out of the city, we drove past dozens of pop-up fruit and olive oil stalls. Josh and I each bought bottles of olive oil which the owner told us had been made at his family’s olive orchard, just up the road.
It was delicious, and ended up being one of my favorite souvenirs of such a memorable city.