Sun and storms in spectacular Split

Trip Start Aug 11, 2009
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Trip End Sep 30, 2010


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Where I stayed
Hostel Pletkovic

Flag of Croatia  ,
Saturday, September 4, 2010

The old town of Split is centered on Diocletian's palace, a fortified palace built by the good old Roman emperor Diocletian (what a surprise) back in the 4th Century AD as his retirement villa. Rather morbidly, the huge complex is centered on his mausoleum, although as the city has been modified and lived in ever since, the mausoleum has been rather predictably turned into an oddly shaped church. (Just add bell tower, instant church). 
Just outside one of the four grand entrance gates is a statue rather reminiscent of Dumbledore. It is actually Gregorius of Nin (does that clear it up for you?) a 10th century bishop revered for standing up to the pope and insisting on Croatian language services in addition to Latin. People visit the statue to rub his shiny gold toes for luck.

We climbed Mount Marjan, the hill on the end of the Split peninsular and followed a walking trail along its length. Along the way were two churches and a tiny monastery built into the rock. Near the end of the peninsular we found a beach on which to relax and enjoy the sunshine in front of crystal clear water. Still finding the concept of an ozone layer rather novel, we got plenty of odd looks as we coated ourselves in sunscreen. Everyone else was using coconut oil.

A day trip from Split took us to the Roman ruins of Salona, nowadays the town of Solin. A prosperous city when Diocletian built his palace 8km away in Split, it was attacked by invading Slavs in the 7th century whereby the locals abandoned it for the security of Split's solid walls (thanks Diocletian). Roman theaters and bathhouses vie for space next to farmed olive groves and fruit orchards and houses sit right on the edge of the amphitheater. The morning was a manic combination of heavy rain showers and blistering sunshine, so we viewed the site by running from sheltering tree to shady tree. In the afternoon we took in Trogir, another refuge for fleeing citizens of Salona back in the 7th century AD. Trogir has an older history, dating from Greek times, but has been consistently inhabited since, earning it UNESCO heritage status for the old town of cobblestones and churches. 
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