|The happy travellers|
Split, like many of the cities in this vicinity, has an interesting history. Being ruled for many years by the Romans, Venetians, Austrians, French for a short time, occupied by the Germans during the second world war and then a thriving boat building city while under the rule of Yugoslavia before Croatia becoming independent. They’ve all had an input and the city feels like that but its certainly the Diocletian Palace that captures your attention. It is of course a Unesco World Heritage site but this also for its gothic and baroque buildings that date from the middle ages as well for its Roman origins.
|One of the entrances in the Palace|
|Not lettuce weather|
Split is the second largest city in Croatia and infact the largest down the whole of this Adriactic Coast. Now a major tourist destination in itself rather than just a transit point. A thriving port that is the gateway to many of the gorgeous islands along the coastline. Sadly 'quiet season' and rough weather meant that the ferry’s weren’t running so we didn’t get the opportunity to head out there.
|Inside the Diocletian Palace|
Rain, rain and more rain with even a wonderful thunder and lighting storm one evening. But we made the most of the dry times and were even lucky enough to witness the wedding celebrations of a young Croatian couple. It was early Saturday evening, as they came out of the church to join their friends and family waiting in the centre square of the Diocletian Palace. There were wonderful fireworks and candles, then a three piece band playing as all ages danced and sang. It felt rather special to being amongst it as they celebrated with such passion and openess in this magical historic environment.
They say that as the streets quieten down and darkness comes that this is one of Croatia’s most romantic spots. We just needed some clear skies to be able to enjoy that but I can imagine it must be glorious at other times of the year.
|Fortress Kameriengo - Trogir|
About thirty kilometres up the Dalmatian Coast is Trogir, a small historic fortified town and port built on an island linked by two bridges. One side comes from the mainland while the other side takes you across to the island of Ciovo with marinas and popular beaches.
Settled in the 3rd century it was famous in the Roman empire because of its wonderful marble. Its only a tiny island but is jam packed with churches, palaces, towers and even a fortress.
There are beautiful Romanesque churches standing right alongside wonderful Renaissance and Baroque buildings from the Venetian period - and is talked about as one of the best preserved medieval towns in all of Central Europe.
Now a thriving tourist resort as you can imagine but still lots of charm and wonderful to just wander through.
Last stop in this area was the ancient Roman city of Solona, founded over 2,000 years ago. Now ruins, this was once the political centre and most prosperous city of the Adriatic with a population of over 60,000 people.
|Solona amphitheatre on a better day|
It is home to an impressive 2nd century amphitheatre which could accommodate 18,000 spectators and who knows how many gladiators were slaughtered here?
We wandered around the other ruins of the ancient churches, cathedral, public baths and even the remains of a covered aqueduct built in the 1st century. Sadly pouring rain meant it was more like a sprint than a sedate stroll enjoying the historic site.