Interesting Facts About Split
Interesting Facts About Split
Did you know Split was founded by a Roman emperor? Or that some of the scenes from Game of Thrones are filmed in Split? Or that Split is considered to be one of the sportiest cities in the world? These are just a few interesting facts about Split and if you what to know more, explore this amazing city with us.
Split was founded by the Roman Emperor Diocletian
The Roman emperor Diocletian lived from 245 to 316 AD, and in history, he is known as one of the greatest reformers of the Roman Empire. He introduced a system of a simultaneous ruling by four rulers known as the tetrarchy. Also, he was the only Roman emperor who abdicated without coercion.
He considered himself a god and son of God Jupiter and was a merciless persecutor of the Christians. During his reign, some of the greatest and bloodiest purges of Christians occurred.
According to belief, he originated from a poor family, from the village of Mravinci near Split. From early on, he started military service, and thanks to his brilliant military career, many years later he sat on the imperial throne.
Outstanding geographical accommodation, strategically safe position and favourable climate were the main reasons why Emperor Diocletian raised his magnificent palace here, in which he spent his retirement days. It is believed that Diocletian’s desire to spend his retirement days in his homeland, had an important role in picking that geographical position.
It is important to mention, that the area around the palace is a rich source of sulfur water. Sulfur has beneficial effects for people suffering from rheumatic diseases. It is believed that this was the case with Diocletian, considering that he was a hardened warrior and military veteran.
It is interesting facts about Splits that Diocletian’s Palace is the largest and well-preserved late antique palace in the world. The building of the palace lasted for 10 years and was never fully completed.
Emperor Diocletian lived in the palace with his wife Priscilla and daughter Valeria until his death in 316 AD. It is believed that he didn’t die of a natural cause but was poisoned. His body was laid in a coffin in the imperial mausoleum, which was built for the emperor. Later his mausoleum would become a Christian cathedral, and the sarcophagus with the emperor’s body was never found. What a twist of history.
His pictures and sculptures were not preserved, but his physiognomy can be seen on Roman money from that time. After the death of Emperor Diocletian’s the palace was not abandoned but remained under the authority of Rome.
The last legitimate Western Roman Emperor was murdered in Split
After Germanic tribes, led by Odoacer, conquered Rome in 476 AD, the Roman Empire remained in Dalmacija where Julius Nepot ruled. As he was about to invade Apennine Peninsula and Rome to bring them back to the Roman rule, Odoacer spies poisoned him. It is believed this occurred in Diocletian’s palace. With the death of Julius Nepot, the Western Roman Empire officially ceased.
Split Cathedral with the bell tower of St. Domnius
Split Cathedral is the only cathedral in the world which is located in 17 centuries-old Roman imperial mausoleum. Therefore, some consider it to be the oldest cathedral in the world. Definitely yet another interesting fact about Split.
It is named after St. Domnius, patron saint of Split. Although born in Syria, as a missionary he came to Salona, which was the capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia. According to the order of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, he was tortured and executed along with 45 other Christian martyrs in 304 AD in the Salona Amphitheater. The remains of St Domnius are in the crypt below Morlaiter’s altar in the Split Cathedral.
Besides the cathedral, in 1100 AD the impressive bell tower of St Domnius was built. Yet today it is one of the original church bells on the Adriatic coast. Due to the extremely long period of construction, it is a combination of Romanesque and Gothic architecture.
The bell tower is remarkable for its thinness and transparency, steps narrowing toward the top and interpolation into the ancient architectural environment.
From the top of the bell tower, there is a magnificent view of the city centre, a nearby Marjan Hill and the islands in front of Split. From its construction until the present day, the bell tower has remained a recognizable landmark of Split.
A special feature of Split fish market is that there are no flies. It was built on a site below sources of sulfur water, the smell deters flies and other pests.
Sportiest city in the world
Split is often referred to as one of the world’s most sporting cities, given that it has the highest number of Olympic stars in the world per capita. So far, 75 Split athletes have won a total of 94 Olympic medals in 11 sports. 19 of them have won the Olympic medal twice.
The city of Split has set up boards with names of Olympic winners on the main promenade to pay tribute to their achievements. Goran Ivanisevic, the former second tennis player in the world is from Split. He was the only tennis player in the world who appeared on call (Wild Card) and won Wimbledon in 2001.
A special feature is that Split established the first Croatian national team in the bobsleigh that qualified and performed at the Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City.
Basketball club Split is the only basketball club in the world to win three consecutive titles at the European Championship in 1989, 1990 and 1991. Therefore, World Basketball Organization (FIBA) declared their basketball team the best team in the world of all the time.
Some of the past players have become true world sports legends. Like Toni Kukoc, who won three NBA champion rings with the Chicago Bulls playing alongside Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and others. Zan Tabak won one NBA title playing for the Houston Rockets, and Dino Radja who played in Boston Celtics is a member of the American Hall of fame athletes.
If this is not an interesting fact about Split, I don’t know what is.
Football Club Hajduk
The Hajduk football club was founded as far back as 1911, by students from Split who studied in Prague. Ever since Hajduk remained favorite football team and a unique symbol of the city.
In 1926, the great Split composer Ivo Tijardović wrote the operetta the Queen of the Ball. It was a gift to Hajduk for its 15th birthday. Today Hajduk is the only football club in the world that has its own operetta.
The Second World War probably brought the brightest episode in Hajduk’s history when the club refused to play in the Italian league, as it was imposed from the fascist occupation authorities.
The entire Hajduk team went to the island of Vis, which was free territory under British protection. There club activity was restored and until the end of the WW2 Hajduk performed as an anti-fascist football club.
The match, which Hajduk played against the British military team in Bari was the best-attended sports event in the WW2. It was watched by 40,000 people.
General Charles de Gaulle in 1945, proclaimed Hajduk honorary team of free France.
The Hajduk fans founded in 1950 one of the first organized football support groups in Europe, was named Torcida, after the Brazilian model.
Game of Thrones filming locations
One of the most popular TV series Game of Thrones was for many years shot on location in Diocletian’s palace, Klis fortress, Kastel Gomilica and the town of Trogir. Fans of this series are usual visitors of Split and its surroundings. It should be noted that in the city centre a Museum of Game of Thrones has opened, where you can see many of the props used during the filming of the series and buy original souvenirs.
Diocletian’s Palace was the perfect choice to film this series especially because it did not require many special effects. It has served as a place where dragons were guarded, and in it, scenes of slave rebellions were filmed. The places where some scenes were filmed are located in the basement of the palace, Papalić street, the Peristyle, and are available for tourists to visit throughout the year.
Klis is a medieval fortress that you can see in Game of Thrones as a city of Meeren, conquered by Daenerys Targaryen. In the past, the fortress had a defensive function especially during the time of the defence from the Ottoman Empire. Here the Mongols experienced the first defeat after a successful break in Europe. Today, Klis is a popular tourist destination where many cultural manifestations are held. Certainly, the most interesting events are reminiscent of some of the most important medieval battles.
Kastel Gomilica is recognizable by its Kaštilac built-in 1529 by the Split benedictine in order to protect itself from the Ottoman attacks. It is not a separate tower, nor a fortified nobleman’s court, but a fortified estate. Kaštel was connected to the land by a long bridge on arches, which had a wooden bridge near the cove. At the location of the Castle, the Game of Thrones scene was shot in which Arya Star appears in the city of Braavos.
ULTRA – Europe Music Festival
Ultra Europe is one of the leading and most famous electronic music festivals, which holds for 7 years in June at one of the most beautiful European stadiums – Poljud. According to the estimates of the organizers, the festival will visit more than 150,000 electronic music fans from 140 countries around the globe. Thanks to this event, Split is included on the map of the world’s leading lifestyle destinations, and with the ultimate music festival, it becomes the European version of Miami.
The festival features famous world DJs such as Afrojack, David Guetta, The Chainsmokers, Carl Cox, DJ Snake, Alesso, Armin van Buuren, Richie Hawtin, Above & Beyond and Swedish House Mafia. It is a real treat for all electronic music lovers.