Split: City With a Funny Name

Radic Brothers Square, known locally as Vocni Square, or Fruit Square, because of a fruit market that once operated there.

Radic Brothers Square, known locally as Vocni Square, or Fruit Square, because of a fruit market that once operated there.

SPLIT, Croatia — The second-largest city in Croatia, Split boasts a beautiful site on the Adriatic Sea because a long-ago Roman emperor knew how to choose a spot for living out his retirement years.

A rendering giving an idea of how Diocletian’s Palace probably looked with first built in the late third/early fourth centuries. The south side rose straight from the water.

A rendering giving an idea of how Diocletian’s Palace probably looked with first built in the late third/early fourth centuries. The south side rose straight from the water.

Diocletian, who was born in the area, was unique among Roman emperors: He lived long enough to have a retirement, and he exercised the option.

While still on the job, he built his retirement “home,” a walled palace that covers about seven and a half acres. For about 300 years after his death in 316, the Romans used the property as a luxury hotel of sorts.

In the seventh century, with the Romans gone and marauding tribes on the scene, area residents made a new home inside the palace walls for better protection.

The entire town lived in the palace until people began settling on the outside in the 13th century. Today, 99 percent of Split’s roughly 200,000 people live outside the walls. [Read more...]

Pages: 1 2