Old Town, Split
Actually it is called Trg Brace Radic but if you ask to the locals where it is your question could be unanswered. For the locals it is simply known as Vocni Trg and nobody call it otherwise then that. In some passed times it used to be very busy fruit market.
It is nice and peacefull square with the monumental statue of Marko Marulic, 15th century poet from Split. The statue is work of famous Croatian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic.
The Milesi Palace dominating the whole square, an 18th century building made in the Baroque style. The palace is characteristic for its groud-floor shopwindows.
Opposite to the Milesi Palace stands the big tower which is the only remains of the former 15th century Venetian Castle. The castle was built for military purpose, in order to protect the port of Split.
Oh, I love this spot and now when am watching photos I regret not to make any black/white photo, am sure it would be much more attractive.
Anyway, Stara Ura (the Old Town Clock) is the spot which you can miss while exploring the old core of Split. It is Renaissance clock, separated with Roman numerals in 24 parts, raised on the remains of the Roman Tower, and with the small but exceptionally beautifull bell tower on its top.
Narodni Trg is the largest open space inside the old core of the town, actually it is situated right next to the western gates to the Diocletian's Palace. The locals call it simpy "Pjaca".
Pjaca was first time mentioned in the 13th century, under the name "Sirina svetoga Lovre". Such a squares have big importance for the life style of the Mediterraneans, it is the heart of the city, it's soul and the usual meeting point for all the ages. Drinking espresso at Pjaca and meeting friends here is part of the daily routine for most of the locals.
The first City Hall dominates the whole square. It is 15th century palace with the beautiful Gothic decorations. Right next to it is the Renaissance palace of the long gone aristocratic family Karepic with the exceptional coat of arm on its facade.
When you reach the point where the western gate to the city walls stands you might be confused by so many spots there. There are so many walls, gates, arcades, towers and it's not easy to detect wheter it all belong to the complex of the western gates or each spot representating part of individual object.
Gospe od Zvonika (the Church of Our Lady), however, dominates the whole area. It is small church of St. Theodor, out of use now and serving as a gallery for the ocasional exsibitions only. On the top of it stands the bell tower, from 11th entury, representating the unique remain of an monument built in Pre-Romanesque style.
Unfortunately, the Temple of Jupiter was under the major reconstructions works by the time of my visit (Aprile 2006), but as I was told, the works will be finished before high summer season starts.
What used to be the Temple of Jupiter in Roman times, later on was transformed into the Cathedral's baptistery of St. Ivan (St.John). The arrogant catholic church, us usually, did many changes to the previous sacral objects, all over Europe, transforming them into the new era cathedrals, churches, monasteries.
It seems Dominicans have been invited to Split in early 13th century and they founded the monastery in 1245, outside the city walls as all other orders did it. During time the church has been built, the order used small church of St.Katarine for the services. Later on, when the church was finished the Dominicans transfered cult of St.Katarine to the new church.
In 1658, fearing of Ottomans invasion, the city authorities decided to demolish the church and the monastery, using its stones for builting strong fortress of Gripe. Somewhere at the end of the 17th century the church was rebuilt, this time in Baroque style.
The monastery is known for its rich library and archive.
This are the only remains of what used to be big Benedictine Monastery. The monastery was built in 1069, outside the sity walls, like all other monasteries of the time. During rule of Napoleon in Dalmatia, the monastery was closed in 1807, along as many other churches and monasteries. During Napoleon era, some very fine churches and monasteries, of great historical and art value, were transformed into stables, not in Dalmatia only, even in Venice.
The Benedictine Monastery was closed in 1807, after it was totally destroyed in big fire and was never reconstructed again. The nearby bell tower of St. Arnir belonged to the monastery and it is the only part which was preserved, along with partly preserved small chapel of St. Arnir, built in Rennaissance style and work of famous builder Juraj Dalmatinac.
Just opposite to the northern walls of the Diocletian's Palace there is fine city park in ecliptic shape. It is called Strossmayer Park but no citizen of Split call it that name, to the locals it is simply known as Giardin (coming from the Italian name for the park).
The park was laid out in 1860 and only recently it was cleaned and reconstructed, becoming again charming place and one of favourite walking place. For many years the park was known as a place which is better to avoid, especially after dark. Criminal, prostitution and drug addicted were eliminated from here, hope for good.
My original plan was to stay onboard the ship whilst it docked in Split. However at the last minute I decided to disembark as Split looked wonderful from the boat. I'm so glad I did! I toured independently for a couple of hours or so taking in the sights. I saw the Diocletian Palace, St Duje Cathedral, the Roman Mausoleum, the City Square, 'Prokurative' Republic Square, Riva Waterfront and the Harbour. This wander gave me a taste of what Split has to offer and look forward to returning in the not too distant future.
Marmontova might be the the smartest shopping street in town, but the canniest shoppers in the vicinity are actually heading for the fresh fish market - the Peskarija - which lies just a little further west. It's not very big but you can see by the bright eyes and scales of the fish on sale that everything's a fresh as can be.
Fish, shellfish, clams and mussels, squid and octopus - it's all here. Watch your feet the mosaic floor is constantly being washed down.
You'll need to come early in the day if you want to see the market at its busy best - just as the early bird catches the worm, the early shopper gets the best choice of the catch and by mid-morning the market is quietening down - lunch time and it's pretty well all over.
The old town is small, but it's UNESCO protected and barely touched by modernity. The buildings all use local stone in an Italianate style. The Venetians were mostly responsible for this. They bought the city while they strip mined this side of the Adriatic for the wood they needed to build their merchant navy.
The old town's tight narrow streets are easy to get lost in, and are wonderfully cool during hot summer days. The shadows offer respite from the smoldering sun, but you have to wade through the flood of tourists. The cool streets also make for a perfect lunch spot, but again you'll have to pay a premium because of the crowds.
The Emperor had his residence in the south half of the complex that overlooks the Riva and harbor, as well as public buildings and cult structures were there. This is the raised portion of the inner section above the substructure of the Peristile, the main courtyard and gathering place. They divided the town in half with an east/west cardo. The north section with a main cardo separating it is less preserved and housed soldiers, and servants in its time. Today there are residents living along the north wall. There were 4 gates to the old town and they are named after metals; iron gate to the west, Golden gate is north, Silver gate is east and Bronze gate is south that goes under the substructure to the Riva Blvd. The old town area has 220 buildings from the era and all seem well preserved still.
The Fish Market or Rivarnica is located on the right side just off Marmontova. Whether you actually see some fish depends on the time of the day. We just saw a few left over before closing time. Best visit there in the morning.
Runing from Placja down to the Riva, marble-paved Marmontova is definitely the smart end of town. Lined with expensive shops, it's always thronged with people.
Just a little further west, at its southern end, you'll find Trg Brace Radic (Radice Brothers Square) Well, that's what the map says, hereabouts everyone calls it Vocni trg (Fruit Square)from the days when a fruit market was held here. Today it is a just a lovely big square, lined with attractive buildings and the ubiquitous cafes and shops
In front of the 18th century Milesi Palace there's a modern statue of Marko Marulic, a 15th century poet from Split whose use of the Croatian language for his work was unique at that time. The shops built into the ground floor of the palace have the traditional Dalmatian feature door and window combination known as na koljeno - "on the knee"
As with Placja, Vocni Trg is illuminated at night and very popular with locals and tourists alike.
this years diocletian's night is on 26th july and it lasts all day and night, it will be more interesting because more people know about it and they are dressing up in roman outfits, so if u wanna come dress in roman toga, last year whoever was in roman toga could participate in all events and join diocletian himself and the entourage on massive feste in palace, rest of people not dressed stayed out on riva.so who ever want to come have some great roman fun and do what romans do. hehehe. it means party party party. hehehe