Before visiting Split, it’s handy to know the history, otherwise the whole place can be a bit confusing. Today Split is large Croatian city of about 200,000 citizens. Split is the economic and administrative center of Central Dalmatia, and a large tourist area. The history of Split is fascinating. Split was first settled at the end of the third century AD, when the Roman Emperor Diocletian built his retirement palace here. He is actually the person who invented retirement. As the longest reigning Emperor in the history of Rome, he decided that 20 years was enough. He built a palatial palace near his home town of Salonae (present day Solin) Dalmatia, along the banks of the Adriatic and setup his version of housekeeping. This included several hundred soldiers, slaves, and other assorted personal. Diocletian lived in the palace for another 10 years before his death in 305 AD. He was placed inside his mausoleum and rested peacefully for around 300 years.
In the 7th Century the inhabitants of Salonae sought refuge from the Avars and the Slavs inside the palace walls. Salonae, once the central economic city in Dalmatia with over 60,000 residents was destroyed completely. Over the ensuing years the inhabitants of Diocletian’s Palace built their own structures inside and around the palace walls. They even cut holes in the ground and dumped their waste in side the cavernous basement of the Palace.
Today, the Palace is still largely intact, as are the centuries old buildings that overtook it. It’s a strange amalgamation of styles and buildings. As a top Croatian tourist destination we found excellent shops, restaurants, and local life.