Eastern European Narratives: Split


Zagreb is Croatia’s Capital and largest city, with a population of just over 800,000. Split is Croatia’s second largest city, and at 300,000 population the largest city within the Dalmatian region. Situated on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea, the city is spread out along a central peninsula.

Home to Diocletian’s Palace, built for the Roman emperor in AD 305, Split was founded as the Greek colony of Aspalathos in the 3rd or 2nd century BC. It became a prominent settlement around 650 AD when it succeeded the ancient capital of the Roman province, Solana.

Split became a Byzantine city, while later gradually drifting into the sphere of the Republic of Venice and the kingdom of Croatia. For much of the High and Middle ages, Split enjoyed autonomy as a free city, caught in the middle of a struggle between Venice and the King of Hungary for control over the Dalmatian cities.

Venice eventually prevailed and during the early modern period Split remained a Venetian city — a heavily fortified outpost surrounded by Ottoman territory. Its hinterland was won from the Ottomans in the Morean War of 1699; in 1797, as Venice fell to Napoleon in the Treaty of Campo Formio, Split went to the Hapsburg Monarchy. In 1805, the Peace of Pressburg added Split to the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy, becoming part of the Illyrian Provinces in 1809. After being occupied in 1813, it was eventually granted to the Austrian Empire following the Congress of Vienna; the city remained a part of the Austrian Kingdom of Dalmatia until the fall of Austria-Hungary in 1918. Reoccupied by Germany in WWII, Split was part of the puppet State of Croatia. It was liberated again by partisans in 1944 and became part of post-war Socialist Yugoslavia. In 1991, Croatia seceded from Yugoslavia during the Croatian War of Independence.

Centrally situated along the Dalmatian Coast, over the last five years Split has become very much the center of Croatia’s rapidly-growing tourism trade, with its proximity to Italy, miles of Adriatic shore line and countless close and lovely Croatian islands. And its weather is classically Mediterranean!

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