SPLIT , CROATIOA
Growing up in Los Angeles, I’m used to seeing film sets and locations in real life but the town of Split brought forth a whole new world of fantasy in some very familiar looking locations. One of these locations is Diocletian’s Palace, which takes up half of the old town in Split. The palace is known for its high degree of preservation, especially the basement which is still intact to this day. Its preservation was most likely due to the fact that garbage had been thrown into this area and prevented anyone from entering until it was excavated in the 1950s. While it is an active market for tourists on most days, it was also used in the filming of Game of Thrones to house the dragons.
Though no fictional dragons inhabited other parts of the palace, the impressive vestibule offered its own impressive spectacle. What used to be the entrance to Diocletian’s living quarters, the vestibule’s shape gives it the perfect acoustics for the klapa singers that perform there regularly. Klapa music is a traditional form of a capella singing in Croatia, and has its roots in church singing. As the group serenaded us, their notes carried through as we made our way to the Cathedral of Saint Domnius, named after the patron saint of Split. Outside of the church one can spot a set of sphinx statues imported from ancient Egypt. Christians have decapitated most of the sculptures, but some still remain and are an interesting sight next to the Corinthian style columns.
The Old Town of Split is a menagerie of small winding streets and buildings, which are a wonder to stroll through. “Let Me Pass Street” is one of these amusing attractions. Only wide enough to let one person pass through, the street is known as the most narrow in the world. Another joy to see while strolling around is the number of cats in the city. Most of them are friendly, and judging by their size they are well fed by the rat population. Nevertheless, because these streets are so narrow and tourists are known to bump into many people, pickpockets are an issue. Our tour guide warned us that many pickpockets actually dress up as tourists and hold expensive cameras to disguise themselves.
As our day in Split drew to an end, we found ourselves enjoying the setting sun at the Riva. The Riva is a pedestrian area by the shore where locals and tourists gather to enjoy a drink or just sit and take in the view. Whether it’s the evening and you’re sipping at some coffee or later at night with some wine, the Riva is a great place to relax after strolling through Split and a perfect stopping point, until next time.( Stc / IM )