From an obscure port on the Dalmatian coast Split has emerged within just a few years as the go-to destination for holidaymakers looking for thrills, history and the blazing sun of the Mediterranean. Accompanied by the other Croatian gem, Dubrovnik, in its Game of Thrones glory, Split attracts tourists from all over the world, including many boating enthusiasts who opt for a boat rental in Split. However, there are a few things about this beautiful city with a glorious past that most visitors, and even some of its residents, don’t know. Here are some of them.
1. It’s Home to the World’s Oldest Cathedral
Split has the privilege of hosting the world’s oldest Cathedral. Built in the 7th century AD on the remains of the Mausoleum of Diocletian, the Cathedral of Saint Domnius is the oldest Catholic cathedral loyal to its original use without any major changes in its architecture. Beat that Aachen Cathedral…
2. A Boat Rental in Split Can Take You to Pula
Although a major boating hub itself, Split is a stone’s throw from some of Croatia’s most charming sailing destinations, such as Pula, the largest city of Istria. The city is home to some of the best preserved Roman ruins, such as the famous Arena, the only surviving Roman amphitheatre with an intact circle wall. Another major attraction not far from Split is the famous Plitvice Lakes National Park, a place of outstanding natural beauty with its lush vegetation, steep cliffs, waterfalls and 16 lakes. With a boat rental in Split you can also visit the islands of the Dalmatian archipelago.
3. It’s the hometown of Picigin
Split is also the hometown of one of the weirdest water sports in the world. Picigin, as this unique sport is known, is simple and complicated at the same time. Teams of five throw a small rubber ball to each other, provoking all sorts of leaps and dives in the water. Does it sound crazy enough? A visit to Bacvice Beach, the birthplace of the sport, will give you the opportunity to introduce yourself to this Croatian oddity. Please take it seriously, cause the locals definitely do so. Their city hosts the Picigin World Championship (yes, such a tournament exists) every June.
4. It’s perfect for hiking too
Despite its obvious allure to sailing enthusiasts opting for a boat rental in Split, hiking lovers won’t be disappointed either. Marjan hill and the nearby mountains of Mosor and Kozjak are just some of the options you have for a hiking trip on a sunny day.
5. It’s a major sports hub
Few cities in Europe have such a rich tradition in sports. Suffice to say that Split is the city with most Olympic medal winners per capita. As for team sports, Split is the home city of the legendary basketball team Yugoplastica, named ‘team of the century’ by FIBA, the international basketball association, and including in its ranks NBA legends such as Toni Kukoc and Dino Radja (both Split natives).
6. Bravos is here
The Diocletian’s Palace is by far Split’s most famous tourist attraction, coming under the spotlight for its use as a setting in the TV series Game of Thrones. But Split is also home to the gracious palaces of Meereen and Bravos. Visit Kliss fortress to follow the steps of Daenerys, the mother of Dragons, in Meereen and Kastel Gomilica to marvel at the splendour of the city of Bravos. For something more royal you need to decamp to Dubrovnik, home to King’s Landing and the legendary throne.
7. It’s literally a flower city
Surely you will be wondering what the name ‘Split’ means. And no, Moses did not split the sea here. The explanation is rather more prosaic, as the name according to one theory derives from the yellow roses that abound on the hills of the city and the surrounding areas. The flower is known as Spanish (or weaver’s or spiny) broom in English, but in ancient Greek it was called ‘Aspalathos’. It gave its name to the original ancient Greek settlement that later became Spalatium in Roman times. You can guess the rest of the story.