Croatia’s city of Split: First among 10 most alluring world heritage sites to live in

Split, Croatia

According to Simon Thurley of Financial Times, the city of Split, that is the Diocletian Palace complex, is the most alluring world heritage place to live in.  The 10 most alluring places are listed as follows:

1. Split, Croatia, inscribed 1979: live in the remains of an ancient Roman palace.

2. The Stone Town of Zanzibar, Tanzania, inscribed 2000: Swahili trading port that time passed by.

3. Bruges, Belgium, inscribed in 2000: great food in romantic medieval streets.

4. Old Havana, Cuba, inscribed in 1982: gently decaying bohemian charm.

5. Campeche, Mexico, inscribed 1999: beguiling fortified colonial port on the Caribbean.

6. Venice, Italy, inscribed 1987: so famous it hardly needs to be a world heritage site.

7. Carcassonne, France, inscribed 1997: medieval fantasy, but beware tourist blight.

8. City of Bath, UK, inscribed 1987: elegance, sophistication and shopping.

9. Medina of Marrakech, inscribed 1985: more shopping, in old-world Arab centre.

10. Macao, China, inscribed in 2005: east meets west in cosmopolitan port.

Croatia has several places listed under the World Heritage:

Old City of Dubrovnik, Historic Complex of Split with the Palace of Diocletian, Plitvice Lakes National Park, Episcopal Complex  of Euphrasian Basilica in the Historic Centre of Porec, Historic City of Trogir, Cathedral of St James in Sibenik, and Stari Grad Plain (on Island of Hvar).

Diocletian’s Palace is a building in Split, Croatia, that was built by the Roman emperor Diocletian at the turn of the fourth century AD.

Diocletian Palace, Split, Croatia

Diocletian built the massive palace in preparation for his retirement on 1 May 305 AD. He was born in December 244 AD, in Salona (Solin, Croatia) and was Roman emperor 284 – 303 AD; died in Split 3011. His tomb was later turned into a Christian church, the Cathedral of St Domnius, which still stands within his palace in Split.

Diocletian's Palace; drawing of original palace by E. Hebrard

After the Romans abandoned the site, the Palace remained empty for several centuries. In the 7th century nearby residents fled to the walled palace to escape invading barbarians. Since then the palace has been occupied, with residents making their homes and businesses within the palace basement and directly in its walls. Today many restaurants and shops, and some homes, can still be found within the walls.

Thomas Swick, Travel Editor in his “Croatian Pop” essay captured the spirit of Split as he described his visit to Diocletian’s palace complex:

I slid through more right-angled alleys that deposited me into an hallucination: a sunken square hemmed in by antiquities. The delicate remains of a colonnade filigreed one side, and the skeletal façade of a temple, now buttressed by brick… Spotlights dramatized the age-blackened columns, giving the scene a crumbling magnificence, while the cafe tables spread across the peristyle provided a jarring contemporary note. So that welded onto the indoor/outdoor motif – niches and statuary under the stars – was the even more compelling one of ancient and modern: teenagers flirting on ruinous walls; couples drinking in the shadow of the gods. It was like stumbling upon a cocktail party in the Roman Forum”.

Diocletian’s Palace far transcends local importance because of its degree of preservation. The Palace is one of the most famous and complete architectural and cultural features on the Croatian Adriatic coast. As the world’s most complete remains of a Roman palace, it holds an outstanding place in Mediterranean, European and world heritage. Indeed, a most alluring and wonderful place to live. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps.(Syd)


  1. I also love Split, because its the most beautiful city in croatia! Especially Marjan is a great place!

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