About Žrnovnica and Split
Žrnovnica is a settlement located east/northeast of Split. It is part of the City of Split. It is located at the foot of Mosor mountain, on its south side and on the west/north side of Perun hill, along the river Žrnovnica.
In the chronicles from the famous Republic of Poljice was written that the Roman emperor Diocletian around 243 - 316 BC - had a hunting lodge at Gračići. Around Crpala was the main building material for the Imperial palace building in Split. The name Žrnovnica is mentioned for the first time in 1080. The history of Split is over-flowingly rich and turbulent to fit in just a couple of sentences. Although the Split area was earlier inhabited by the Greek colonies, Emperor Diocletian should be considered its first citizen and founder, starting his lavish villa of around 300 square meters near the great city of Salona in 293 AD, only to retire from the Roman throne within its walls after building it for ten years. Turbulent centuries that followed turned the villa into a city, conceived by the fugitive inhabitants of Salona who fled from the Avars and Slavs. Many authorities changed hands in the city which, in the years to come, grew beyond the Palace walls, from the Croatian Kings in the 10th century, through the Hungarian and Venetian administration, to the French rulers and the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. Modern age and the 20th century "moved" Split from the kingdom of Yugoslavia, through tragic, yet heroic times of the Italian and German occupation during the Second World War when Split was one of the centres of anti-fascist resistance, to the Socialist Yugoslavia and the present period of the free and independent Croatia, member of the European Union.
The story of Split is already 17 centuries old, dating to the time the Roman Emperor Diocletian decided to build his Palace right on the peninsula near the great Roman city Salona, where he wanted to spend the last years of his life. During these 1700 years the Palace slowly turned into a city, which to this day lures with its rich tradition, glorious history and beauty of its natural and cultural heritage.
Diocletian Palace and the entire historical core of Split have been on the World Heritage UNESCO list ever since 1979, and not only for the extraordinary preservation of the Palace, but also because the Palace and its city (or the city and its Palace, if you like) continue to live a full life. All historical layers from the old Rome, middle ages till today are still visible and alive in this structure. A walk through the ancient city takes you through time, along the great examples of ancient architecture like Peristyle, the middle aged Romanesque Church and Gothic Palace, Renaissance portals of the noblemen’s houses, Baroque facades and modern architecture superbly merged in the rich heritage.
Such stratification is mirrored in everyday life of Split. Local inhabitants sit in the same cafes, restaurants, shop in the same stores as tourists, giving them the impression that, by arriving to Split, they became a part of the city and its rhythm. The vegetable market and the fish market represent the centre of each family’s life in Split, just as the entire social life of this city of 200 thousand reflects on the Riva (waterfront), where every guest should endeavour to have his coffee alongside noisy, temperamental folk of Split.
Split is much more than glorious architectural scenery. Split is also a venue for excellent gourmet and vine experiences, numerous cultural happenings like film and theatre festivals, exhibitions, excellent museums and concerts, a city which offers eclectic modes of entertainment starting with numerous clubs and bars, through street festivals to events such as Ultra Europe Festival visited each year by up to 100 thousand young people from around one hundred countries of the world. Split with its sport results is something only a handful of cities of similar size around the world can boast about as it is the home of a dozen Olympic medal winners as well as other sports medals.
When you tire of the city bustle, there’s Marjan, hill symbol over the city, with its forest, jogging trails, mountain climbing and biking, recreational terrains, but also the ancient churches where the late citizens of Split sought spiritual peace. Also very unusual to find in a city the size of Split are the numerous beaches with extraordinarily clean sea, from the well known Bačvice to the stone secluded oases’ all around Marjan.
After all that’s said are you at all surprised that citizens of Split have a saying "There is no place like Split”?
What to visit in Split?
Rule number one – start with the most important sights, in other words, Diocletian Palace and the city core, including the most important city’s promenade Riva. The second “step”, if you have the time for it, should include Marjan and, depending on the time, one of the city’s beaches, maybe Bačvice, famous for “picigin”, a unique game founded on that very spot. What is really important, even during this kind of a quick tour, is that the most important part of urban life takes place right there, so your sightseeing tour will not be just a hectic rush from one monument to the next, but also an opportunity to join the locals in their everyday life.
Don’t miss testing your luck and making your wishes come true by touching the big toe of the grandiose statue of the Gregory of Nin, the work of the great Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović. The grand Golden gate, used only by the Emperor Diocletian and his family, will then come before you, the gate that, in the Roman era, led to Salona, the biggest city on the eastern shore of the Adriatic at the time.
Enter the Palace, like an Emperor, and visit its ancient medieval streets and squares, pass through the narrowest street of the city “Let me pass” right next to the old Jupiter’s temple, and lose your way in the maze of the former imperial living quarters, only make sure that your lost path leads you through the Vestibule right onto the central imperial square – Peristyle.
Here, we’re talking about one of the most important examples of Late Roman architecture, displaying a 3500 year old Egyptian sphinx, with a bell tower rising right above the Cathedral of St. Dujam, patron of city. The church found its place in the former imperial mausoleum, making it one of the oldest christian buildings in the world.
During the summer, every day at noon, you can be a part of the changing of the Diocletian guards, with the appearance and a salutation by the Emperor himself to the locals and the guests alike. After that, continue towards the Riva, but this time go through the Diocletian palace substructures - a former storage facility for everyday needs of the palace inhabitants, today one of the greatest tourist attractions of Split, a location where numerous scenes of the popular TV series Game of Thrones were filmed.
A place that certainly should not be missed is the city’s main marketplace also called "Pazar", an explosion of colours, odours and flavours of Dalmatia and the Mediterranean. The market will then lead you, through the Silver gate, right back into the Diocletian Palace and onto the main Roman street – Decumanus, following this street you will reach the west, Iron Gate. Now look up and endeavour to guess the time on the old city clock, one of the very few counting 24 digits.
The People’s Square or Pjaca, as the local’s call it, will open up before you, representing the central venue of the city’s social life, ever since the medieval times. You will find the Old Gothic Town hall standing in its centre. Stroll along from the Pjaca to the 120 year old fish market and then through the ever vigorous Marmont Street out on to the Prokurative, the gloriously wonderful square resembling the Venetian’s St Mark’s Square.
If you still have some time left, you can explore further towards the old fishing port Matejuška, the former cemetery in the Sustipan Park or take a walk through the streets of Varoš to the Belvedere at Marjan hill and enjoy in the spectacular view of the city, right next to the old Jewish cemetery. Let your tour end with the Sports Walk of Fame on the west side of the Riva among all the winners of Olympic medals from Split. Of course, you can also simply sit in one of the cafe’s and give in to the favourite local pass time – sipping coffee and observing the vibrancy of life around you.
All these are only a step away from apartment Tony. We wish you pleasent stay in beautiful little place Žrnovnica and Split!
Source of information: Split tourist board