After a 10-hour ferry departing from Italy, we arrived in Split (Croatia), a beautiful coastal city that acts as the central hub for many ferry connections in Croatia. It’s kind of the Berri-UQAM of harbors. Just a few steps away from the water is its main attraction, Diocletian’s Palace, an old palace built in the 4th century. He had it built for him to use as a retirement home actually. And now, several hundred years later, it’s filled with tourists, restaurants, apartments, and clothing stores. But despite this, you can still see and appreciate the old architecture. And everywhere you see vegetation clawing its way past worn out stones and cracks in the walls to reclaim its place. On the side of the palace, market criers promise you the juiciest plums and highest quality selfie sticks.
Navigating inside the palace is interesting. You have to venture through the little maze-like streets, avoid the occasional dead-ends, sometimes pass through restaurant terrasses to get to where you want to go, and at the same time you’re swimming in a sea of tourists. To avoid the crowds and have a chance to photograph the palace, I returned at 6AM. Calm, peaceful, and pigeons.
This is the Cathedral of Saint Domnius, the oldest Catholic cathedral in the world that has yet to require major renovations despite still being in use. I was sitting across the entrance enjoying my coffee when I spotted the first person to enter the cathedral. A few hours after she opens the gates, hundreds of visitors will be lining up to enter.
On the Northern side of the palace, the statue of the Bishop of Nin invites you to rub his toes, apparently for good luck. He also looks like he’s about to drop some sick rhymes.
If you ever go, my recommendation would be to leave the map behind and just start walking. Early, if you can. You’ll end up discovering beautiful hidden corners that are absent from all travel guides.
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