Old stone streets of the craziest city in the world, as it is referred to by us locals, have now become the setting for a new, touristy Split, Europe’s destination numero uno. The young, the old and the ones in between from all over the world pass through Split smiling, cheerful, elated by the sights they see, spreading the air of relaxation, breeziness and joy.
The dark streets of the craziest city are trodden on by Brits in flip-flops, by the Japanese with the most sophisticated cameras, capturing every pebble, by old Americans in bright shirts… They all look around and admire the imperial palace that is still home to many people to this day. Well, it’s not so uncommon to see a local follow the guide’s flagpole either.
In the olden days, people would complain about clamor. Nobody talks of clamor anymore. Clamor is now a way of life. Groups of tourists pass through town, countless tourist guides speak at the same time in different languages, youth returns from the beach with towels on their shoulders, the elders walk around the sun-kissed city with hats on their heads, klapa songs echo from Peristil, countless cafés and restaurants are packed, a few dingy old boats turned tourist ships await to pick up groups and haul them off to the islands.
Tourists have discovered Bacvice, Marjan, Bene, all the beaches and places that we locals have already slightly forgotten about.
At night, the lit sreets of Diocletian’s city come alive, fill up with radiant, happy faces and stone houses echo with a myriad of languages and songs…and the old city comes back to life. Something different goes on in every street market, all kinds of music play and the street performers I used to see in Rome and Berlin are now here, in Split.
Tourists come to see what Split has to offer, but they’ve also given it a note of what makes it even more beautiful and precious.
And this opposition of the old and new is where the beauty of Split lies. Split has always been special.
Finally, could we return to Diocletian and his famous cabbages for a bit. He wouldn’t return to Rome because “if you knew what sort of cabbages I grew just outside my palace, you wouldn’t even think of calling me back to Rome“. Many centuries later…come to Split, listen in on the atmosphere of the old palace, the sea, the smiling people, the song that reflects true love for Split and Dalmatia.