Split Historic Center

World Monuments Watch
Split, Croatia

1996 World Monuments Watch

Diocletian's splendid palace at Split stood alone until the 7th century, when refugees fleeing the destruction of nearby Salona, the capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia, transformed it into a town. Some twelve centuries of continuous urban life have created a rich and multilayered architectural identity. The historic center of Split is today the cultural heart of the modern city, as well as the link to a past extending back to Roman times. Yet from the moment the town exceeded the palace boundaries the historic nucleus began to decay, as new buildings were built adjacent to older structures. Poor maintenance has brought the structures to the point of collapse. Endangered buildings comprise some twenty thousand square meters. In 1994 the Municipality of Split assumed responsibility for conserving the historic core, to maintain the function of the historic center with its characteristic multifunctional aspects. Yet the municipality lacks the funding required for the decade-long program that is needed.

Since the Watch

Since 1996, several conservation projects have been undertaken by the City of Split, including a systematic effort to clean façades and promptly remove graffiti in the historic core. Billboards have been removed from historic buildings, and a design competition for new signage for the historic center took place in 2006. Our involvement at Diocletian’s Palace concluded in 2010 and served as a catalyst for additional financial support that allowed for the full conservation of the peristyle.

Last updated: August 2021.

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