Trogir sits in close proximity to Split, Croatia’s second largest city. The heart of Split is its Old Town which gradually sprouted around a giant Roman palace that was built there in the 4th century. The man behind the fortress-like structure that now composes about half of the old town area is Diocletian, a Roman emperor from the Dalmatia region who rose to power from humble means. When it was about time for Diocletian to hang up the robes once and for all he had the frankly ingenious idea of building himself what amounted to a giant, secure and military equipped retirement home on the Adriatic coast. What remains today is a rich heritage of well preserved ancient architecture and artifacts, including a handful of granite sphinxes from Egypt dating back to nearly 1500 BCE. We spent the majority of the day exploring the ancient Roman peristyles and squares, looking at art, watching street performers and eating gelato. Not bad at all, Split, not bad at all.
Visitors of Split will likely come across this statue of Gregory of Nin, looming across from the Old Town’s Golden Gate. Gregory is known as one of the fathers of the Croatian language, and a hero for speaking up for Slavic people when Pope Ivan X banned all languages other than Latin in church. This was a problem because very few people in this region spoke Latin. Gregory of Nin lost his fight at the time, but was not forgotten, for centuries later in 1570 the Dalmatic Region of Croatia was finally allowed to celebrate the mass in their native language. It is said to bring good luck to rub the statue’s big toe, which has been worn down and brightly polished from all the attention. From our point of view the good luck charm worked, as the beautiful, sunny days kept on comin’ throughout the duration of our trip.