Split is Croatia's second biggest city after Zagreb and the economical and cultural centre of Dalmatia. The region was already inhabited in prehistoric times. During the last centuries BC, Illyrian tribes came into the area, followed shortly afterwards by the Greek. The Greek called the area Aspalatos. Roman settlements originated after 78 BC, but only from the 3rd century onwards the place (Spalatum) gained importance when the Roman emperor Diocletianus in 295 AD began to build a large palace in the country of his birth. The palace measured 215 m in length and 180 in width. From 305, the year of his abdication, Diocletianus spent the remainig years of his life here. Its outer walls and many palace buildings are still visible today. During the Migrations Period with the invasions of Avars and Slavs in the 7th century inhabitants of the Dalmatian islands fled and founded a new settlement within the walls of the palace. Until the 10th century the medieval town remained inside these walls. From the 10th and 11th century the town was relatively autonomous even when it became part of the Croatian-Hungarian kingdom. The economical prosperity was limited when the Republic of Venice came into possession of Split in 1420. Between 1797 and 1918 Split was part of the Austrian Monarchy, only interrupted by the time of the Napoleonic rule 1805–1813 The old town of Split with the Palace of Diocletian was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979. (see also list of other UNESCO heritage sites depicted on glasses of this collection)
The old town is dominated by the Campanile [left], the bell-tower of the cathedral of St. Domnius. The campanile was built between the 13th and 16th century and thus contains characteristics of Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance styles. The cathedral itself is the original mausoleum of Emperor Diocletianus of the 4th century. It was converted to a christian church in the 7th century by the papal legate Johannes of Ravenna.
Split is the birth place of the famous Austrian operetta composer Franz von SUPPÉ (1819–1895;
real name Francesco Ezechiele Ermenegildo Cavagliere Suppé-Demelli).