Two Roman Cities

Trip Start Jun 08, 2010
Trip End Aug 26, 2010

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Flag of Croatia  , Splitsko-Dalmatinska,
Saturday, July 3, 2010

First stop this morning was the city of Solin and the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Salona. I got there in the morning, and spent a couple of hours wandering around the location. The early morning arrival gave me a chance to beat the summer heat on the open fields.

Croatia was hot, or at least the part of Croatia I was in was hot this time of year. According to the thermometer on my car, it was up to 90 by noon. With the ocean nearby, it was also just a little humid. I spent a lot more time sweating than I like, but wasn't not too bad when I was in a city because the surrounding buildings usually blocked some of the direct sunlight.

The ruins themselves were, not surprisingly, in ruins. They covered an extensive area, though, and that added a lot to the experience. After the Romans left, unlike many Roman towns, no new development was done in the area so all of the foundations were visible instead of covered by medieval structures. There was also at least one of pretty much every type of Roman building you could imagine. There were walls, houses, a forum, a theater, an amphitheater, a temple, and several early Christian churches. It was too bad more of the structures didn't survive intact, I'd imagine the stones were reused for construction down in Split. At least one of the structures, the amphitheater, was demolished intentionally to keep marauding armies to use it for menacing neighboring Split.

That was my next target as well. The focus of tourism in Split was a few blocks around the waterfront in the vicinity of what was once the palace of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. The area was a UNESCO World Heritage site (quite the recent trip theme...), and I found it much more impressive than the similarly designated Trogir. Walking through the Iron Gate to the palace interior, entirely filled with well preserved Roman architecture, Split had the sort of immediate visual impact Trogir was lacking. The ambiance could have done without the two cheesy guys dressed-up like Roman soldiers, though.
Split's waterfront would have to be described as bustling. Split was Croatia's second biggest city, and the main bus station, train station, and ferry port were all located right next to each other. I saw a constant stream of people dragging luggage around that area, as well as scattered throughout the other parts of the old town and surroundings I walked through.

I didn't get a lot of pictures, because I was focused on finding dinner. I finally had a non-pizza, non-burek dinner. (A burek is a savory pastry stuffed with cheese and other ingredients.) I had a large salad and some bread. This time the salad included more than just tomato. It had lettuce and all the other usual salad fixings.

While I was mostly focused on food, I did happen to arrive at the tourist center just in time for a walking tour. I decided to go ahead and sign-up. I turned out to be the only person on it. I felt kind of bad for my guide, so once again I didn't take pictures because I didn't want to slow things down a lot. I'll put the tour details and the pictures I did take in with a later entry for Split. I'll be here for two more days.

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