Great things to see in Diocletian's Palace
As in Zagreb, the National Theatre in Split played a vital role in the promotion of the Croatian language while the country was still ruled from elsewhere. This venerable institution opened in 1893, first at Dobroma, before this imposing edifice was built decades later. Early performances featured troupes from Italy while a local theatrical culture developed. Today the HNK not only stages Croatian-language theatre, but also foreigner-friendly opera and ballet. It's a major venue during the Split Summer Festival.
Once the site of Diocletian's mausoleum, and still guarded by a granite sphinx from ancient Egypt, this octagonal building was converted into a church by the refugees from Salona. Through the Middle Ages, it was given finely carved doors, an equally beautiful pulpit and eventually a belltower offering a panoramic view of the palace. The climb (5kn) can be quite dizzying, so only try it if you have a head for heights. The crypt contains rare ecclesiastical treasures dating back to the eighth century.
This museum in the heart of the palace is mostly worth visiting for the 15th-century Gothic building itself rather than for the sundry paintings and weaponry within. You'll also find photographs, documents, maps and old papers but the permanent collection appeals more to historians than offer someone from the general public a rough idea how this fascinating port developed.
The major cultural opening - in fact, re-opening - in town for many years, this attractive collection of art from the Adriatic region includes pieces by leading figures from modern times, most notably Vlaho Bukovac, as well as works as far back as the Renaissance. There is contemporary stuff too, paintings and photographs, to lend the venue kudos.