Diocletian’s Palace is turning into a large crowded bar
Record numbers in tourism come hand in hand with establishments expanding as much as they can, in order to house as many guests as possible. Owners of bars and restaurants are constantly thinking of new ways of how to turn a bigger profit and make the most out of the lucrative season. If it stopped at that, there wouldn’t be reason to blame them, but things have been getting a bit out of hand in recent weeks.
Take Split, for example, a rare jewel of a city whose historic centre is literally situated in a stunningly preserved ancient Roman palace. The classical heritage is intertwined with the daily buzz of city life and the two are inseparable, but when it comes to tourism, we’ve started to care about revenue more than we think about preserving the sites that are the reason people are coming to Split in the first place.
Streets in the centre of Split are occupied by bar terraces that keep growing by the day, and it’s only a matter of time before the Peristyle and other key locations in the city get completely suffocated by tables and chairs. Concession contracts do specify the exact limits of areas that the business owners can use, but they’ve found a way to work around that little legal nuisance. Once the municipal guards end their evening shift at 22:00 and head home, a couple of extra tables magically pop up in every bar and every bistro.
The situation is getting out of hand, and mayor Andro Krstulović Opara finally decided it was time to put an end to the anarchy, reports Slobodna Dalmacija on August 18, 2017.
Walking around town a couple of days ago, Opara was taken aback by frenetic crowds and thought to call the municipal guards to restore order, but there weren’t any to be seen. It was past 22, and the nightlife was only about to heat up, causing the establishment owners to further expand their terraces – as much as the narrow streets of the palace would allow it.
Opara now intends to extend the working hours of municipal guards to 2 in the morning, in order to stop the usurpation of the most attractive areas in the city. To make sure no one could claim they got confused about the size of the area they can use, municipal officers measured the sites under concession on Friday morning. Borders are now marked by little metal plates engraved with the coat of arms of the City of Split. Let’s hope the new measures prove to be effective; concession is one thing, but blatantly ammassing profit at the expense of public property has to be stopped.