Split in History: First Public Swimming Area in Split (1860s)

Daniela Rogulj

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Panorama of Split around 1864 by Reszö Goldberger

The first swimming area in Split was known as “Bagno Militare or Militar Bad.” 

The first public swimming area in Split opened around 1860/64 in the middle of today’s city harbor, next to the building of today’s Port Authority. Split, at the time, had only 13,000 inhabitants.

In 1859, after a part of the eastern town’s fortifications were demolished, the remaining material was used to fill in the shallow water under the southern walls of the Lazaret. On this new part of the coast, the first swimming area in Split was built. Then, the area was outside the harbor and the sewage was poured into the old part of the harbor at the Riva. The ships were mostly sailing boats and did not pollute the harbor’s sea.

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The bathing area can be seen in the center. Photograph by Reszö Goldberger (1864)

The swimming area was often referred to as Bagno Militare because there were military buildings nearby (on Hrvojeva Street) – it may have been used a military bathing ground as well. 

At that time, the bathing area was large enough and comfortable for everyone, set on a large plateau supported by wooden beams over the shallow waters. In the middle of the plateau, a wooden entrance barge was erected. On both sides of the plateau, there were cabins on the mainland, and towards the sea, there was a wooden fence. There were two ramps down the plain – one led to the sea and the other to the lower plateau.

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The bathing area in 1875

This bathing area did not last beyond 1875 when it was probably closed due to poor attendance. Other’s say that the sea became unclean, and around 1875, a new bathing area named Bagno Polo opened. Polo, however, also did not last and was unable to operate because of the slaughterhouse at the present day Hotel Ambasador. Therefore, Bačvice soon became the most popular beach.

Via Facebook group Split kroz povijest


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