While we’re known to dig deep into Split’s fascinating history, what was the city like just a few decades ago?
The year was 1996, and it was the very first time I visited Croatia with my family. Croatia at the time was a newly independent country, and the war they had been fighting since 1991 had ended just the year before.
In 1996, Croatia’s president was Franjo Tudjman and the prime minister Zlatko Mateša. The population at the time was roughly 4.7 million, and you could get 5.45 HRK to $1 US dollar.
The Croatian national football team boasted Davor Šuker, Zvonimir Boban, Robert Prosinečki, Alen Bokšić, Robert Jarni, Igor Štimac and Slaven Bilić as they surprised the world in the 1996 Euro tournament in England, and Hajduk would begin their 86th season since the club’s establishment in 1911.
I’ll never forget coming to Croatia for my first time, just months before I would turn six years old. I remember the long drives across the country, the abandoned army tanks on the side of the roads, the sinister hotel that gave me war nightmares in Zagreb, getting off the ferry in Rijeka, chasing pigeons at Prokurative, and eating breaded and fried frogs for the first time at my family’s house in Metković after I was told it was chicken.
While it’s hard to remember much from that age, this video of the life in Split in 1996 helps to bring back some of my memories.
From Vidilica to Marmontova, Sv. Frane to a packed Riva, coffee drinkers and friends socializing, a familiar Fruit Square, and a vibrant way Zenta Marina, just minutes from where I live today – here’s a look at the life in Split in 1996.