Split, is the Old City Center Dead?

Daniela Rogulj

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February 21, 2019 – Slobodna Dalmacija‘s Tihana Marović details her winter walk through the bleak Split city center.

Within just a minute and a half of walking through Split’s old town, Slobodna Dalmacija recorded 15 closed and mostly empty business premises on Tuesday, February 19, 2019. 

It was at the top of the Bosanska street that Slobodna’s Tihana Marović began her winter walk in the city center as soon as the bells rang for 18:00. The evening was relatively warm and pleasant, but it was not hard to conclude – as far as the citizens are concerned, the battle with shopping in the center has long been lost.

Just how much respect lacks for Split’s past, planning development and ideas is perhaps best witnessed at Bosanska street. The name was obtained by Bosnian merchants who sold silver objects and filigree jewelry in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Filigree silver can now be purchased in just one store, which was already closed during the time of Marović’s walk (in the winter, they are open until 17:00), while the other business premises were taken over by tourist agencies, unimaginative souvenir shops, and fast food bars. The name Bosanska, however, may be justified, primarily because of the burek, pita, and ćevapi, which you can find offered, and who compete only with Split sanctuary and favorite bakery Tradicija, which was alive and kicking.  

“The city died because it suited someone! And the core is completely gone. This is how they sell, resell, redecorate, and racketeer, without looking at anyone,” said one young passerby to Marović. 

“Write that the city is pure desolation, so it is year after year, and it will be even worse,” said two random passersby.

Marović continued her walk through the quiet Pjaca, and below the clocktower. Shops that are not on a collective holiday or remodeling their interior for the upcoming season are mostly empty. Despite the ongoing sales, Borovo is not even open, nor the neighboring Diesel, or Peka.

Onto Cindro Palace, with the restaurants closed, just like in the Augubio Palace, on Diocletian’s street. Diocletian’s street, however, looks eerie. It is dimly lit with only three stores open. One of them was Nadalina, and even without customers, it is still full of delicious chocolate and spices.

“My colleague closed their shop just a little bit ago, the one opposite mine, and they were saying how awful the street looks. It’s badly lit, but it’s not bad to rest, because when the season starts, we will need strength. As far as it is deserted now, it will be full at the beginning of the season.”

Most of the cafes and restaurants are closed along Majstora Jurja Street, and Marović concluded that life in the center is only thanks to a few cafes and restaurants. 

“Winter is bleak, there is no content, and if our kids didn’t need to go to town twice a week, then we would not even see the center. In summer it is unbearable with tourists. Thank God for the sunny weekends on the Riva, and while they are good, we do not need more,” said two mothers Marović came across at the top of Marmontova.

We can only hope that next winter will be better. 

Translated from Tihana Marović on Slobodna Dalmacija

To read more about Split, follow TCN’s dedicated page


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