December 10, 2023 – After naming the Peljesac Bridge and renaming Dubrovnik Airport, now it is the turn of Split – welcome to Saint Jerome Airport.
Without doing extensive research, I am sure that there are other international airports in the world named after saints, but I can’t think of one off the top of my head.
But travellers flying into the Dalmatian capital of Split will now have that experience, as the recently renovated Split Airport now has a new official name – Saint Jerome Airport, named after the patron saint of Split-Dalmatia County.
“Our initiative has borne fruit, and I must express gratitude to the academic community, all church dignitaries, academics, and everyone in the cultural sphere from Split and our county who supported and endorsed us. Saint Jerome has landed at our airport,” said the County Prefect, Blazenko Boban.
The renaming comes soon after Dubrovnik Airport also got a new name, after famous local son, Rudjer Boskovic, a move which made international headlines in The Guardian – read more in Turbulence in Balkans over renaming of Dubrovnik airport.
Not that one should offer an opinion as a foreigner, but I can’t help but feel that Croatia often misses a trick with its renaming of infrastructure. One need only to look at Belgrade in Serbia, a country where a young genius from Smiljan only spent 36 hours of his life, and the Nikola Tesla Belgrade Airport lets you know how locals respect the great man.
Croatia had a similar opportunity last year, and the symbolism was perfect. Tesla, the great connector, and the Peljesac Bridge, connecting modern Croatia as one for the first time. Surely, the Nikola Tesla Bridge was a no brainer?
But no, not only that, but the official name – Peljeski Most (the Croatian for Peljesac Bridge) not only means nothing to visitors, but is hard to pronounce.
Gone are the days in conservative Dalmatia, it seems, where churches are used to commemorate saints – now it includes the temples of the sky.