Split: Between Fiction and Reality

Split is the second largest city in Croatia. It has been a popular destination since the days of the Roman emperors. Today, due to the wildly popular television show Game of Thrones, many tourists visit the town to have a glimpse at where some scenes were filmed. As a fan of the show, I decided that an organized shore excursion offered by the cruise ship would be the best way to learn about the history of this area, and walk in the footsteps of the characters from Game of Thrones.

Split View

Fortress of Klis

Once ashore, we made our first stop at the Fortress of Klis, which is located a short distance away from the port where the cruise ship was docked. The fortress is perched atop a hill, this strategic location offers a panoramic view of Split and the turquoise waters of the Adriatic. With our guide, we explored this medieval fortress and learnt that an ancient Illyrian tribe called the Dalmatae built a stronghold structure at this site, over the centuries, various occupants expanded it and it became a large fortress during the Ottoman wars in Europe. In Game of Thrones, the Fortress of Klis is featured as the city of Meereen.

Fortress of Klis

Fortress of Klis

Fortress of Klis

Mother Daughter Fortress of Klis

A small playground is located close to the entrance of the fortress. My daughter was delighted to be able to play before we embarked on a walking tour of Diocletian’s Palace.

Child Playground

Child Playground

Diocletian’s Palace

Located in the heart of Split, Diocletian’s Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is one of the best preserved monuments of Roman architecture in the world. It was built in the 4th century by the Roman Emperor Diocletian, and he intend to use it as a retirement residence. Unlike any other ruins I’ve visited, Diocletian’s Palace is unique because people live within the ruins of the palace. In fact, as we walk through the narrow streets, we found many shops, restaurants as well as residential apartments within the ruins of this colossal construction.

Diocletian's Palace

Diocletian's Palace

Diocletian's Palace

Diocletian's Palace

With our guide, we ventured into the underground cellars of the palace which is where Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons were kept in Game of Thrones. In addition, scenes showing her throne room were also shot in the cellars. Most scenes showing the streets of Meereen were filmed both on Klis Fortress and in Diocletian’s Palace.

Diocletian's Palace Cellars

Final Thoughts

Our guided shore excursion lasted 4 hours which was enough to give me a quick highlight of the city’s rich history as well as the filming locations of the television show Game of Thrones. I was particularly impressed by how Split was able to preserve its rich history and historical monuments while embracing the modern world with restaurants, bars, residential buildings, and shops built within the Roman ruins. Overall, it was a fascinating port of call, I hope that this post made you discover an area of the world you never considered visiting before.

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