The development of steam shipping, the construction of railway connections with the hinterland before and between the World Wars, and industrialisation in particular underlie Split’s economic prosperity and growing population. Split is the business, administrative and cultural centre of Dalmatia. In addition to the shipbuilding industry, it also hosts plastic processing, the cement industry, the food industry and other products. Vegetables, fruit and flowers are grown in the area. Split is an important Croatian port in terms of passenger and freight traffic. It is the centre of maritime connections with ports on the coast and islands, and is the terminus for rail connections with the hinterland. Ferries operate regularly between Split and the central Dalmatian islands, and also sail to Ancona in Italy. There are sea routes to Pula, Venice, Dubrovnik and Greece, in addition to the islands. Split airport is situated in Resnik (Kastela). Split has many cultural and educational institutions and schools, the University of Split (established in 1974), a theatre, museums, galleries, institutes, and, since recently, a specialist UN institution for protecting the Mediterranean environment (Regional Activity Centre for the Priority Actions Programme). Split Summer, a cultural event (with open-air operas, plays and concerts), and musical performances (such as Melodies of the Croatian Adriatic and the Split Festival of Pop Music) take place every year. Split boasts a variety of sports facilities, swimming pools and jetties for boats and water sports. Both local and transit tourism show continuous growth. New port, hotel and tourist facilities have been built. The bays within the city limits include several public beaches.
Split has four marinas: ACI Marina Split, in the north-western part of the City Port; Spinut sports boats jetty on the northern coast of Marjan Hill; Poljud sports boats marina in Poljud Port and Zenta sports boat jetty on the eastern coast of Split. The central City Port of Split is used only for passenger and ferry traffic.
Split is not only the urban, cultural and travel communications centre of Dalmatia, with road and sea connections to Dalmatia's many summer resorts, but is itself a popular tourist and excursion destination. This city, with its 1700 year-old tradition and variety of archaeological, historical and cultural monuments, including Diocletian’s famous Palace, on the UNESCO World Heritage List, occupies a special position, and exudes the warmth and richness of a modern Mediterranean city. The first detailed tourist guide to the town and its surroundings, published in 1894, bears witness to Split’s enduring tourist tradition. If you want to understand the historical significance of the city, you should first visit the Split museums: the Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments (a major Croatian cultural project, established in 1893 in Knin); the Archaeological Museum (established in 1820, one of the oldest in Croatia); the Treasury of Split Cathedral, which includes a valuable collection of religious art; the Ethnographic Museum (founded in 1910); the Museum of Marine History, and the Museum of Natural Science. The Art Gallery, established in 1931, the Collection of the Franciscan Monastery in Poljud, the Mestrovic Gallery, and others are also worth visiting.
Split is a major sports centre (it hosted the 1979 Mediterranean Games) and has many famous, popular sports clubs and competitors. There are also many recreational sports facilities. The range of sports includes almost all types of water and other sports, from football, basketball and tennis to rock-climbing and shooting, water-skiing and rowing.
Marjan Forest Park is well worth visiting. It is a carefully maintained and cherished green oasis, of which the citizens of Split have been proud for generations. The park has promenades, viewing points, solaria, nature trails, playgrounds and the Split Zoo. There is a marvellous view from the top of Marjan Hill over the old and new parts of Split. It takes only 15 minutes gentle walking to reach Marjan Hill from the historical core of Split, through the old quarter, Varos. Marjan Steps, running along the crest of the hill, lead to a higher peak, Telegrin, from where there is a fine view towards the Split peninsula, Kozjak, Mosor, Kastela Gulf, Salona and Klis, Trogir and Ciovo, and the islands of Solta, Brac, Hvar and Vis. In recent times the southern cliffs of Marjan Hill have become a popular training ground for alpinists and rock climbers, who gather here every April to compete in the traditional Marjan Cup.
Split has a variety of restaurants and taverns offering local specialities. There are many beaches and public beaches in the city and its surroundings, the most popular being Bacvice, a sandy beach almost in the heart of the town.
Split’s cultural life and range of entertainment is extremely rich, particularly in the summer, when the city squares, courtyards and other areas are transformed into a large open-air stage. Split Summer, a traditional festival in the middle of the summer season, includes dramas, operas and concerts (from mid-July to mid-August). Split Saturday Nights are devoted to classical music. Split also hosts pop-music events, the Art Summer, folklore events, the folk festival Radunica Day, and many others. Major cultural events during the year include the Marulic Days (in April) and the Book of the Mediterranean (in October), and traditional events include the Holy Cross Day, the Flower Show, the Split Ball , wine festivals, etc. St. Doimus (Duje) Day, commemorating the city’s patron saint, is on 7 May.
Split has several theatres, including the Croatian National Theatre, which was established in 1893 and deserves a special mention as the host of theatrical festivals, Split Summer and the Marulic Days. There is also the Youth Theatre, and the Split Puppet Theatre.
Split ACI Marina has 500 wet berths and 100 dry berths. It is open throughout the year.