Visiting one of many Split museums, will be the best occasion to get to know two thousand years old history from ancient times to the present days. Split city museums are the best witnesses of its tumultuous history.
Split has a long tradition of collecting and monuments conservation. The first museum was founded in Renaissance period by Split nobleman and humanist Dominik Papalic (today the Split City Museum) in 16th century.
The town of Split is a real delight for history seekers.There are several interesting museums and galleries to choose that cover all historic periods of the city from prehistoric, Greek Hellenistic period, Ancient Roman over Early Christian and Middle Ages, including the latest period.
Split Museums Map
Scattered in and around the city’s historic center, there are 10 museums and galleries worth visiting:
Museums inside the old palace
- City Museum of Split
- Ethnographic Museum
- Cathedral Treasury
- Palace basements museum
Museums outside the palace
- Archaeological Museum
- Archaeological Monuments
- Maritime Museum
Galleries to visit
- Mestrovic Gallery
- Gallery of Fine Arts
- Natural History Museum
While in most European cities, museums and galleries are usually closed on Monday, most of Split Croatia museums and galleries are closed on Sunday.
Museums inside the old palace
Many visitors visiting Diocletian’s palace will realize that this palace measuring 175-181 x 216 meters, appears to be an unique museum, under the open sky. It’s the perfect and unique combination of Romanesque and Roman architecture.
Within the palace walls there are three museums worth visiting.
Split City Museum
It’s one of the most important and most visited Split Croatia museums. The museum is located inside the remarkable Gothic-Renaissance palace, which belonged to a noble family Papalić and houses a collection of ancient stone monuments from Salona.
This Museum also hosts a gallery of Emanuel Vidovic, dedicated to the most important Split painter of the 20th century and one of the foremost protagonists of Croatian modern painting.
Particularly worth visiting is the dining room on the first floor, furnished just as it once was when this noble family owned the house, giving some idea of how the nobility of that time lived.
Split Ethnographic Museum
This is one of the most fascinating Split Croatia museums and the oldest museum of its type in Croatia. Founded in 1910, it was located in Pjaca Square and from 2004 the whole museum’s collection moved to today’s position, just behind the the St.Duje Cathedral.
Museum houses the ethnographic objects from the area of Dalmatia and the wider area. It has very valuable collections of folk costumes, jewelers, arms, household inventory, traditional handicrafts.
The Treasury of Split Cathedral
This museum is centrally located, just in the middle of Diocletian palace Peristyle square. This is a museum, you can’t miss it. The main entrance is just below the Cathedral tower.
The Treasury of Split Cathedral is the most valuable one in Croatia. It keeps the items from the 8th to 20th century, very valuable golden artifacts and other church garments, books and other relics of saints and martyrs. Cathedral treasury contains relics of Saint Duje, which were brought to the cathedral after his death.
Opening hours: daily from 07:00 to 12:00 and 16:00 to 19:00. Admission fee: 20/35 Kuna. The fee includes entrance to the Cathedral tower bell. Phone: +385 21 342 589.
Museums outside Palace's walls
This is the oldest among Split museums founded in 1820. The original museum building was erected in 1821 along the eastern walls of Diocletian’s Palace, but it soon became too small for the growing number of monuments.
Sometimes this museum is unreasonably underestimated and little visited attraction. The highlights of this museum are historical finds from the nearby Roman capital of Salona, including as well as pagan and medieval period.
Croatian Maritime Museum
Another museum among those less known Split museums, usually rarely visited but considering maritime tradition in Split, is an integral and indivisible part of city life.
Croatian Maritime Museum is situated in the courtyard of the Gripe Fortress, which played a important role in Split’s history, especially during the Cretan war (1645-1669) and during the Turks invasion (in 1657), giving a shelter to the city’s inhabitants.
The museum shows development of sailing ships from ancient times through to the age of steam. The most interesting part is Croatian fishing tradition on the Adriatic, with exhibitions of coral trade, sponge aquaculture, fish canning factories, as well as fishermen at work and leisure.
Museum of Fine Arts
Split’s main art gallery displays one of the Adriatic’s most captivating collections, from the Renaissance to the nineteenth and twentieth century. The most representative are Vlaho Bukovac and Emanuel Vidovic including the contemporary paintings by Nina Ivancic and photographs by Ana Opalic.
The museum hosts a lot of local and international artists while in the museum’s atrium takes place Art & Wine workshops highly interesting and inspiring experience. Current information on all the forthcoming events can be viewed at the museum’s website.
Museums With Special Exhibitions
In addition to traditional museums, Split city can boast with several special museums dedicated to families with children and young people.
Split Live Museum
Living museum consists of authentic ancient Roman scenery and actors dressed in authentic costumes. You can see and learn about the emperor, senators, patricians, plebeians, soldiers, slaves and gladiators.
Located in the city center in the bastion ‘Cornaro’ near the Statue of Gregory of Nin and Art Gallery, 50 meters from the Golden Gate of Diocletian’s Palace.
Museum of Senses
How easy is it to trick your senses? Visitors will be able to find out in the newly opened Museum of Senses in Split. The Museum of Senses is a combination of games, education, science and culture, and its concept is the first fun interpretation center in Croatia.
With its interactive exhibits, the Museum of Senses encourages visitors to revive and activate their senses, to feel more and to learn something new and is divided into 5 zones: vision, hearing, touch, smell and balance.
The museum space is filled with many interactive items, music, light and fragrant installations. In the museum, you will find a large aquarium, a water slide that will take you to the sea, a small alleyway, and a lot of other items.
Froggyland - Children Attraction
This unusual place is more appropriate to be classified as a museum but I’m sure kids and parents will be delighted to visit it. I’m sure most of you have visited many aquariums around the world but never a Frog land.
The collection consists of 507 stuffed frogs of a common European frog species. It’s so amusing to see hundreds of stuffed frogs positioned in ‘human’ poses. The collection was created in the period between 1910 and 1920. You can read more about it visiting museum’s website.
Marjan hill - Mestrovic Gallery
Ivan Mestrovic, the Croatian Michelangelo is the greatest Croatian sculptor, whose works are visible in every corner of the city. (Grgur Ninski, Marko Marulic) and many others. Find more about this sculptor, painter and writer.
His gallery is an art museum founded in 1952 dedicated to the work of this 20th century sculptor located in the south slopes of Marjan hill. It is one of the prominent Split attractions sights.
Gallery address: Setaliste Ivana Mestrovica 46, Tel: 385/21/340-800. Opening Hours: Summer (1 May to 30 September): Tuesday to Sunday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Winter (1 October – 30 April): Tuesday to Saturday 9 AM to 04 PM, Sunday 10 AM to 03 PM. Closed: Monday, public holiday. Getting there: Buses N°12, 7 and 8.
Admission fees: Adults: 30 Kuna Children and students: 15 Kuna