Split is one of the oldest Croatian cities and the center of the Split-Dalmatia County. The city was formed in 7th century around the Roman palace that was built here by the Roman emperor Diocletian in 3rd century. The Ancient Palace forms the nucleus of the city and is full of hidden treasures and picturesque squares and streets.
The Jewish Community of Split is one of the oldest in Europe. The archaeological findings from the nearby Roman city Salona prove that the Jews lived there together with the Romans. Thanks to that, we know that the Jewish Community was established in Salona between 2nd and 3rd century. Later on, the citizens of Salona escaped the attacks of the Barbarians and inhabited the Diocletian’s Palace. The Jews came along.
The existing Community was enlarged in the 16th century by the great number of Sephardic Jews from Spain and Portugal and by the big wave of Ashkenazi Jews in 18th century. However, there has never been more that 300 official members of the Community. Nevertheless, the Jews have often been among the ones who have contributed to the development and the welfare of the city. They were responsible for the first dock and the quarantine of the city harbor, first bookstore, first library, first distillery… They had the same privileges as other citizens and that is way they felt good and safe in Split.
The Jewish ghetto was probably among the latest ones formally established in Europe (1717). The synagogue was built in 1510, after the former one was destroyed in the fire. It is among the only three medieval synagogues in Croatia that has remained active after the Second World War.
In 1573. the Jews set up their own cemetery on the slope of Marjan hill above the city. After the WW2 they got a parcel at the municipal cemetery but the old cemetery stayed in the possession of the Community and has never been removed. Today it represents a landmark that no Jewish tourist should miss.