June 27, 2003
The Cathedral and the Bell Tower are the centerpieces of old Split, along with the great space of the Peristyle adjacent to them. The octagonal Cathedral is surrounded by a now-imperfect colonnade of Corinthian columns and is flanked by a pair of small black granite sphinxes from about 15 BC. Andrija Buvina carved the solid wood main doorway, embellished by scenes from the life of Christ, in 1214. If you are used to enormous cathedrals, the domed interior will seem physically and aesthetically claustrophobic. A Romanesque pulpit, Corinthian columns, decorative friezes and stonework, and the Altar of St. Anastasius (created by local artist Juraj Dalmatinac in 1448) are featured in the interior. If you enjoy seeing gaudy and historical religious relics, visit the treasury for a nominal fee.
The Bell Tower of St. Domnius (Zvonik Sv. Duje) is adjacent to the Cathedral. Nowadays topped by the Croatian flag, this milky Romanesque-style campanile was started in the 13th Century. Masters named Nikola Firentinac and Andrija Alesi contributed to the design, though construction of the tower lasted over 300 years. The bell tower, reaching 60 meters in height, was restored from 1890 to 1906. Pay 5 kuna (less than a US dollar) for the privilege to climb up a set of stairs that is more rugged than you would expect, and save the glossy color ticket card. The lower portion has very steep stone steps with heights frequently greater than the widths. The upper portion of the tower has a metal stair that is not designed for those squeamish about heights. The panoramic views of Split from the top of the tower are literally breathtaking in all directions.
From journal Bill in Croatia - SPLIT