Posted by: viewfromtheriva | February 16, 2021

Split’s National Theater uncovers its past


I really enjoy Split’s magnificent turn of the century National Theatre. It’s located at the the beginning of Marmontova street, set on its own square and framed by part of the massive city walls built by the Venetians during their 400 years here. While it can’t be compared to Split’s ancient 1,700 year-old legacy, the National Theatre is still a marvelous part of the city’s cultural and historic landscape.

The current theatre today is set back from its original entrance

The photo above is from the early 1900’s; the one below is a postcard from 1899!

Before the theatre was built in 1893 the square was actually a pond fed by an underground stream. A fabulous reminder of its watery beginnings is still inside the building! As you enter the lobby and go down a flight of stairs to the cloakroom there’s a corner stone you can lift up (if you know where!) that reveals a drain with running water!

Since 1893, the square has had several different designs–the current one dates from 1979. What conservators have unearthed is the earliest construction–the end of a graceful curved driveway where horse drawn carriages arrived with their guests and the remains of stone street light foundations, most likely, gas or oil filled lamps that later became electrified.

Davor Vukovic, who is the theatre’s PR director, was kind enough to share some of the earliest known illustrations of the theatre and the wonderful color postcard from 1899.

For those of you who have never been inside, you will be in for a real treat, a gorgeous theatre with rich ornamentation, soaring balconies with private loges and a dazzling chandelier that must be raised and lowered to change it’s bulbs.

Here are several images of the glorious interior, the second photo is by Lidija Lolic


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