In Croatia’s second largest city, Split, we heard how townspeople finally got their revenge on cruel Roman dictator Diocletian.
The Imperial Palace, built like a fort, was where Diocletian lived from 300 to 313 A.D. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the palace is considered the greatest Roman ruin in southeastern Europe.
When we first started walking in Split, a fellow passenger asked when we were going to see the famed palace. Surprisingly, we were standing in it. It is the city’s living heart with 220 buildings within the palace boundaries and about 3,000 people living there. It did seem a bit eerie to watch housewives hanging out their laundry overhead, folks sipping drinks in courtyard cafes and kids playing ball amid the ancient walls.
Croatia’s capital since 1557, Zagreb is filled with medieval landmarks, museums and major attractions.
Riding the funicular railway (constructed in 1888) up the hillside between Lower and Upper towns in Zagreb, I had planned to spend my afternoon sightseeing through some of those amazing historic attractions—until I stumbled upon a new museum in a very old building. The name alone—The Museum of Broken Relationships—made me want to find out more.
When the museum greeter asked me where I was from, she said the museum had an item from my hometown – Bloomington, Indiana. Sure enough, it did—a sad lakeside photo of a handsome young man with a written memory by the girl whose heart he broke.
The unusual museum was founded in 2006 by two Zagreb-based artists whose four-year love affair had ended Still friends, the two decided to create a museum to house personal items and stories shared by others about painful breakups. Exhibits range from sad to bizarre, from a vinyl Bob Dylan record that a teenager played to ease her pain during a breakup four decades ago to an ax that a Berlin woman said she used as a “therapy instrument.” Wielding the ax, the woman chopped up her former lover’s furniture after being discarded for another woman.
The offbeat museum is just one of the hid-den gems awaiting Athens passengers who book Grand Circle’s two-week odyssey to southeastern Europe.