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The town of Split in Croatia - the ethnographic museum

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The Ethnographic Museum (Etnografski muzej) of Split presents a large range of the traditional inheritance of Dalmatia: old costumes, jewels, weapons and pieces of furniture.


Museum ethnographic and cathedral of Split. Click to enlarge the image in Adobe Stock (new tab).Founded in 1910, the Museum ethnographic occupied various places, whose last but one was the old Town hall of Split, before moving, in 2005, inside the walls of the Palace of Diocletian.

The Ethnographique Museum of Split is located today in the south-eastern part of what was the Palace, there even where were at the 4th century the dining room (triclinium) private apartments of the ex-emperor. The old convent Saint Claire (Santa Chiara), of the 14th century, was formerly on this site; it was moved apart from the walls in 1883.

The Museum understands also the Saint-Andrew church, built by the emperor Sevère the Large one with the site of the one of the six rooms to lay down Palace (cubiculuma) located in the Western part of the imperial apartments. The street name Severova, where the Museum is, points out this episode.

This zone which is beyond the hall of the Palace of Diocletian, was one of the poorest districts of Split, where dilapidated rental buildings are pressed on the walls of the palace, vis-a-vis the sea. It preserves an air of desolation, with miles of the tourist area of the Peristyle - however near - where bind the tourists. This zone was the privileged meeting place of the prostitutes and the drug addicts of Split, and is always called by the inhabitants it “will kenjara” (“the hole with shit”).


Chart of Croatia by Mercator. Click to enlarge the image.The museum presents the traditional objects of various corporations of the Adriatic and the dinaric area: pottery, knitting, woodcarving, basket making, manufacturing of shoes. One can also see various instruments, of the silver jewels, the weapons, and a collection of trunks which were used to preserve the valuable articles.
The Collection of Dalmatian Traditional Costumes
Dalmatian costumes with the museum ethnographic of Split. Click to enlarge the image.The ethnographic Museum of Split presents an interesting collection of the most typical costumes of Dalmatia.

The female costume of the Adriatic east made up of a shirt of fabric, white and short, of a wool skirt with very dense folds; the old shape of the skirt is held by the most recent straps, and by a bent waistcoat: this kind of pleated skirts with a small waistcoat is a phenomenon of the Rebirth of the 15th century. The skirt with straps in the traditional costumes of the Adriatic, especially of the Adriatic islands of the south, was almost the rule. The appearance of decoration on the chest and the handles of shirt by white embroidery or lace instead of a silk edge, older, is a general phenomenon.

Certain costumes are characterized by their embroidery: Ravni Kotari, Knin, Vrlika, Imotski, Poljica. Some are decorated of a characteristic white embroidery: costume of Sinj, Dalmatian back-country; others of lace: costumes of Primosten, Novigrad or Pag.

The dress is finished by the wool or silk belt tied around the size.

Dalmatian costumes with the museum ethnographic of Split. Click to enlarge the image.A certain kind of urban female costumes developed at the 19th century in the largest villages, not only of the Adriatic, but also of the back-country, Dalmatian Zagora. The winter coat became the principal outerwear, and does not line it was not any more but one decorative drill plate of the chest. These urban costumes were different also by their very invaluable fabrics and much from accessories: passementeries, small hats, ranges and other details of mode. The silver jewels gave way to the gold jewels.

Generally, the women of the littoral tied their hair in two braids, and arranged them in crown decorated with interlaced ribbons, or they covered them with, generally, of the foulard blancs, squares or in the form of long rectangles.

One seldom finds the wool socks and the shoes which had been, for a long time, the traditional shoes of work, but which gave way to the cotton socks and the low high-heeled shoes, made soft leather and generally of red leather.

Dalmatian costumes with the museum ethnographic of Split. Click to enlarge the image.The male costume of the Adriatic keeps two types of clothing until the end of the 19th century. The first type is related with the traditional costume of the immediate back-country (costume known as of dinaric type), and the second is the usual Mediterranean costume; the obvious differences between the two types are the kind of pants and the bonnet:

  • in the Mediterranean type - or standard Levantine - the pants are very broad, but short, and strip the calf; the bonnet blue and is knitted in the form of tube.
  • in the type dinaric, the legs of the pants are long and narrowly tight; the bonnet is of very red and round color, often reduced to the state of symbol; it is made of bought fabric (coha).

The costumes are enriched by embroideries and ornaments, since the metal belt buckles worked to the penknives with the worked handle, hung by a chain with the size. Most opulent often correspond to the villages of the Dalmatian back-country.

The Collection of Dalmatian Traditional Weapons
Dalmatian weapons with the museum ethnographic of Split. Click to enlarge the image.The old weapons of the territories dinaric in second half of 19th and at the beginning of the 20th century were still of Turkish origin, the Othomans having occupied these areas in older times. The weapons, for the majority, were manufactured by corporations established in centers of weapons of which most known were in Travnnik, Foča, Sarajevo, Herceg-Novi, Kotor, Risno, Užice, Prizren and Skoplje.

Dalmatian weapons with the museum ethnographic of Split. Click to enlarge the image.The knives (hladno) most often used were the yatagans (jatagani), which are knives with long, right blade or curve, and with the handle having quillons them guard in the shape of wings of butterfly. The cutting-edge of the blade is on the interior side. According to the shape of the blade of the yatagan one distinguishes those with curved blade (krivci) and those with right blade (pravci). The yatagan became the national weapon, especially in the territories dinaric and as Bosnia-Herzegovina where the Othoman army had abundantly used it with 17th and 18th centuries. One attached it to the belt with a pair of guns and a small knife.

Except the yatagans, the major part of the knives were the knives (noževi) - having a blade with only one cutting-edge - and the daggers (bodeži) - having a blade with two cutting-edges.

The yatagans, the knives and the daggers had material sleeves made depending on the quality of the weapon: wood, silver plated tinplate or copper.

Dalmatian weapons with the museum ethnographic of Split. Click to enlarge the image.The second very important group of weapons is that of the firearms (vatreno), which understands:

  • The guns (pištolji), named popularly kubure; one generally divided them into guns with flint and cap guns; the guns with flint were most numerous. A frequent characteristic is that the trigger was older than the gun itself, which shows that the triggers were very appreciated and transferred from older guns towards more recent. There were several kinds of guns: ledenice, cellne, merdžanke, lisanke, pećenke and other kinds still; the centers of manufacturing were the Mouths of Kotor (Boka Kotorska), Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia. The guns were usual in these areas and made, with the yatagans and the knives, part of the normal equipment of the warriors.
  • Rifles (puške) generally draw their origin from the 19th century; there are several kinds: roga, šišana, karabin, džeferdar, karanfilka and lombardska. There is as for the guns, rifles with flint and those with capsule. All rifles had very long guns, except the rifles which were short gun rifles, but widened in the shape of blunderbuss; they spread out used in the close combats, because they did not have a long range.

The essential accessories of the firearms were the stem for the stuffing of the powder, the powder horn, the cartridge pouch and the pot with grease; there existed also cases (uložnice), made leather, for the port of the guns (kuburluci).

Dalmatian weapons with the museum ethnographic of Split. Click to enlarge the image.The decoration of the weapons was very varied: or, at the places planned for decoration, metals were corroded with the acid or, one nailed a gold wire, of money or copper in prepared bleedings. The ornaments were in the form of undulated lines, loops or vegetable reasons. One could enamel, silver plate, gild or encrust with small glares of precious stones and semi-precious. The parts of wood were decorated with marquetry, gold wire, money or copper, or small crimped copper plates.

The men’s wears comprised the parts appropriate to the port of the weapons. The essential part was the belt (pripašnjača), a broad leather belt decorated on the former side by small lead grains (pulica) the belt protected the low belly from the wounds and had many pockets and partitions, where one could put the guns, the knives and the yatagans. One carried it over a shirt, but it was with the lower part of clothing of the top. Certain specimens were richly decorated. Another obligatory part of clothing of the warrior was the cloth waistcoat, cover on the former side by money plates (toke), intended to protect the chest. The main goldsmiths (kujundžije) manufactured the money plates, and all the other accessories of the firearms; the main blacksmiths (sarači) made the leather parts.

Dalmatian Reconstitutions of Habitats
Typewriter Nice AEG Modell 4. Click to enlarge the image.The ethnographic Museum also presents the reconstitution of interiors of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century: an office and a room, with exposure of seats, stools and trunks out of carved wooden which illustrate perfectly the degree of refinement of the Dalmatian traditional craft industry.

The popular bedroom (will kamara) was furnished with pieces of furniture which belonged already to the middle-class interiors; they showed the state of fortune of the house. Such bedrooms constituted part of the dowry (equipped) of almost any young girl to be married.

The reconstituted bedroom is composed of a marriage bed, a cupboard and convenient with five drawers. These pieces of furniture come from a house of the old district of Dobri, located north of the old city of Split. Other parts of pieces of furniture of the time were added there: a bedside table (kantunal), a hairdresser (komo) with mirror (ogledalo), a sideboard (baul); the most typical accessories of room are the basin (kain) and the jug (broka) of toilet. One usually found on the wall a cross, images holy and family photos. The copper lanterns (lukijerne), which was used for the beginning for lighting, remained a long time like decoration of interior.

Room to be slept popular with the museum ethnographic of Split. Click to enlarge the image.

InformationPractical information

General information
Museum ethnographic and cathedral of Split. Click to enlarge the image.Ethnographic museum (Etnografski Muzej)

Schedules of opening:

  • in June: Tuesday to Friday, 9:00 at 18:00; saturdays, of 9:00 to 13:00
  • from July to mid-September: Monday to Friday, 9:00 at 19:00; saturdays, of 9:00 to 13:00
  • from mid-September to May: Monday to Friday, 9:00 at 16:00; saturdays of 9:00 to 13:00
  • closed Sunday and bank holidays.

Addresses: Severova 1, HR-21000 Split

Telephone: 00,385 (0) 21,344,164/343,108


Tariff of entry: 10 kunas.

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The town of Split in Croatia - the Diocletian palace
The town of Split in Croatia - the cathedral Saint-Domnius
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The town of Split in Croatia - the ethnographic museum
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The county of Split-Dalmatia in Croatia - Booklet Dalmatian Zagora (pdf)
The county of Split-Dalmatia in Croatia - Booklet Islands (pdf)
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