The people of Split or ‘Splicani’ (their Croatian name), have the special characteristics that distinguish them from other Croatian population.

Generally speaking they are very witty, sociable, sometimes presumptuous and arrogant but above all very proud of their city. The people will tell you that their city is “the most beautiful one in the world and beyond”.

Old Split photo
Old Split photo by “Stare slike Splita

It is said they are lazy but the laziness is more related to particular climate situations and so called ‘fjaka’ a particular state of mind and body when a man hasn’t got a desire to do anything.

‘Splicani’ are very fond of singing, good food and wine with a high devotion for sports like football, water polo, tennis, basketball, athletic, rowing and swimming.

They are especially proud of two things: their town, and Hajduk, the local football (soccer) team. Hajduk is one of the best supported teams in the country and Poljud Stadium has been declared as “the stadium with the best atmosphere in Europe”.

The People of Split – Groups

The inhabitants of Split may appear to be a homogeneous structure, but traditionally they belong to three separate and distinct groups.

For people of Split there are many anecdotes and jokes sometimes even of sarcastic nature, but it’s a fact that Split has been always a city where the population differed either by place of birth or social status.

Split’s inhabitants are called ‘Splicani’ but it was always a difference between ‘to live in Split’ and ‘to be born there’.

The fact is, without Vlaja and Bodula groups, Split today wouldn’t be nearly as large and would likely have the size of Trogir or Makarska.

The first group – “Fetivi”

To the first group belongs the old urban families, called ‘Fetvi Splicani’ (real Split natives) closely linked to the city and using traditional local dialect and sometimes mockingly called ‘Mandrili’ (a monkey space).

This group was a rather close with very strict rules as to be considered ‘fetivi’ all  your descendants had to be born in the city of Split. Today after the inevitable historical changes, ‘fetivi’ are absolute minority.

Here are some old Split family names that belong to this group: Alujević, Cambi, Cipci, Dumanić, Duplančić, Dvornik, Jelaska, Karaman, Matošić.

The second group – “Boduli”

The second group of the people of Split makes ‘Boduli’. According to restrictive ‘fetivi’ rules, I belong to this group even though I am born in Split but my parents are originally from Hvar island.

These rules have no historical value, because according to them nor Diocletian Emperor was born Splicani.

This group consists the immigrants from nearby Central Dalmatian islands arrived in the 20th century.

Many have immigrated from some islands (Vis and Lastovo) during the period of Tito’s government when these islands were military bases, economically backward. Even this group is characterized by the use of local dialects.

The Third group – “Vlaji”

The third group, recently more numerous is known as ‘Vlaji’, immigrants from rural hinterland (Dalmatinska Zagora).

To this group after the last Homeland War (1992 – 1995) joined the refugees from Herzegovina (ethnically similar to the Vlaji from Split’s hinterland).

Actually according to ‘Fetivi’ all inhabitants that couldn’t see the sea from  their homes, belong to ‘Vlaji’.

‘Vlaji’ were always the subject of jokes and pranks like a primitive rural labor force, although it is often recognized that thanks to this class, the modern Split has become what it is today.

Split Today

Split is the city of immigrants. According the researches in 2002 49.7% of immigrants are from the Dalmatian hinterland, 10.2% of the island, 8.5% from the coastal towns of Split, 9% from Bosnia and Herzegovina, 16.2% from other parts of Croatian and 6,4% other.

According to the last census, conducted from 1st to 28th April 2011, Split has 178,192 inhabitants.

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Pero is Splitgg's founder who was born and lived in Split most of his life. His passion for traveling and immense experience from working in tourism industry encouraged him to write many of our expert Split travel guides. More about our authors »

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