This street, as the locals call, Marmontova ulica (street), stretches from the Riva promenade all the way to the National Theater at Gajo Bulat Square.
This street, perfectly paved, is the most popular shopping area in Split. From the Riva to the top of Marmont street numerous shops line up from right to left.
In its entire length, there are many branded shops, like Berishka, Paul and Shark, Tommy Hilfinger, Zara, Benetton, O’Neill and the best optical service in Salmoiraghi & Vigano.
The origin of the name Marmont Street
It is unusual for the street name to be associated with foreign invaders. When Napoleon conquered Dalmatia in the early 19th century, ha nominato General Auguste Marmont, the supervisor of Dalmatia.
Marmont built-up the city by bringing electricity to Split for the first time, tearing down unnecessary structures, and creating a more viable street grid.
In return the citizens of Split have named their most beautiful street after him – Marmontova street. In 1922 a library and a reading room has been founded there, today Alliance Francaise, a French culture and language center .
Places to visit in Marmont Street
Walking down this street, starting from famous Riva seaside promenade, you’ll come across several important historical places and structures.
The first one is old cinema ‘Karaman’ established in 1907. It isn’t located on Marmont street, but about ten meters, inside the Ilicev Prolaz (Passage). This cinema was my favorite place when I wanted to skip my high school lessons.
At Marmont Street number 2 , there is the oldest pharmacy in Split – Varos. It was opened in 1856. The furniture is adapted to the space, and its authenticity is confirmed by neo-Renaissance ornamental decorations and visual representations of Galen (the Greek physician) and Aesculapius (the God of doctors in Roman mythology).
The next stop on your walking tour along this street, must be Fish Market (Ribarnica, or Peškarija in dialect), known as the ‘belly of Split’.
Perhaps this fish market would not be a unique place, if there isn’t one special peculiarity. Visitors will notice that it’s only fish market in the world without flies; this is due to the smell of the nearby sulfur springs.
In the vicinity of the fish market, there is the public Split Spa service, housed in a great Art Nouveau building built by local architect Kamilo Tončić.
This Art Nouveau building has an interesting façade, decorated by ravishing sculptures of topless women. The building hosts the Sulfur spa as he main part of the Department of Physical Medicine, Rehabilitation and Rheumatology.
Continuing your walk, the strange shape fountain, will catch your eyes. ‘Pirja’ or a funnel on the Marmontova Street in Split is a fountain by a well-known Croatian sculptor, Kažimir Hraste.
There are two parts of this peculiar fountain; a funnel-like sculpture on the ground and a fisted hand on the wall.
A fisted hand with a thumb overhang between the index finger and middle finger, which is known as the ”figa” sign among the locals, and water aiming into the funnel. The ‘figa’ sign is pointed in the direction of the city of Zagreb.
For the art lovers, there is an often updated photography exhibition at Gallery Foto club Split, housed in a beautiful Secession style palace ‘Duplančić’, and another little gallery on the street often displays peculiar art by local artists.
Continuing the walk, Marmont Street ends at Gajo Bulat Square. there you will find one of the best examples of modernist church architecture – the Church of Our Lady of Good Health (Gospe od Zdravlja), with a still-preserved 17th century Franciscan monastery bell tower.
The yellow-bright Croatian National Theater of Split built in 1893 is dominating the square, it is considered one of the biggest and the oldest theater houses in the Mediterranean.
I hope you’ll enjoy exploring this beautiful street as Marmont Street has been always a cult street in which past centuries assimilate with the present.