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article imageGame of Thrones to wine: Roman emperor's cellars in Split Croatia Special

By Paul Bradbury     Oct 13, 2013 in Travel
Split - Split's incredible tourist season continues into mid-October in the impressive 4th century basement of Emperor Dioceltian's palace.
With Split's highly impressive tourism season showing no sign of abating, attention — for the wine-loving community at least — turned to the 1700 year-old cellars of Emperor Diocletian's Palace on October 11, 2013, for a two-day wine fair, workshop and business exchange, an event attented by Digital Journal.
The main presentation hall
The main presentation hall
The event, called Vinski Podrum (Wine Cellar), was organised by leading regional daily Slobodna Dalmacija, and attracted some of the top wine-producing names in the country, as well as affording tourists a chance to become better acquainted with the wines of the the EU's newest member.
There was a strong Dalmatian wine presence  as well as representation from the rest of Croatia
There was a strong Dalmatian wine presence, as well as representation from the rest of Croatia
Croatian wine is attracting increasing international attention, with its combination of ancient wine tradition, 130 indigenous varieties, and exciting use and blending of better known international varieties.
While wine was the focus  there were other products on offer  such as Croatia s famous cheeses and o...
While wine was the focus, there were other products on offer, such as Croatia's famous cheeses and olive oils
Among those presenting were members of the Hvar Wine Association from Croatia's premier island. With a wine tradition dating back 2400 years and a resurgence of fortunes, Hvar winemakers have started exporting to new markets all over the globe in the last 12 months, including China, California and Singapore.
The second day  attended by Digital Journal  was well attended
The second day, attended by Digital Journal, was well attended
In addition to the international exports, leading Hvar producer showcased their newest initiative — a partnership with leading Croatian football club Hajduk Split. The range of red, white and rose, called Zlatan Hajduk, is a combination of two iconic Dalmatian names, and a share of the proceeds of each sale go to the struggling football club.
In addition to the main fair  there were workshops and B2B sessions
In addition to the main fair, there were workshops and B2B sessions
The impressive cellars of Diocletian's Palace are often used for such fairs and exhibitions, but they were rented out to a more international client last month, as part of the filming of the latest series of HBO hit show Game of Thrones was shot in the same location.
Visitors were free to roam through the rest of the impressive Diocletian cellars  dating back 1700 y...
Visitors were free to roam through the rest of the impressive Diocletian cellars, dating back 1700 years
The palace, situated on the waterfront of the Dalmatian capital, is the biggest tourist attraction in the city, and in contrast to other museum old towns, is a lively and diverse melting pot of cultures and lifestyles, with a vibrant shopping and gastronomic scene giving way to lively nightlife in the evening.
The Hvar Wine Assocation  which has had a very successful 12 months  was out in force
The Hvar Wine Assocation, which has had a very successful 12 months, was out in force
Built as a retirement home by Roman Emperor Diocletian in the fourth century, the palace has had a fascinating history up to the present day, and its squares and warren of streets are increasingly full, as Split establishes itself as one of Europe's most exciting tourist destinations.
Hvar s leading producer  Zlatan Otok  presented their new partnership with local football team  Hajd...
Hvar's leading producer, Zlatan Otok, presented their new partnership with local football team, Hajduk Split - the Zlatan Hajduk range
Once known as the 'Gateway to the Islands', the tourism fortunes of Split are changing, and the city has enjoyed a 27 percent increase in tourism for the first nine months of the year over the corresponding period in 2012, with the largest increases coming from Scandinavia, UK, Brazil and South Korea.
Impressive photography outlining the wine-producing process adorned the basement pillars
Impressive photography outlining the wine-producing process adorned the basement pillars
The impressive numbers in Split are mirrored in the wider Central Dalmatian region, which has so far recorded the largest increase in Croatian tourism numbers by region in 2013 — up 10 percent
Grape picking in Dalmatia is extremely labour intensive
Grape picking in Dalmatia is extremely labour intensive
These numbers do not include visitors from an increasingly important part of Split's tourism make up, and this year's 114 cruisers passing through the city have brought some 200,000 tourists.
Once a stereotype of sun, sea and beaches, the Dalmatian coast is becoming increasingly known for its wine, gastronomy, adventure tourism and heritage, with Split providing an ideal base to island hop, explore the coast, or venture into one of Europe's least explored and most fascinating regions, inland Dalmatia.
For more of a picture of the wine fair in Diocletian's cellars, watch the video below.
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