Opara's House Rules: Split Mayor Composes Unconventional Letter to Tourists

An unconventional message from the Split mayor to welcome the busy tourist season. 

In Visit Split magazine, which is distributed free of charge to various channels and serves as promotion for tourists, Split mayor Andro Krstulović Opara published a somewhat unusual introductory text. Instead of the classic and standard welcome and praise of the Dalmatian capital’s local landmarks and attractions, tourists have been told instead to keep order in the city, which he expects everyone to respect, reports TPortal on May 6, 2018. 

The Split City Administration confirmed that Opara wrote the text in the magazine which will be released in the next week, and also announced that it would be printed on the fly and delivered to all city hotels and apartments, or directly to the hands of Split’s thousands of visitors. 

Opara’s message points to the need for keeping the peace in the evenings, for tourists to become acquainted with the terms 'fjaka' and 'pižolot', and warns that tourists could face fines for walking around the center in a bathing suit. In a humorous tone, the mayor even goes so far to say that no one will be better than locals at picigin, and there is no bigger football club than Hajduk.

Here is the Split mayor's message in all of its glory:

Dear guests, welcome to Split!

The citizens of Split, hoteliers, caterers, tour guides and all the other tour operators will give and do their best to keep your vacation in our town one you will remember forever. 

To achieve this common goal, we need your help. It is not challenging and not demanding, we just ask you to respect our house rules, the city rules and our customs, to allow yourself and other tourists a pleasant vacation, and so the residents of Split are encouraged to give you an unforgettable stay in our city with even more fabulous engagement.

23:00 to 8:00 is time to keep the peace at night. Please refrain from loud music and noise at this time. Other tourists need rest to be ready for new activities, your hosts need rest to make your stay is more enjoyable, and rest will be good for you and the challenges ahead on your holiday. In our city and surroundings, there are many places for all-night-long parties, but this is not the hotel room, apartment or home you rented, or the streets and courtyards of our town.

14:00 to 17:00 is the time of afternoon rest. In Spain, it’s called a siesta, and here it is called ‘pižolot’. The afternoon slumber is part of our identity that we try to preserve despite the fast-paced way of life. Try it, you will not regret it, and you will be convinced of how important it is. At that time, our people are captivated by ‘fjaka’, and as the BBC explains, ‘the sublime state in which a human aspires for nothing'. Believe me, give in to this gift that attracted Roman Emperor Diocletian who, after ruling the world and leading many wars, chose this bay to build his palace, from which our city grew and was inherited from our ancestors, as were its customs.

Do not walk around the city without clothing, a piece of clothing, or a swimsuit. This rule also stems from our customs. We are in the Mediterranean, the sun is powerful, and especially the high sun. You will observe that locals avoid exposure to sunlight. I do not believe that you walk without clothes or are inappropriately dressed in your cities and towns, so do not do it in Split. Our municipal order does not allow walking around this way, and for non-compliance, this provision is followed by a fine of 500,00 kuna at the point of committing the offense, and 1,000.00 kuna following the misdemeanor procedure. There are indeed a million ways other ways you can spend that money instead of in penalties.

In the streets of our city, as well as in other places of Dalmatia, you will hear people singing quietly in smaller groups - called klapa. Join them. Such singing is, of course, allowed even at night under the window of your choice. That's what we call a serenade, and no one will be unhappy if you perform it quietly and a cappella. This will impress the audience, much better than driving a motorcycle or drifting your car in a parking lot.

Oh, yes, something else. Do not try to explain to locals that you are better than them at picigin or that a football team is better than Hajduk Split. Join us at one of our beaches and play picigin, this unique and fun game with a small ball. At any time of the year. And definitely, do not miss a Hajduk football match at the beautiful stadium just a few hundred meters from the old town’s core. The fans and love and attachment to Hajduk you will remember for a lifetime. 

And finally, climb up to Marjan, our bustling hill over the city, full of beautiful coves, with its laid-back history and beautiful nature. Take caution in the forest and enjoy the green lungs of our town.

I look forward to your visit, I wish you a pleasant stay in our city, and I want you to bring home the best and most beautiful memories from Split.

Andro Krstulović Opara, Mayor