University Hospital of Split's History

Split’s long history of health care starts with shelters for the poor, military “hospitals”, and leprosaria, buildings for lepers’ isolation. The earliest documents mentioning these forms of health care date back to the 14th century AD. 

Throughout the centuries, various forms of public and private, formal and less formal, institutions were in charge of peoples’ health. UH Split originates from a long and complex merging of the public hospital, the military hospital, and the spa.

The military hospital, as an independent institution, was first founded in Split in 1657. Through time, it’s been moved to many locations within the city, and for part of its history, its exact location remains unknown.

Construction of the first hospital, pertaining at least somewhat to today’s meaning of the term, was started by a humanitarian activity of a citizen called Ante Ergovac. In his last will, he left a thousand sequins for the specific purpose of providing health care for the members of the poorest social classes. His brothers Frane and Petar Ergovac also gave their contributions to the cause, both in money and personal commitment.

The Civil hospital of St. Lazarus was raised in 1794 inside the north city bastion Corner, based on Split’s builder Petar Curir’s plans. According to the hospital’s statute, beggars and poor citizens were primary patients, whilst all others were cared for if possible.

With the arrival of the Austrian government, in 1797 the hospital was repurposed for the care of military patients, which continued during the French rule from 1806. When the Austrians re-established their authority, the military hospital was moved to the St. Arnir monastery in 1817, where it stayed until 1941. The Ergovac building was returned to its original, civil purpose.

In 1821, the first bath house was built over Split’s thermal springs, and in 1903 a new building was raised, in which the spa still operates today. 

The civil hospital’s building in the city centre was upgraded and expanded many times. New departments were frequently established during 1910s and 1920s.

The construction of the Infectious diseases pavilion started in 1931, and was finished in 1933, in the todays’ location of Firule. From 1936 to 1940 the Surgery pavilion was built, and in 1939 the directorate building was raised. Due to World War Two beginning, the hospital was unable to start utilising the two latter structures until the liberation from occupying forces. During the war, healthy war prisoners were sent to the hospital under pretence of illness, in an effort to save their lives.

In 1941 the military hospital was moved to the premises of Classical Grammar School and Seminary, where it stayed until the middle of 1960s and the construction of the new military navy hospital “Dr Izidor Perera Matich”.

During the 20th century AD, the civil hospital’s departments were moved from one city location to another, slowly gathering on Firule, where they all finally met in 1975.

The civil hospital gained the status of clinical hospital in 1986. It was merged into one, unique institution with the military hospital and the spa on February 15th 1993.

On 29 August 2007 the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare assigned the hospital with the status of a centre, giving it the name in Croatian it carries today: Clinical Hospital Centre Split. In 2016 the UH Split’s Expert’s Council proclaimed its name in English: University Hospital of Split. 

UH Split celebrates its day on 15 February, established in 2019.