ARENA (AMPHITEATHER)

Arena is most known symbol of Pula, it is about one of the most preserved Roman amphitheaters in the world.
Building of Arena has started by Emperor Augustus, who ruled between 27 B.C. until 14 A.D. It has gained its form in time of Vesapian and remained the same until today. Vesapian is the emperor who is credible of creating Colloseum in Roma.
Surface of the Arena is around 11.500 m2, which is similar size of one and a half football fields. That space was enough to hold 23.000 spectators, which was a huge number for that time. In the middle of Arena is a huge fighting pit with impressive dimensions of 67,9 x 41,6 meter.
Fights that happened in the pit were between gladiators and sometimes even between gladiators and wild beasts. Prepares for fighting happened on underground level, which you can visit today. There you can find exhibition of „Olive growing and Viticulture in Istria during Roman period“where you can see old amphoras and grape-presses. Christians were often and cruelly tortured in Arena, they were persecuted in Roman Empire until 4th century A.D.

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Address:

Arena, Flavijevska ulica, 52100 Pula

GPS coordinate:

N44.87323, E13.85024

CATHEDRAL OF MARY'S ASSUMPTION

Pula cathedral is placed between coast and Kandlers street and it is know of its belfry which is separated form from rest of the cathedral and is placed in front of its entrance.
Cathedral gained its finished form of today’s in 5th century. It was built on a place where Christians secretly gathered during persecution in Roman Empire. It was part of religious complex, in which church of St Tomas belonged to but it was demolished in middle age. We are reminded of its existence by St. Tomas square, who is protector of the city, and it stands also in front of cathedral.
Pula cathedral is one of two residences of Poreč-pulan bishop. Construction of its belfry began in second half of 17th century which was mostly made of rock by unkept Arena. Belfry was opened in 1707. and by its side was open-air baptistery. In whole it was interesting and lightsome complex. While baptistery was demolished in 19th century, belfry remained until today.
By the church there is small green oasis where you can take a short brake and relax. Park is named after Juraj Dobrila, who was famous Croatian bishop in 19th century.

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Address:

Katedrala, Trg Svetog Tome 2, 52100 Pula

GPS coordinate:

N44.87164, E13.844238

AUGUSTUS TEMPLE AND THE FORUM

Since Roman Empire, Forum is main Pula square and center of Pulan life.
Forum is placed between coast and western slopes of central city hill where Kaštel is later built. There were three temples on Forum at the beginning, but there is only one left and that is Augustus temple. Remains of second temple cannot even be seen, while part of Dianas temple was used in construction of town hall in 13th century and can be seen form it’s back side.
Except for being religious center, Forum was used as administration center so judicial and administration offices were placed there. Tradition continued in middle age when city hall was built, perfect example of Romanesque and Renaissance building style.
Today Forum is still big part of life in Pula. Except for being administration center, there are restaurants in which many guests gather and often it is a place for concerts or other public appearance.

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Address:

Forum, Forum 3, 52100 Pula

GPS coordinate:

N44.869987, E13.842242

CHAPEL OF ST. MARY FORMOSA

The Chapel of St. Mary Formosa in Pula belonged to early Christian Basilica St. Mary Formosa which was part of Benedictine abbey built in second half of 6th century thanks to Archbishop Maximianus of Ravenna form vicinity of Rovinj.
Basilica St. Mary Formosa (or Canetta) was 32m long and 19m wide, and it is assumed that in that place were previously ruins of Minervas temple. Records of Basilica form that and later era tells us Basilica was very luxurious. Even Constantinopolian workers did the decorating of Basilica. Inside of church were marble columns, marble reliefs, frescos, mosaics on floor, one record from 16th century tells us about stone sarcophagus so it is assumed chapels in that time had roll of mausoleum.

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Address:

Kapela Formoza, Maksimijanova ulica 14, 52100 Pula

GPS coordinate:

N44.868007, E13.843618

ISTRIAN MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART

The museum collects works of art created in the second half of last century until the latest work of recent artists.
MCAI represents an open meeting place of multiculturalism and, above all, to be a leading cultural and art institution of Istrian artists.

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Address:

Muzej suvremene umjetnosti, Trg Sv. Ivana 1, 52100 Pula

GPS coordinate:

N44.872248, E13.847009

ARCH OF THE SERGI - GOLDEN GATES

The Triumphal Arch of the Sergi, also known as Golden Gates, it is one of most important monument sin Pula.
The Triumphal Arch of the Sergi stands in the centre of Portarata Square, near eastern end of former city walls. It was placed inside of city walls next to city gates named Golden Gates, that’s why remains of The triumphal arch are called that way. Because of being placed inside of city walls and behind Golden Gates, in Roman Empire you basically couldn’t see it from eastern part of town.
It was built by orders of Salvia Postuma in memory of tree members of Sergi family, noble family in that time. Today we know their names form preserved records – those were Lucius Sergi, Lucius Sergi Lepid and Gnaeus Sergi. It is also noted that costs of constructing it was payed by Salvia Postuma.
The triumphal arch is built in Hellenistic style and it is decorated with reliefs. Western side is more decorated due to city center being placed there and you could see more from there. Also, from that side the triumphal arch is ‘being watched’ by monument of James Joyce.

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Address:

Slavoluk Sergijevaca, Flanatička ulica 2, 52100 Pula

GPS coordinate:

N44.868381, E13.847068

THE GATE OF HERCULES

The Gate of Hercules (Porta Ercole, from Italian) is the oldest preserved monument of Roman architecture in Pula, built in the middle 1st century B.C.
Gates are the eldest preserved city gates which passage is 3.6 meters wide and gates its hight goes over 4 meters. Door frame is made of well carved stone blocks. On the top of door frame block there is a carved bearded head with curly hair, on the left side of it is a club – which was symbol of mythical hero Hercules, who was city protector in that time, that is why on one inscription Pula is being named Colonia Iulia Pola Pollentia Herculanea. On vault is engraved inscription in which are two Roman officials mentioned; Lucius Calpurnius Piso and Gaius Cassius Longinus.

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Address:

Herkulova vrata, Giardini 5, 52100 Pula

GPS coordinate:

N44.870156, E13.847934

THE TWIN GATES

The Twin Gates are placed in center of Pula, between Kaštel and Arena, which are probably built at the end of first or beginning of second century.
The Twin Gates are recognizable by their two big vaults, which lead, both then and now, towards Small Roman Theatre. They were one of tithe gates surrounding Pula. Most of them were demolished in 19th century, but some of them were preserved until today.
There is a slits placed in gates which were used for lowering grids to close doors, while whole doors are ‘lifted’ by beautiful relief wreath. The Twin Gates are, except for their historical meaning, used for passage to not only Small Roman Theatre but also for passage to Archaelogical Museum and Zerostrasse.

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Address:

Dvojna vrata, Carrarina ulica 8, 52100 Pula

GPS coordinate:

N44.870924, E13.847698

ZEROSTRASSE

Pula was for a long time most important port of Austio-Hungarian Monarchy so imperial authorities gave it attached it big importance. It is not surprising that it got great attention in defending it from war enemies in approaching World War I.
Pula underground was determined to be military warehouse, also it was used communication and as a hideout for residents in case of attack. One part of it is placed beneath Kaštel and today you can see part that is called Zerostrasse which is 400 meters long.
After World War I Italian government didn’t left tunnels unkempt, in fact, they upgraded it, later they have been used as atomic hideout. It is estimated that it can hold around 50.000 people which almost full citizenship.
Entrance to Zerostrasse is at The Twin Gates and Archeological Museum or for Kandlers street. Around halfway through there is an expanded part where gallery is placed. In gallery can be see display of Austro-Hungraian navy and century of aviation in Istra. Except for interesting gallery and special atmosphere in underground tunnels, Zerostrasse is worth visiting because of it’s comfortable temperature. Temperature there is around 14 to 18 ˚C and it is a real refreshment during hot summer.

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Address:

Zerostrasse, Carrarina ulica 3, 52100 Pula

GPS coordinate:

N44.870905, E13.847734

ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM OF ISTRIA

In an impressive building between The Twin Gates and Small Roman Theater is placed Archeological Museum of Istra.
It started forming at beginning of 19th century when collection was filled with objects from Nesactium and Augustus temple in Forum. But then it was located at different place, at ascend of st. Stjepan near The Triumphal Arch.
After merge with few other institutions, there was moving and opening of new location in 1930. museum is moved in former Austrian gymnasium, inside of old city walls, between The Twin Gates and Small Roman Theater, where is stayed until today.
In museum you can always see pieces from Istrian prehistory, the classical period and middle age. So there, for example, can be seen jewelry that is thousands years old, Roman money, monuments and pottery, early Christian mosaics and much more. Archeological Museum has dislocated collections in Arena, Augustus temple, beautiful church of (holy Hearth) svetog Srca and Nesactium.

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Address:

Arheološki muzej Istre, Carrarina ulica 3, 52100 Pula

GPS coordinate:

N44.870413, E13.847608

KAŠTEL - HISTORICAL AND MARITIME MUSEUM

In the middle of historical town core surrounded by city walls is one more attractive notability – Pulan citadel, also known as Venetian Fortress.
In place where were citadels defense fortifications, formed by Roman Empire, maybe even before. Venetians had decided, because of Pula’s maritime value, to build a fort and it has been designed and realized by French architect Antonie de Ville in 1630. It is a square-shaped fort with peaky walls so in ground plan it reminds of star-shaped object, which can be seen in center of Karlovan in hexagon shape.
Citadel today is home for Historical and nautical museum of Istra, very rich museum institution, which collections have more that 75.000 objects. Visitors there can enjoy in old postcards and maps, military medals, maritime instruments, old flags, historical photographs and so on.
Except of its interesting exhibit, Historical and nautical museum or Kaštel is worth visiting for breathtaking look at Pula and Pulan bay.

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Address:

Kaštel – Povijesni i pomorski muzej Istre, Gradinski uspon 6, 52100 Pula

GPS coordinate:

N44.870455, E13.845537

SMALL ROMAN THEATRE

Rich ancient inheritance of Pula can be seen in remains of old Roman Theater. They took a lot of care about entertainment, so beside of Arena, Pula had two theaters. Bigger one has not been preserved but smaller one today called Small Roman Theater can be seen clearly and it is found between old city walls.
It has been constructed in 1st century and it could hold around 5000 spectators, maybe more, which is pretty big number for Pula in that time. Small Roman Theater is reachable through The Twin Gates, one more Pula’s monument.

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Address:

Rimsko kazalište, Hercuov prolaz 1, 52100 Pula

GPS coordinate:

N44.870122, E13.84695

CHURCH AND ST. FRANCIS MONASTERY

On the slopes of the hill between Forum and Kaštel St. Francis church is placed, recognizable by its beautiful garden and monastery.
St. Francis monastery was built at the beginning of 13th century in place of early Christian basilica. According to historical records, in that monastery blessed Oton passed away and his posthumous remains are being cared of to this day, and day of his passing away, 14. of December, is being still celebrated.
St. Francis church, one of the most important in Pula, was built somewhere in transition from 13th to 14th century, what witnesses grant of Marote of Kopar from 1299., which gives money for construction of new church Male braće. That is by many people the most beautiful part of church and monastery complex, beautiful cloister, got today’s outlines in baroque.
Between monastery and church are placed a but randomly placed stone slabs and small monuments, part of collection of 300 pieces collected from churches in Pula and rest of Istra.
At the end, it is important to mention that besides St. Francis, fr. Jakov of Pula, gray friar lived there. He was one of the main builders on St. Anun basilica in Padova.

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Address:

Samostan i crkva sv. Franje, Uspon Svetog Franje Asiškog 9, 52100 Pula

GPS coordinate:

N44.869952, E13.843774

THE MOSAIC OF THE PUNISHMENT OF DIRKE

The mosaic of the punishment of Dirke is unique notability and one of the most preserved antique mosaics to this day.
Mosaic can be found in center of Pula, a bit hidden between surrounding buildings. It originates for 2nd or 3rd century. It tell story from Greek mythology about the punishment of Dirke.
Main characters of story besides Dirke are Lik (her husband) and Antiopa (her cousin). Antiopa was a very beautiful woman who attracted even Zeus himself, giving birth to twins Amfiona and Zeta. Antiopa was after short-term escape given by force to Lik and Dirka. Jealous Dirke was very cruel to Antiopa, whose sons were in meantime wandering surrounding forests.
As her sons didn’t know their mother, Dirkehad an idea after meeting them – she ordered them to tie their mother to bull horns. But then Zeus interfered and told sons through shepherd that Antiopa is their mother so at the end Dirke was the one tied to bull horns and killed.
Mosaic shows those last moments of Dirke’s life. It is interesting how it was found after bombing of Pula in World War II. During cleaning the ruins, few mosaics were found in old Roman houses in which Dirke’s mosaic was in best shape after conservation works and it was left in place where it was found.

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Address:

Floor mozaic, ulica Sergijevaca 18, 52100 Pula

GPS coordinate:

N44.868765, E13.843947