Best things to see in Pula
Pula, the city that has a dominating Roman history; largely due to the fact it sports a large Roman amphitheatre that was left intact for the most part. The city also has a long tradition of wine making, shipbuilding and tourism. Pula is also the largest town in the region of Istria, but only the eight largest in Croatia.
If you already explored towns like Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik, etc. you might as well take a shot to see this historical town, home to the most preserved Roman Colosseum to date. Pula is full of interesting little details that are just waiting to be explored. 🙂
Pula also broke the Guiness World Record for largest tie in the world in 2003. The tie being conveniently wrapped around Pula Arena. 🙂
The Pula Arena is the only amphitheatre to have all four side towers along with the three architectural orders entirely preserved, making it a rather beautiful sight to behold. Whilst Pula is a gorgeous town filled with Roman architectural past it certainly can thank the Amphitheatre for being the main tourist attraction.
After a while of exploring the viewing seats of the amphitheatre from where visitors watched and cheered on gladiator fights you can get to see the underground passages that were used by gladiators and cisterns that supplied perfumed water to the 20.000 spectators. One of the reasons the amphitheatre survived since the first century it was built was determined due to being used by medieval knights 1000 years later.
Just like in ancient times the main square is the most active part of Pula. Just as old events and gatherings were taking place in the past, you can surely expect to see the number of people grow during festivities and events nowadays. Even if there aren’t any special occasions taking place you can still explore and admire the Roman architecture and decor littered around the place.
Temple of Augustus
Whilst walking on the Forum square you surely didn’t miss the moderate sized temple. The temple was built somewhere around 27BC and 14AD; or in retrospect during Emperor Augustus’s lifetime. An interesting thing about the temple is that is was a part of a triad consisting of three temples.
Over the years the temple was a church followed by being a granary and then finally settling as a lapidarium. During the war the temple was struck by a bomb during the Allied air raid in 1944, almost entirely obliterating it, luckily the temple was reconstructed in 1947. Nowadays the temple is used as a museum/lapidarium, displaying old Roman sculptures.
Church of St. Francis
If you walk up a nearby slope from the Forum you will be greeted to the Franciscan church of Pula. The St. Francis church/monastery was built around the 1300 when the monastic order first came to Pula. One of the most popular sights to see in the church would have to be the little garden oasis with palm tress.
The shape of the church is simple and frank in appearance. The fine processed stone from which the stone walls were built give us an answer of how skilled the stone masons were that built the church. Just like a couple of other towns in Croatia, Pula has a nice mix of old and modern architecture that makes the town oh so beautiful.
Whilst not the most grand monument, in all honesty a modest monument. The gate of Hercules are positioned in between two, most probably medieval towers. If you look closely at the top of the arch of the gates you will notice the head of Hercules with his curly hair, beard and club. The club containing names of two Roman officials, Lucius Calpurnius Piso and Gaius Cassius Longinus.
Small Roman Theatre
This Roman theatre built in the first century was built on the slope underneath the castle in Pula. Capable of accommodating anywhere from 4 thousand to 5 thousand spectators. The cultural development in Pula’s history was exceptional, being confirmed by the town’s amphitheatre along with two theatres. Over time this Small Roman Theatre degraded, having not been preserved apart from a couple of small details.
Relaxing in Pula
Whilst there’s certainly plenty to see in Pula most came to Croatia to relax and have some fun. Pula is littered with beaches, coves and small islands which you can explore. Take a dip in the refreshing water after walking around the historical town on a hot Summer day. Relax and delight in the sunlight, getting a
sunburn tan in the process. 🙂
Pula is also home to several festivities, one of which being the Croatian Film festival that is scheduled to take place from 13.07.-21.07. this year. The festival usually shows films of Croatian origin, giving any visitor a glimpse of how traditional Croatian films looked like.
You could also enjoy a typical mediterranean meal, Pula among many other Croatian towns being famous for it’s fish and olive oil that’s home grown. Once you taste the fish that’s freshly caught you will surely relish every single bite. 🙂
Short summary of Pula
If you are a fan of Roman history, especially one with gladiator battles then you will surely enjoy Pula. The Roman influence quiet apparent once you start walking the streets and exploring the various monuments like the giant Roman aphitheatre which housed gladiator battles in the past.
Whether you are visiting Pula wondering what to do or staying here for a week, make sure to always explore the areas outside of the town as well. Croatia is a country full of surprises, so why not spend your time exploring and discovering what beauties this country has to offer.