Colonia Pietas Iulia Pola, as Pula was named by the ancient Romans, has been writing its history for 3000 years. The city built at the end of a beautiful bay and on seven hills reveals many beautiful and interesting stories. According to legend, it was founded by the Colchians, after the pursuit of the Argonauts and their leader Jason, who stole the precious golden fleece from the Colchians.
Today, the city lives in many colors and sounds, perfectly intertwining a colorful and exciting past with the modern times of its residents and visitors. It boasts a perfectly preserved amphitheater, the largest amphora site in the world, the Temple of Augustus, many churches, monasteries, Venetian and Austro-Hungarian architecture, an excellent variety of gastronomic specialties and wine in numerous restaurants, rich museums, galleries, concert events, great nightlife, and many others beauties found in this famous city.
Pula, a city located in Croatia, has a long and fascinating history dating back to ancient times. The region has evidence of human presence for over a million years, with the remains found in the nearby cave of Šandalja. The city's history starts with the Nezakci settlement in the 15th century BC, which became the center of Histra. The first castle settlement was established 3,000 years ago on the site of today's Kaštela.
During the Roman Empire, Pula underwent a significant transformation. The city saw the construction of the water supply system, sewage system, city walls with ten gates, temples, theaters, and the famous amphitheater. However, the city fell into a period of conflict and disease, and the population dwindled to only 300 people.
Pula was under Venetian rule until 1797 when it became a part of the Habsburg Monarchy. In the 19th century, the city's port became the main Austrian port and a significant shipbuilding center, boosting the population to 60,000.
During World War I, Pula fell under Italian rule, which saw the oppression of the Croat population. Many were forced to undergo Italianization, looting, and sent to camps, leading to a mass exodus of the Croat population.
The city fell under fascist rule during World War II, with the German army taking control in 1943. The city saw heavy bombing, leading to the destruction of numerous historical monuments and part of the old city core. Pula was liberated in May 1945 and became part of Yugoslavia until its breakup in 1991, where Pula and Istria became part of the modern Republic of Croatia.
Amphitheater - a monument that was once the place of gladiator fights. It was built in the 1st century AD. The floor plan is elliptical, the longer axis is about 130 m, and the shorter one is about 100 m. It is believed that the Amphitheater could accommodate about 20,000 spectators.
Temple of Augustus - The temple, located on the Forum, is dedicated to the goddess Roma and Emperor Augustus. It was built between 2 BC and 14 AD. Today, it houses a collection of ancient stone and bronze sculptures.
Sergius Arch - Golden Gate - The "Golden Gate" was built between 29 and 27 BC by the Sergius family in honor of three family members who held important positions in Pula at the time.
The Hercules Gate – is located between two, most likely medieval, towers, simply built of unhewn stone blocks. At the top of the damaged arch, although hardly recognizable, is carved the head of Hercules and his club.
Double gates and city walls - In ancient and medieval times, the entire city was surrounded by walls and one could enter through ten gates. The walls became old and unnecessary, so they were demolished at the beginning of the 19th century. The double gate so named because of the two arches through which you enter the inner courtyard, once the entrance to the city, was built between the 2nd and 3rd centuries.
The Forum - The shore on which the Forum was built in the 1st century BC had to be filled up to obtain a larger area. On the northern part of the Forum stood two twin temples and a central one dedicated to Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva. Today, only the temple of Augustus has been preserved in its entirety, while only the back wall of the second temple, built into the Communal Palace in the 13th century, is visible.
Small Roman Theater - On the northeastern slopes of the central town hill, below the Castle, there are the remains of a Roman theater: in addition to the Amphitheatre, Pula had two other theaters in Roman times. The larger one, which has not been preserved, was located outside the city, on the slopes of Monte Zaro, south of the city walls. Another theater known as the Little Roman Theater was located within the city walls. The remains of the stage, semicircular orchestra, and auditorium have been partially reconstructed.
Chapel of St. Marije Formoza - It is one of two chapels built in the 6th century as part of a large Benedictine abbey demolished in the 16th century. The floor and walls were decorated with mosaics, some of which are now in the Archaeological Museum of Istria.
Church and monastery of St. Francis - The church was built in 1314 in the late Romanesque style with Gothic ornaments, as a solid and simple building of the preaching Franciscan order.
Castle - From the upper circular street, one of the vertical paths leads to the top of the central city hill, where a star-shaped castle with four bastions was built in 1630. It is most likely the site of an earlier fort. dates back to the pre-Roman and Roman periods. The Histar castle was primarily built for defensive purposes, while in Roman times it housed a small military crew. Today, the Historical Museum of Istria is located in Kaštela.