Pula… Have you ever heard about it? It was my little discovery of the day. I was sitting bored in front of the work computer, taking a short break from the everyday work and task, dreaming about the summer vacation, checking secretly my facebook (I hope that my boss won’t find out this article). And then “Buum” - a friend of mine had just shared an album from his last vacation… Amazing! At this moment a huge wave of jealousy swept my heart. I need to go there. I booked the ticket and went. And I have never regretted. Have a look what did I discover in Croatian breathtaking city.
Pula in a short
Pula is located in the southern part of the Istrian peninsula – almost at the top and it is the biggest city in that area. Situated beneath seven hills and with views of the Adriatic, Pula's unspoilt natural surroundings are magical. Known for its mild climate and tame, beautiful sea, Pula also has a long tradition of winemaking, fishing and shipbuilding. It is also home to many ancient Roman buildings, including the well-preserved, magnificent amphitheatre.
Amphitheatre in Pula
Photo by: Slaven Radolović
Historical place to visit
As I have mentioned, the city has a long history dating from the Roman time. So, take your time and arrange your time schedule really well if you do want to see everything. As you are going to see in most tour guides of the city the must see views are: the Arena – it was built in 1st century AD, is one of the six largest amphitheatres in the world. You should visit it or at least start from there because this amphitheatre is the symbol of Pula. Furthermore, it is located in the centre of the city, so basically for me was the best start point discovering the city. The Temple of Augustus – honestly when I saw it for the first time I was a bit disappointed because on the picture it looks bigger and more impressing. However, when you enter inside there is a special atmosphere.
Triumphal Arch of Sergius – as a good tourist I have read in advance at home the story of that arch – it was erected in a memory of the victory in the battle of Actium in Greece. Lucius Sergius Lepidus and his 2 brothers participated in the battle, later their sister built it in order to commemorate the feat of her brothers. It’s admirable monument (and tourists love to take pictures in front of it).
Triumphal Arch of Sergius
The Hercules Gate – as an important strategical roman city in Pula were build 10 gates. However, nowadays only 3 still remain and it is the oldest one of them (more than 2000 years old). As you can probably guess, its name comes from the ancient hero Hercules, who was the guardian of the city in Roman times. The arch is impressive - 4 meters high and 3,6 meters wide, and if you pay attention you can read the inscribed names of founders of Pula.
So, my small tour around Pula has started from the Arena, passed through main tourist street of the city and finally at the end of the walk I concluded, pleasantly surprised: who needs Rome when there is Pula?
My travel through the history of Pula continued with the fortresses. What a discovery!
Do you know that Pula has an impressive heritage of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy? During the period of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century (from 1820 to 1916) the city was part of Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. The most impressive fact for me was that during all this time it has been architecturally shaped as a fortified town. The result? Pula, together with its surroundings, has kept for over a century 26 magnificent forts or fortifications, as well as 8 artillery batteries, about 60 batteries, trenches, underground tunnels and many other points of interest. Furthermore, there is an outer ring of fortifications covers an area of 40,000 hectares. There is a legend that the forts were interconnected by a network of underground tunnels.
Photo by: Sandro Stehlik
However, maybe you are not that keen on the history and rather prefer to discover the nature beauty of Pula. I strongly recommend the park - forest Šijana. It is situated about 2 km from the centre of the town. A worth place to visit is the significant landscape Cape Kamenjak, as well. If you have a car or you like the campings take a look at the insanely beautiful national park Brijuni Islands and Island Fratarski. They are not that popular in the tour guides, but are a popular camping destination among the local people.
Natural Park Rt Kamenjak
Photo by: Foto Basso
If you are planning your summer vacation in August and you have already chosen Pula as your destination, do not miss to buy tickets for Pula Film Festival. It is one of the biggest cultural events in Pula and it dates from 1954. Except the nice movies you can enjoy the amazing feeling to watch a movie under stars in the Roman Colloseum.
I had the happiness to see it and there is no such a feeling. In my head was stucked the thought that thousands of years ago the Romans have been watching gladiator battles, and today I am watching movies.
One more recommendation discover Brijuni islands!
Pula, Pula it was nice to see you. There are so many things which I was not able to visit – next time. And for those who want to go to Rome - the internal city… Who needs it when there is Pula?
Do you want to know more about Pula? Read our Pula city guide!
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