Today, Pula is considered one of the most important and most visited cities in Istria, and its foundation is mentioned in several historical sources. There is also a legend about the origin of Pula, which is related to the Colchians, who were robbed of the golden fleece by the Argonauts, and the Colchians went in pursuit of them. Since the Colchians did not catch them, they could not return home, and they settled the area of this city and called it Polai or the city of fugitives.
Pula has a rich and long history, remains from the Neolithic period were found in a cave near the town, and the oldest record of the town’s permanent settlement dates back to the 10th century. Pula was important during various historical periods, and various cultures and traditions are mixed in it, and various historical sights, which Pula is full of, testify to them.
Below we list only some of the most important monuments we think you should visit during your stay in Pula.
- PULA ARENA
When Pula is mentioned, the first thing that most people think of is the Arena, so it’s no wonder that this magnificent building is at the top of Pula’s most important monuments. The construction of the Pula Arena took place in the 1st century in parallel with the construction of another magnificent monument of this type – the Colosseum in Rome. During the time of the Romans, gladiator fights were held in the Arena, and as many as 20,000 visitors could fit in the Arena. Often, this stunning monument is also called Divic-grad because there is a legend associated with its construction, which says that the Istrian fairies carried stones from Ucka at night and stacked them in a circle, thus creating the Arena, but they could only work at night in order to avoided being seen by people and for this reason the Arena was left without a roof.
Today, the Pula Arena is one of the best-preserved monuments of ancient architecture, and in terms of size, it ranks 6th among the largest Roman amphitheaters in the world.
- THE GOLDEN GATE OR ARCH OF SERGII
While walking in Pula, you cannot fail to notice a beautiful monument that enchants many visitors. Arch of the Sergii, or as it is often called the Golden Gate, is located in the very center of Pula. The Arc was built between 29 and 27 BC in honor of the Sergius family, who were a distinguished family, and three members of the family held high official positions. It got the name Golden Gate because of the gilding of the doorposts or the rich decorative arch. Many artists were mesmerized by this wonderful monument, and even the famous artist Michelangelo Buonarotti decided to paint it, and the drawing is now kept in a museum in France.
The monument is located in the very center of the city and has survived through various historical periods and government changes, telling the story of other times.
- THE TEMPLE OF AUGUSTUS
The Temple of Augustus is located on the beautiful Pula town square – Forum, which has served as the main town square since the founding of Pola, i.e. the Roman colony under that name. The temple is dedicated to the goddess Roma and Emperor Augustus, who was also the first Roman emperor, and the temple was built during his lifetime. The temple was hit by a bomb during an Allied air raid in 1944 and was almost completely destroyed but was reconstructed in 1947. Over time, it had various roles, from a church to a grain storehouse, and today it houses an exhibition of ancient sculptures.
We definitely believe that a visit to this ancient monument is necessary during your stay in Pula, and we suggest you visit the Forum where you can sit, enjoy and drink coffee next to the magnificent Temple of Augustus.
- PULA CATHEDRAL
At the foot of the Pula Castle is the Pula Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. According to historical reports, the temple of Jupiter was located in the area of today’s cathedral in ancient Pula. There are also sources that testify that secret Christian gatherings were held in the area of today’s Cathedral during the Roman persecutions. In the Cathedral, there are also the bones of saints who were significant for their time and the bones of the former Hungarian king.
The Pula Cathedral is located near the Pula waterfront, and if you want to discover a little more about the history and culture of Pula during your stay, we suggest you visit this beautiful cathedral and walk through the old part of the city where it is located.
- UNDERGROUND TUNNELS – ZEROSTRASSE
Pula is a very rich city with a rich history and many things to offer, but Pula has a whole little world even underground. Zerostrasse, or underground tunnels, extend over the entire area of Pula. During the First World War, for the purpose of sheltering the population, the construction of a network of underground tunnels began. Given that it is known that Pula is a city on seven hills, this made construction particularly difficult, considering that the hills had to be drilled. The tunnels are 2.5 meters high and 3-6 meters wide. The Historical and Maritime Museums are also located in these interesting tunnels. Today, these underground spaces are used for various exhibitions, and they also host various night parties, which will delight all younger visitors and lovers of going out.
We suggest you visit these underground tunnels because they are an integral part of the city’s history, and they are one of the more unusual sights of Pula, and we certainly believe that you will not be disappointed.