Discovering Pula: where history meets natural beauty
Located on the Istrian Peninsula in Croatia, Pula stands as a city where history, culture, and natural beauty converge. Considered a coastal gem, Pula is renowned for its well-preserved Roman ruins.
For those looking to journey to Pula, especially from Venice, a beautiful solution includes a ferry ride across the sparkling waters of the Adriatic. In this article, we will discover Pula’s treasures, inviting tourists to visit a city where the past and present harmonize.
In the Roman period (1st – 3rd centuries), the city’s most beautiful classical monuments were built, including the Amphitheater, popularly called the Arena. Built in the 1st century AD during Emperor Vespasian’s rule, it was a time when the city was fortified with walls and equipped with major Roman civilization achievements, like temples, sewage systems, and religious centres.
Before the 5th century, under the Eastern Roman Empire, the town experienced conflicts between the Byzantine and Gothic armies. In the feudal period, the Istrian peninsula faced invasions by the Slavs, and by 1150, Pula had accepted obligations towards the Republic of Venice.
In the following centuries, the city faced attacks from Genoese, Croatian-Hungarian, and Habsburg armies. In the nineteenth century, after war and German occupation, Pula came under the Anglo-American administration. Finally, in 1947, Pula returned to its natural hinterland, Croatia.
Architectural gems: a city full of history
Pula offers a variety of unique architectures and characteristics. The Pula Arena, the town’s crown jewel, is one of the six largest Roman amphitheatres in existence today and is unique with its four side towers. Constructed in limestone, it had a total of 15 gates underneath, from which fighters and animals could be released. Today, the Arena hosts events like the famous Pula Film Festival, concerts, opera, and sports competitions.
Other notable monuments include the Arch of the Sergii, or Golden Gate, standing in the centre of Portarata Square. This honorary arch, built for three members of the Sergii family, stands 8 meters high with Corinthian capitals adorned with symbols of military success.
In Pula, you can also visit the Cathedral, known as the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, showcasing Romanesque and Byzantine influences, medieval frescoes, and a baroque altar. The Chapel of St. Mary Formosa, displaying Romanesque and Gothic elements, and the Renaissance-era Communal Palace are also worth visiting. These architectural Croatian gems are a must-see for anyone interested in architectural finesse.
Pula’s delights: a gastronomic journey
Istrian cuisine, influenced by Italian, Austrian, Hungarian, and Slavic cuisines, offers ocean treasures like frogfish, sea bass, and the savoury buzara stew featuring Kvarner scampi. For those less inclined towards seafood, Pula’s cuisine also includes Istrian prosciutto, fritaja, and maneštra, as well as pasta dishes reflecting Italian influence. End your culinary journey in Pula on a sweet note with kroštule, fritule, and cukerančići. Istrian truffle, esteemed globally, can be enjoyed with pasta, steak, or cheese.
Exploring Pula’s nature: not just a coastal beauty
Nature lovers will find Pula an immersive experience.
Natural beauties to explore in Pula:
- Verudela Beach: offers crystal-clear waters and a scenic coastline.
- Gortan Cove**: a secluded haven ideal for snorkelling.
- Kamenjak National Park: known for its rugged cliffs, hidden coves, and diverse trails.
- Premantura: the southernmost tip of Istria, featuring diverse ecosystems and pristine beaches.
- Brijuni Islands: a short boat ride away, this archipelago boasts diverse flora and fauna.
- Sergius’ Garden: a Roman horticultural oasis in the heart of Pula with blooming flowers and centuries-old olive trees.
This city in the heart of Istria contains natural beauties, a rich cultural influence, and a vibrant history. Pula caters to all kinds of tourists, offering natural reserves and a historic centre. With its historical and culinary traditions, Pula is a city worth experiencing in all respects – don’t miss it!