Top 10 monuments of the Roman Empire in Pula
How long has the Roman Empire ruled Pula and Istra? What kind of traces has it left? What made Pula so important for the Roman Empire? How Pula looked like during the reign of Rome? Which are the best preserved Roman monuments you can see these days? Top 10 Roman Empire monuments in Pula that locals recommend you will help you gain insight into the life and rule of ancient Rome.
The Roman name for Pula was Colonia Pietas Iulia Pola or Colonia Iulia Pollentia Herculanea. That name was established when town was rebuilt after war in 31st BC on demand of Oktavian’s daughter Julia. Pula was a city with urban character built on the foundations of the Histrian’s Castle.
Why does it says Colonia in the middle name of Pula? Defenseless veterans needed to be provided for accomodation with a working land. Italy was already overcrowded, but Pula and Istria was perfect place for construction. Vicinity of the water source, the protected and deep sea bay and the fertile land surrounding it, made Pula an ideal place for living.
Pula’s ground plan had the shape of spider web because of its hills – that was unusual for Roman’s colonies. In that period, Pula was surrounded by walls, but these days we can easily walk in the street of Pula and enjoy in visiting Roman’s traces.
These are top 10 Roman Empire monuments in Pula:
AMPHITHEATAR – ARENA
What would it Roman’s urban settlement be without a place intended for a crude show? Arena used to stand outside of the Pula’s walls. The legend says that Arena was a gift from the emperor Vespasian to his lover – free slave Antonia Cenida. But the folk tale says that Arena (Divić-grad) were made by fairies during the night. Fairies left Arena without roof because they lost their magic power after the sunrise… None of that stories is proven, so whom do we trust? One thing is truth – Arena used to be a place intended for entertainment, but also the place for demonstrating the cruelty and power of Roman authority over the disobedience, slavery, lunatics and criminals.
Arena is under the protection of Archeological Museum of Istria which maintains ancient customs – you can see reconstruction of the real gladiator fight – spectakula antiqa every summer season. Don’t miss that spectacle with truth fighters! After the show you can drink some good Istrian wine (like Romans used to drink) in wine bar Tappo that is near Arena.
Find Amphitheater easy on Google Maps by link: https://goo.gl/maps/VfuKryC4J1K2
TRIUMPHAL ARCH SERGIJEVAC – PORTA AUREA
The monument Triumphal Arch of patrician family Sergijevac used to present one of the 12 gate of Pula, but today is freestanding inheritance. Historical sources says that it was built in the honor of the deceased brothers from Sergijevac family. Triumphal Arch or Porta Aurea was raised by Salvia Postum Srgijevac to prove love for her husband, son and uncle. Today, Porta Aurea stands on the central position of the Portarata Square and leads you to the Prvomajska street where you can walk trought all town. If you get tired of walking trouhgt center you can relax nearby – in bistro Alighieri and eat some brunch.
Find Porta Aurea easy on Google Maps by link: https://goo.gl/maps/dsxY1Baq9VD2
THE TWIN DOORS
One of the main entrances to the Pula is preserved today – these are the Twin Doors (from II or III century) leading to the Archaeological Museum of Istria. According to the existing data they had decorative function of the entrance to the antique theater. Theatar is still there – behind the Acrhaeological Museum of Istria.
Find Tween doors easy on Google Maps by link: https://goo.gl/maps/Euf34wfet5z
DOOR OF HERCULES
Another historical trace from the age of 47. and 45. BC. door of Hercules represent the evidence from the time Pula emerged as a town with urban structure. That arhitectually modest doors are made of unprofilated stone block. At the top of the damaged openings we can see the head of Hercules and his cudgel. Next to the cudgel is inscription with names of two Roman’s clerics – Gaius Cassius Longinus and Lucius Calpurnous Pisu – Roman’s Senate sent them to build colonies in Pula and to rule it. Today , doors are the entrence of the Circcolo – The Italian community.
Find Door of Hercules easy on Google Maps by link: https://goo.gl/maps/wWtjPmWMJzu
SMALL ROMAN THEATAR
Evidence that Pula was highly culturally developed is the remains of the Roman’s Theater on the slope of Kaštel (behind the Archeological Museum of Istria). In that theatar (built in the I. Century) could fit about 5.000 people – the entire Pula’s population of that time. The space was divided into the scene and the prosperous for actors, on the orchestra and the auditorium, ie the cave.
Find Small Roman Theater on Google Maps by link: https://goo.gl/maps/pC1TprbTCXA2
The main square of ancient city – Forum is very well preserved. It used to be center of civil gatherings because there was a main market place, fairground, court, administrative offices and public events. The tradition of public gathering at the Forum is still alive – the place abounds with cultural events and cafes which provides a clear view at ancient monuments.
Find Forum easy on Google Maps by link: https://goo.gl/maps/3M1vfBEkFiR2
TEMPLE OF THE EMPEROR AUGUSTUS
Wonderful temple that is made in the honor of Roman goddess Roma and the emperor Augustus. The temple represents example of early Roman sacral architecture, and because of its rich ornaments, the influence of late Hellenistic art is visible. The pillars are made of smooth marble, on top of which are the classic Corinthian capitals. The leaves of akanta are beautiful, on the main wreath there are reliefs of vine, fruit and bird motifs, which are derived with very fine technique. The temple is located on the northern side of the Forum.
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Communal palace that stands on Forum contains the entire history of Pula in the architectural stratigraphy of antiquity, Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque until these days. It is a continuous municipal headquarters which points to the special significance and influence of antiquity on Pula Heritage.
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DIRKA’S PUNISHMENT – MOSAIC
The mosaic presents legend about Dirka, actually, Dirka’s punishment. Dirka was injured because of her jealousy and malice – she was caught in her own trap. Dirka’s envy motivated her to spit against her cousin Antiopa (Dirka was jelousy because Antiopa’s love affair with Zeus). Men on the mosaic are sons of Antiopa and Zeus – Amifon and Zet. Dirka condemned Antiopa to prison jail and chased her sons into the wild wood. Zeus helped Amifon and Zet – he send a shepherd to take care on them. After many years, Antiopa meets her sons on Dionysius celebration. Dirka notice that, and she order Amifon and Zet to bring a bull and tide Antiopa on bull’s horns – Dirka’s exclamation was that Antiopa is a runaway slave. Zeus spotted her intent and told Antiopa’s sons the truth. In the end, Amifon and Zet tide up Dirka to a bull. Mosaic is available for visitors near the church Saint Maria Formosa.
Find Dika mosaic easy on Google Maps by link: https://goo.gl/maps/M5YzfwDpqtv
REMAINS OF ROMAN VILLAS ON ISLAND VIŽULA (NEAR MEDULIN)
Wellness centers are not an invention of modern times. Archaeologists know this very well – a new evidence is discovered on the Peninsula of Vižula in Medulin, they found the remains of the ancient villa which reveals a lot about late antiquity lifestyle of the Romans. In the terrace building was system core for heating water, air and furnaces. There was also a system for heating and circulating air – central heating of that time.
Find Visula Medulin easy on Google Maps by link: https://goo.gl/maps/GvMpPTKjukw