Pula – a city of history, culture and youth

Pula Croatia Amphitheater

March 9, 2015 • Locations

Pula, or in its Latin name Colonia Pietas Iulia Pola Pollentia Herculanea, is the largest city in Istria, situated at the southern tip of the Istria peninsula and is well known for its mild climate, smooth sea and culture. It is easily accessible by the Istrian Y highway complex, its harbour and airport.

According to the legend of Argonauts, the Colchidians pursued the ship Argo and the Golden Fleece but abandoned their quest after the king of Colchis’ son died. They feared that they would be punished for the death of their prince and failure of the quest, and decided to remain where the prince had died – in the area of today’s Pula. That makes Pula around 3000 years old.

Pula’s history is visible with every step across the city:

Amphitheater PulaThe Amphitheatre ­­– popularly named Arena of Pula is the most famous and important monument, once a site of gladiator fights. It was built in the 1st century AD, at the same time as the Colosseum in Rome. In the Middle Ages it was the site of knights tournaments and fairs. Today, it holds many cultural and entertainment events such as the Pula film festival, Opera season, various concerts, even some sports events etc. and can seat around 5000 spectators. Listening to a performer under the clear starry sky in a place that has so much history is an experience you will cherish and remember for the rest of your life. The Arena’s underground passages host a regular exhibition of viticulture and olive growing in Istria in ancient times.

The Temple of Augustus – the temple is situated in the town Forum, the main square of the classical and medieval Pula, and is dedicated to the goddess Roma and Emperor Augustus. Its function changed throughout the years – from its origin as a pagan temple through serving as a church and granary and now it houses a collection of ancient stone and bronze sculptures. The temple also has a twin, the Temple of Diana, but only the back wall is preserved.

The Triumphal Arch of the Sergi – Golden Gate – the gates were built between 29 and 27 BC by the Sergi family, in honour of the three Arch of the Sergii Pulamembers of the family who held important positions in Pula at that time. Today, they lead to a shopping boulevard where you can find unique souvenirs and homemade/handmade Istrian products. The boulevard takes you to the aforementioned Forum.

The Castle – on the top of the central hill of the city there lays a star-shaped castle with four bastions built in 1630. It was built by a French military architect Antoine de Ville under the commission of the Venetians in order to protect the city and its harbour. Today the Castle houses the Historical Museum of Istria and gives the visitors spectacular views of the surrounding city and coastline.

There are many more historical sites in Pula, but it’s best to consult the local tourist agencies and associations for further information considering what interests you. Just taking a stroll through the city will give you the feeling of history and culture that once was and still is the lifeline of the wonderful city of Pula.

The city of Pula holds around 30 km of coastline with tons of beaches that suit any and all of your tastes – from sandy beaches, over paved and rocky and even beaches where the cliffs give you the best diving spots.

One of my most favourite beaches is the Golden cliffs beach, located on the Monsival peninsula. It’s exactly what the name says – amazing cliffs perfect for headfirst dives that become golden with the sunset. The beach gives out a natural wild and untouched vibe so it’s not for people that like man-made beaches. It is situated close to the Horizont apartment complex within which there is a store, a café and restaurants, and you can also rent a bike or pedal boat. I recommend bringing your own basic diving gear – mask and snorkel and enjoying the underwater world.

Beach in Pula CroatiaPunta Verudela is one of the most well-known Pula peninsulas that houses a tourist complex with mostly rocky and pebble beaches that are set amidst pine trees and medicinal local plants, with numerous cafés and sports facilities.

The beach in Stoja is famous for being the most beautiful beach in Pula. It is the location of a camp with the same name. It is mostly pebbly with some rocky parts and has an easily accessible entrance into the sea. In the camp you can rent equipment for various sports and sports fields for mini golf, tennis, basketball and volleyball. There are also restaurants, cafés, a store and an exchange office in the camping resort.

The surrounding small towns and villages also hold beautiful beaches, such as Medulin, Banjole, Fažana, Ližnjan, Pomer, Premantura, Šišan, Štinjan, etc. If you come by car, all those places are accessible via local roads, but most of them also have a daily bus line leading from and to the city.

If you like going out and partying while you’re on vacation make sure you visit some of the local bars and discotheques such as Aruba Club, discotheque, lounge bar, restaurant and mini theatre all in one; Uljanik Club, the epicentre of rock culture of Pula has a large open terrace, big concert/DJ space and a smaller hall also for musical events; or even one of the festivals that are held in Pula such as the Seasplash Festival, a four-day and five-stages festival where you can listen to performers ranging from traditional roots sounds to modern electronic dubstep beats.

Pula doesn’t lack in accommodation facilities either, there are a number of hostels, hotels, camps, apartment complexes etc. available throughout the year, but make sure to make reservations during summer because they fill up pretty fast.

You can find more information @ www.pulainfo.hr/en/  

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