Thursday 23 Nov 2017



The name Pula was mentioned the first time in the 3rd century BC in its plural form "Polai"; in the work of Greek poets Callimachus and Lycophron in the mythological story of Jason and Medea. Jason stole the Golden Fleece, and with the help of Medea ran away. Colchis was chasing them, but could not catch Jason, a very skilled sea traveller. They didn't dare to return without the Golden Fleece, so they settled in the upper Adriatic, where the Illiric tribe lived, and named the city - The City of Refuges, in their language - Polai. Century’s later Greek pottery was found, as well as parts of a statue representing Apollo, and some other traces of Greek culture. Around 46-45 BC Pula got the rank of a Roman colony, which resulted in intense development, with a big surrounding area under its jurisdiction. The formation of this Roman colony dates to the time of Caesar, and the task of foundation was entrusted to a couple of influential Romans: one was Caesar's father in law, and the other one was Cassius Longinus, who entered the history as Caesar's assassin. The names of founders are engraved in the oldest standing Roman monument in Pula, the Hercules Gate, which also shows the bearded head of this mythical hero who the Romans, adopted from Greek mythology.
Then, in 42 BC the civil war broke between the Triumvirate of Octavian, Antony and Lepidus on one hand and Caesar's assassins Brutus and Cassius on the other. The victory was Octavian's, after the battle at Actium in 31 BC Pula, being founded by Cassius, took the side of Brutus and Cassius, and was demolished following Octavian's victory. But, soon, due to geo-strategic and political factors, during the time of Octavian-Augustus, Pula was soon rebuilt, and one of the masterpieces of Roman architecture, the Triumphal Arch of the Sergius family, was erected as a symbol of the victory at Actium.
Augustus transformed Pula into an imperial city, and some of the monumental examples of Roman architecture were built in Pula: e.g. Augustus' Temple was built between 2 BC and 14 AD. In the 1st century, under Emperor Vespasian, a big amphitheatre was built (6th largest in the world) with the size to seat 23,000 spectators. In the 13th century new political forces emerged. Over a century Venetians have gradually taken the western part of the Istrian peninsula. In 1331 Venetians took over Pula. They ruled until the end of the 18th century (1797). In those past centuries, Pula became a typical medieval town, in Romanesque-Gothic style. Actually, the city palace is Romanesque-Gothic- Renaissance, built on the remains of a Roman temple of the goddess Diana, which speaks most eloquently of the passage of time and changing influences. Many famous artists of their time visited Pula and left traces of Pula in their work, to name the most famous: Michelangelo and Dante. In 1799 the Venetian part of the Istrian peninsula was handed to Austria (which already had the rest of Istria). But Austria started a war with Napoleon, and 6 years later, in 1805 Istria became part of Napoleon's province of Illiricum. They say Napoleon liked his army to march in the shade. Because of that many trees were planted alongside streets. Unfortunately, Napoleon was gone by 1813, after 8 years, before the tree crowns could develop, and Istria became part of Austria again. A few decades later the events of 1848 established that year as one of the most turbulent years in European history. There was unrest in France, the German states, the Austrian empire, Italy, and some changes at the borders. Having lost some land in northern Italy, Austria decided in 1859 to establish Pula as its largest marine base. This period saw the transformation of a small city with fading antique splendor to an industrial port with newly formed and growing working blue collar class. Italian and German administrators tried to repress growing requests by Croats for their language rights. Croats were predominantly peasants and blue collar workers coming from Istrian villages, but Croatian intelligence started to develop as well. The end of WWI, 1918, marked the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and Istria fell under the Italian occupation. Workers in the Arsenal in Pula were laid off, giving rise to explosive situations.
Then came WWII, and in 1943 Italy capitulated. In 1945 Istria became part of Croatia's territory, smaller northern part went to Slovenia. But Pula's fate was still undefined, and Pula (as well as Trieste) was placed under Anglo-American military command until the beginning of 1947. In that period Pula was twice bombed. In 1947 Pula joined the rest of Istria in Croatia.


The Temple of Augustus Pula The Temple of August (of the goddess Romae and Emperor Augustus) from the 1st century is located on the northern side of the square, on an elevated base, with a portico comprising six Corinthian columns and a closed cellar. The Town Hall is near the temple, attached in 1296 to the Roman temple (of Diana); the back of the temple has been preserved.

amphitheater Pula

city Pula

beach Pula

Beach Pula

Chapel of the former St. Mary Formosa church in Pula

vieuw Pula

Archaeological museum Pula

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