Croatian Adventure: Finding Romans in Pula

Pula is one of the largest cities on the Istrian peninsula of Croatia.  I was pleasantly surprised by the fast amount of Roman ruins and landmarks that I found during my stroll through the city.  Pula has been known for its shipping industry and served as a Roman military outpost.  The Roman arena has been preserved through the centuries and spectacular find in the heart of the city.

A Colosseum look-alike in Croatia
A Colosseum look-alike in Croatia

The old city center of Pula is great for exploring with many shops selling regional products and souvenirs.  The entrance is marked by a great Roman arch, Arco dei Sergi, standing between colorful 20th century buildings.  While wandering through the streets you’ll eventually find yourself in the main town square with another memory of Rome staring at you, the Temple of Augustus.  Very impressive on the outside but small on the inside.

Pula9
Remnants of a Roman arch
The arch up close
The arch up close

 

Old Town streets
Old Town streets
Pula sign in the town square
Pula sign in the town square
Temple of Augustus
Temple of Augustus

The Old Town of Pula is easy to explore on foot and there’s many more ruins to be spotted on your way.  As with many places in Croatia I was surprised by the degree of preservation of ruins and the fact that they are easy accessible and free to the public (compared to Rome).  I even spotted pieces of Roman columns in a parking lot with weeds growing out of them!  Pula has a number of churches that you can visit.  The small 6th century chapel of St. Mary Formoza can be spotted hiding between the huge modern buildings on the street.  The chapel is very small and you can’t go inside.  Its famous mosaics has been moved to the Archeological Museum.

Ruins in the parking lot
Ruins in the parking lot
St. Mary Formaza's Chapel
St. Mary Formaza’s Chapel

It can take you a full day to explore all Pula has hidden away and best of all, it will cost you almost nothing.  The food is delicious with strong Italian influences (expect great pizza) and the white regional wine I had with lunch was light and airy.  If you’re prepared to walk, who knows what you’ll find.  I had a quick stop off in Pula on my way to Rovinj.

Ruins of a possible aqueduct
Ruins standing out in the city
The double arch
The double arch
Ruins we found at the end of a small street
Ruins we found at the end of a small street
Rainy weather
Rainy weather
Can't get enough of the arena!
Can’t get enough of the arena!

Read more about my Croatian Adventures here

My thoughts on Ruins

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