The largest city in Istria, Pula which has one of the main airports on the peninsula is often not explored properly by visitors. This historic city has got a lot to offer tourists who really want to get a feel of the historical and cultural part of Istria. Home to almost Istria’s half of the population; Pula is the region’s commercial hub as well as has been in gaining recognition in the field of arts. Let’s have a look at some great things you can do in Pula.
The Archaeological Museum is the place to go for history lovers. It showcases finds from across the vast Istrian peninsula, things like mosaics, busts and ancient stone reliefs. Not only these, the exhibits here are being constantly updated as and when new findings are uncovered in this region which is full of historical wealth.
Kastel is an old Venetian fortress from the 1600s. A popular tourist destination, you will see that the strong looking walls are in a star patter. This was a state-of-the-art design adopted back then to drive back the artillery. If you are a person who loves military history, then we would recommend to definitely climbing up the angular walls to check out the watchtower and cannons. Every July, Kastel is one among the various iconic venues for the Pula International Film Festival.
There is a huge and well intact Roman coliseum in the centre of the city that has a strong influence in Pula’s history. You can see the coliseum’s stone walls from almost any part of the city. It might be smaller than the one in Rome but is impressive enough to bring everybody for a visit. Built in the 1st century AD, the arena was used till the 5th century for gladiator fights. Used to host performances and events, the coliseum is well preserved and also has an attached museum to know more about its rich history.
Not very far away from the Arena are two gates side by side called as the Twin Gate that was built in the 2nd century AD. There are a lot of rumours associated with the gates, the most popular of them being that the double gates were required to allow more townspeople to get in and out of the city during the major town events such as gladiator fights. The gates are very nicely well preserved opening up to the central part of the old town where people love to hang out. During daytime, the place can get crowded when the tourists visit the surrounding area for shopping.
Whenever there is a big event, there is something happening in the forum (just like in the Roman Times). You can expect big crowds during the summer season when there are cultural events and concerts organised. The best part is that the setting is not tampered with much, the renaissance-style city hall along with the other Roman monuments makes this place a must visit place.
Built in the 1st century, this Roman monument is a triumphal arch that was constructed to honor the members of the Sergii family who had fought and died in a battle which was between Mark Antony’s Egyptian-Roman army and Octavian’s Roman army. When built, the arch was used as a city gate which leads up from the naval port. It leads to the old town centre and has rich decoration with chariots and fluted columns engraved into the stones along the top.
This one is for everyone in your family and friends. Pula’s aquarium is the largest in Croatia with a histrionic home inside the Austro-Hungarian fortress Verudela. Visited mostly in the summers, the aquarium is maintained neatly with the fort’s stone architecture. The tanks blend perfectly with the stone walls, keeping both freshwater and marine species native to the Adriatic and Croatia. The main attraction is the shark tank, which can be found in the former atrium of the fortress.
The way to reach this absolutely stunning park from the mainland is to reach to the town of Fazana which is a few kilometres away from Pula. Once you reach there, you can take a regular boat service to the archipelago (will take about 20-25 minutes). This place has densely wooded islands with narrow white beaches. The natural history sites on Veliki Brijun are known to have 200 dinosaur footprints from the Cretaceous Period.
Croatia is not well known for wines, most of the production is kept in the country. There are few spots in Pula where you can get a glimpse into the wine making tradition of Istria. Along with that, you can find some of the best and freshest seafood in the restaurants that are on the waterfront’s border.
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