By Iva Ralica
Istria offers beautiful scenery, beaches and activities to enjoy. This time we will explore its very south and the city of Pula.
Pula is the largest city in Istria and the 8th largest in Croatia with a population of around 60,000. Pula is known for its abundance of ancient Roman buildings, and in particular the Pula Arena. But there is plenty more to see in the city.
Here are some things worth checking out in and around Pula.
1. Visit Brijuni
Heaven on Earth, the Brijuni islands, 14 of them, is famous for their beauty and the Croatian National Park where you can enjoy the beautiful sea in a more private atmosphere.
You can take a tour by train or bike around the island, see not only the breathtaking scenery, but also the remains of the temple of Venus and Roman Villa Rustica from the first century B.C., former baths that now house exhibitions, early Christian basilica and a spacious Safari park and ZOO.
Famous performances by Ulysses Theatre that take place mostly on Mali Brijun during the summer are also one great opportunity to meet a part of the Croatian theatre scene.
2. Amphitheater in Pula
The Pula Arena is the only Roman amphitheatre with four side towers and three Roman architectural orders preserved. It is a beautiful sight to visit because it could even take you some ancient times. On the other hand, you could well enjoy the present, when experiencing the open concerts of the world’s and Croatia’s great artist held here.
3. Forum and the Temple of Rome and Augustus
Pula is the largest city in Istria County with a long history. Together with the amphitheatre, it hides other well-preserved ancient buildings such as the Arch of the Sergii and the Temple of Rome and Augustus built on the Forum. It is one of the two best complete Roman monuments outside Italy, and stands to witness the rich past times of these part.
4. The Twin Gates and the Archeological Museum of Istria
One of the few remaining gates of the city wall leads to the Archeological Museum and the Roman theatre. The Museum displays treasures from Pula from prehistory until the Middle Ages.
5. Aquarium Pula
This aquarium is the biggest one in Croatia, spanning over 2000 m2. The sea world of the Adriatic sea, tropical marine and the rich underwater life of European rivers and lakes can be seen here. It is located in the fortress Verudela, built in 1886 on the peninsula near Pula, and the whole city can be seen from the roof top.
6. James Joyce
The famous writer lived in Pula for a while in his early years and wrote what became Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Commemorating him, there is a seated, bronze statue at cafe Uliks where Joyce read his newspaper everyday.
7. Pula Film Festival
This international festival, held annually in the summer at various locations, including the Pula Arena, is the oldest film festival in Croatia having started 69 years ago.
A large rock with only a beautiful lighthouse called “Lantern” that was built in 1846. With a rich history behind it, and many winds it had seen, today, it is a room with a view, a perfect getaway for people seeking quiet and peaceful place surrounded by the sea.
8. Fort Bourguignon
Built in the second part of the 19th century, Fort Bourguignon is one of many fortresses in the city and was built protect the Pula harbour, which was the main Austrian naval port at the time.
Originally named Fort Monsival, it is a two-story circled fortress with a small circular courtyard in the center.
Located just 9km from the centre of Pula, Medulin is worth a visit. The beautiful sandy and rocky beaches, such as Bijeca, are bustling in the summer. Sports activities such as football, horse riding, tennis, sailing, flying, diving and many other, as well as the Vižule archeological site and windmills near the sea will ensure a great vacation. Not to mention the great seafood and truffles to enjoy.