Pula Introduction Walking Tour (Self Guided), Pula

The historic city of Pula - renowned for its beaches and Roman ruins - enjoys strategic location in a secluded harbor on the Adriatic coast of Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula. In the course of centuries, Pula has survived numerous invasions – first by The Romans, then Venetians, and finally by the Allied Forces during World War II – all of which have left their mark on the face of the city. The most notable local attraction, still, remains the ancient Amphitheater somewhat resembling that of Rome. To comfortably explore this and other architectural treasures of Pula, follow this orientation walk!
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Pula Introduction Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Pula Introduction Walking Tour
Guide Location: Croatia » Pula (See other walking tours in Pula)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 15
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 Km or 1.9 Miles
Author: Cathy
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Arena Amphitheater
  • Church of Saint Anthony
  • Tito's Park
  • Twin Gates (Porta Gemina)
  • Archaeological Museum of Istria
  • The Gate of Hercules (Herkulova vrata)
  • Small Roman Theatre
  • Triumphal Arch of the Sergii
  • Chapel of Saint Maria Formose
  • Temple of Augustus
  • Pula Communal Palace
  • Franciscan Church and Monastery
  • Fortress and Historical Museum of Istria
  • Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • Marina
Arena Amphitheater

1) Arena Amphitheater (must see)

The Pula Arena Amphitheater is the only remaining Roman amphitheatre to have four side towers and with all three Roman architectural orders entirely preserved. It is among the six largest surviving Roman arenas in the World. A rare example among the 200 Roman surviving amphitheatres, it is also the best preserved ancient monument in Croatia.

The Arena was built between 27 BC - 68 AD, as the city of Pula became a regional centre of Roman rule, called Pietas Julia. The name was derived from the sand that, since antiquity, covered the inner space. It was built outside the town walls along the Via Flavia, the road from Pula to Aquileia and Rome. The amphitheatre was first built in timber during the reign of Augustus. It was replaced by a small stone amphitheatre during the reign of emperor Claudius. In 79 AD it was enlarged to accommodate gladiator fights by Vespasian and to be completed in 81 AD under emperor Titus. A Christian martyr called Germanus was martyred in the arena in the fourth century AD.

The amphitheatre remained in use until the 5th century, when emperor Honorius prohibited gladiatorial combats. It was not until 681 that combat between convicts, particularly those sentenced to death, and wild animals was forbidden. In the 5th century the amphitheatre began to see its stone plundered by the local populace. By the 13th century, the patriarch of Aquileia forbade further removal from the Arena.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Church of Saint Anthony

2) Church of Saint Anthony

The Church of Saint Anthony was named after Saint Anthony of Padua. The church was built in the simple Romanesque style, and the strong structure has withstood the test of time. The church was built with the help of several famous specialists, including architect Eng. Guido Brass, stone master Sebastiano Bianchini and other notable experts. The tower of the church, at a height of 45 meters, can be seen from all the corners of the city.
Tito's Park

3) Tito's Park

Tito's Park is popular with tourists because of its location near the sea. It was founded in 1940. In 1957, Vanja Radaus built a monument here in memory of the heroes who died during WWII. The park has a range of exotic trees and plants. These include the Japanese Cherry, Aleppo Pine and Oleander.
Twin Gates (Porta Gemina)

4) Twin Gates (Porta Gemina) (must see)

Porta Gemina is a double arched gate, built at the turn of 2nd to 3rd century A.D. Today it serves as the entrance to the Archaeological museum. Mostly probable that the gate stood at the entrance to the theater, and due to that it has a decorative character.
Archaeological Museum of Istria

5) Archaeological Museum of Istria (must see)

The Archaeological Museum of Istria opened in 1902. The museum has several collections - prehistoric, ancient, late ancient and medieval. In addition to its exhibits, the museum is responsible for maintaining a number of ancient sites in the city such as the Arena Amphitheater, the Temple of Diana, the Double Door and many others. The Hall Museum opened to the public in 1930. Over the years, it has undergone several renovations. Its permanent collection is complemented by new finds from archaeological sites in Istria that include prehistoric caves, ruins, cemeteries, ancient commercial complexes, and religious buildings. These sites date back to the early Christian and Byzantine periods, the time of the barbarian invasions and the settlement of the Slavic population in Istria.
The Gate of Hercules (Herkulova vrata)

6) The Gate of Hercules (Herkulova vrata) (must see)

Pula is best known for its many surviving ancient Roman buildings. The Gate of Hercules dates from the 1st century. At the top of the single arch one can see the bearded head of Hercules, carved in high-relief, and his club on the adjoining voussoir. A damaged inscription, close to the club, contains the names of Lucius Calpurnius Piso and Gaius Cassius Longinus who were entrusted by the Roman senate to found a colony at the site of Pula. Thus it can be deduced that Pula was founded between 47 and 44 BC.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Small Roman Theatre

7) Small Roman Theatre (must see)

The Small Roman Theatre built in the 2nd century is the only one that survived in the city (besides the amphitheatre). The semicircular orchestra and tired section for the audience have partly been reconstructed.
Triumphal Arch of the Sergii

8) Triumphal Arch of the Sergii (must see)

Arch of the Sergii is an Ancient Roman triumphal arch located in Pula. The arch commemorates three brothers of the Sergii family, specifically Lucius Sergius Lepidus, a tribune serving in the twenty-ninth legion that participated in the Battle of Actium and disbanded in 27 BC. The arch stood behind the original naval gate of the early Roman colony. The Sergii were a powerful family of officials in the colony and retained their power for centuries.

The honorary triumphal arch, originally a city gate, was erected as a symbol of the victory at Actium. It was paid for by the wife of Lepidus, Salvia Postuma Sergia, sister of the three brothers. Both of their names are carved in the stone along with Lucius Sergius and Gaius Sergius, the honoree's father and uncle respectively. In its original form, statues of the two elders flanked Lepidus on both sides on the top of the arch. On either side of the inscription, a frieze depicts cupids, garlands and bucrania.

This small arch with pairs of crenelated Corinthian columns and winged victories in the spandrels, was built on the facade of a gate (Porta Aurea) in the walls, so the part, visible from the town-side, was decorated. The decoration is late hellenistic, with major oriental influences. The low relief on the frieze represents a scene with a war chariot drawn by horses. This arch has attracted the attention of many artists, even Michelangelo.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Chapel of Saint Maria Formose

9) Chapel of Saint Maria Formose (must see)

The Byzantine chapel of St. Mary Formosa was built in the 6th century in the form of a Greek cross, resembling the churches in Ravenna. It was built by deacon Maximilian, who later became Archbishop of Ravenna. It was, together with another chapel, part of a Benedictine abbey that was demolished in the 16th century. The floors and the walls are decorated with 6th-century mosaics. The decoration bears some resemblance to the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia at Ravenna. The wall over the door contains a Byzantine carved stone panel. The 15th-century wall paintings may be restorations of early Christian paintings. When the Venetians raided Pula in 1605, they removed many treasures from this chapel to Venice, including the four columns of oriental alabaster that now stand behind the high altar of St. Mark's Basilica.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Temple of Augustus

10) Temple of Augustus (must see)

The Temple of Augustus is a well-preserved Roman temple in the city of Pula. Dedicated to the first Roman emperor, Augustus, it was probably built during the emperor's lifetime at some point between 2 BC and his death in AD 14. It was built on a podium with a tetrastyle prostyle porch of Corinthian columns and measures about 8 m (26 ft) by 17.3 m (57 ft). The richly decorated frieze is similar to that of a somewhat larger and older temple, the Maison Carrée in Nîmes, France.

The temple's dedication originally consisted of bronze letters attached to the portico. Only the attachment holes now remain and much of the text has been destroyed over time. The temple was originally also co-dedicated to the goddess Roma, the personification of the city of Rome.

The temple was part of a triad consisting of three temples. The Temple of Augustus stood at the left side of the central temple, and the similar temple of the goddess Diana stood on the other side of the main temple. Although the larger central temple has not survived, the whole back side of the Temple of Diana is still clearly visible due to its incorporation into the Communal Palace. Under Byzantine rule, the temple was converted into a church, accounting for its survival to modern times, and was later used as a granary. It was struck by a bomb during an Allied air raid in 1944, almost totally destroying it, but was reconstructed in 1947. It is today used as a lapidarium to display items of Roman sculpture.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Pula Communal Palace

11) Pula Communal Palace (must see)

The Communal Palace is situated at the northern end of the main square of the old part of the City of Pula, called the Forum Square. The spot occupied by the Palace has been used for the public buildings since the Roman times, when the place was used as a part of the triade of Roman temples, of which today only Temple of Augustus remains. As the city prospered, there was a need to construct a dedicated place which would serve as a city hall, so the construction of the new city hall, at the site of the Temple of Diana, was begun in the end of 13th century, and the new city hall was finished in 1296.

The building was constructed in gothic style with the material of the old Roman temples and other building on the site, using walls of this buildings when possible. Even today, the whole northern part of the Themple of Daina is clearly visible at the back side of the Communal Palace. Since the construction, the Communal Palace has seen numerous reconstructions. At the end of 15th century the building was reconstructed in renaissance style and during 17th century, the building was again reconstructed, now in baroque style. The present state of building is due to several reconstructions made during 19th and 20th century, the last of which was finished in 1988.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Franciscan Church and Monastery

12) Franciscan Church and Monastery (must see)

The Church of St. Francis was built in 1314 in the late Romanesque style with Gothic additions such as the rose window. The church consists of a single nave with three apses. An unusual feature of this church is the double pulpit, with one part projecting into the street. A 15th-century wooden polyptych from an Emilian artist adorns the altar. The west portal is decorated with shell motifs and a rose window. The adjoining monastery dates from the 14th century. The cloisters display some antique Roman artifacts.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Fortress and Historical Museum of Istria

13) Fortress and Historical Museum of Istria

The Fortress of Pula was built in a strategic location on the bay of Pula where a medieval Roman castle once stood. The fort was designed by French military engineer Antoine De Ville between 1631 and 1633. It was part of the defense system of Pula during the 17th century, which included the fortress on the island of St. Andrew and two defensive embankments. The first embankment stood along what is today Castropola Street, while the second stood on the perimeter of city's medieval walls. The fortress has functioned as a museum since 1961. The museum contains approximately 40,000 exhibits divided into 14 collections. Items in the collection include old postcards, photos, weapons and more.
Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

14) Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (must see)

The Pula Cathedral or fully the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a co-cathedral in Pula. Along with the Euphrasian Basilica it is one of the two official seats of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Poreč and Pula. The church is located on the south side of the Pula bay at the foot of the hill with the 17th century Venetian fort. The site of the present-day church has been used for religious worship since ancient Roman times and the first Christian churches on the site were built in the late 4th and early 5th century AD. The present-day cathedral came into existence through a series of expansions of these pre-existing 5th century buildings. The original cathedral was richly decorated with frescoes and floor mosaics.

It is believed that the site of the present-day church hosted a temple dedicated to Jupiter Conservator in Roman times. Archeological excavations also revealed ruins of Roman thermae on that location, and it is considered likely that during the Diocletianic Persecution local Christians used it for secret gatherings. During bishop Handegis' reign (857–862) an additional entrance was constructed in the southern wall. Today this entrance is walled up, but the its outline can still be seen on the southern wall. In 1707 the free-standing baroque-style bell tower was added. The present-day cathedral's classicist facade was built in 1712, at the time of bishop Bottari.
Sight description based on wikipedia

15) Marina

The Marina Yachting Club is home to a number of yachts and catamarans of all shapes and sizes. The berths range up to 1,500 meters in length. The marina is located in a place where wind is not a great concern for boaters. The marina complex has several restaurants, shops and a sports area.

Walking Tours in Pula, Croatia

Create Your Own Walk in Pula

Create Your Own Walk in Pula

Creating your own self-guided walk in Pula is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Pula Shopping Tour

Pula Shopping Tour

Pula is a town with a rich culinary and cultural history. Visit the city's most popular markets to find everything from truffles and olive oil to honey and lavender. Scour the stores for beautiful hand-crafted souvenirs. Take this tour to visit the most notable markets and stores in Pula.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 Km or 2 Miles
Pula's Veruda District Walking Tour

Pula's Veruda District Walking Tour

Veruda is a very beautiful area of Pula. It is rich in tourist attractions, but it is most popular for its white-sand beaches and bays. After you've enjoyed lounging at the beach, be sure to visit the Naval Park, the Naval Cemetery and the Church of Our Lady of the Sea. Take this tour to explore Pula's fascinating Veruda District.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.5 Km or 2.8 Miles