Saturday, October 26
While staying in the sleepy seaside town of Rovinj, Daniel and I decided to take a day trip to the town of Pula. Located about one hour away by bus, the city is home to the famed Pula Roman Ampitheater (also known as the Pula Arena). At over 100 feet tall by 434 feet wide on its longest side, the arena is one of the world’s six largest surviving Roman arenas.
After arriving at the Pula bus station, we walked for a few minutes and then – voila! There it was. Positioned in the middle of downtown Pula, the ampitheater dominates the skyline and is rather hard to miss. It is also remarkably intact for a 2000-year old building.
After a tasty lunch, we wandered into Pula’s Old Town to see some other monuments left over from the Roman empire. First, we walked through the Triumphal Arch of the Sergi (also known as the Golden Gate) constructed in the 1st Century BC.
At the other end of Old Town we emerged into Pula’s main square, known as the Forum. One of the buildings lining the square is the impressive Temple of Augustus. Dedicated to the Roman emperor Augustus, the building was destroyed by a bomb in World War II and then subsequently reconstructed.
Daniel and I then hiked up the hill towards the Pula Castle Kaštel, a fortress built by the Venetians in the 17th century. We walked around the massive building, enjoying the great views of the Pula from our vantage point on the top of the hill.
My favorite part about this location, however, was not the fortress but the remains of a Roman theater in Kaštel’s backyard. The site is currently being excavated as portions of the theater appear to be recently dug out of the side of hill. No entrance fee is required and we just wandered right in, clambering over crumbling walls.
On our way back to the bus station, we walked by the Pula Arena one last time and saw trucks inside the structure setting up sound equipment. The Ampitheater is still used to this day for concerts and events. I regret that we didn’t have time to stick around and check it out. I think it would be pretty awesome to rock out to a concert inside an ancient Roman ampitheater.
Ah well, next time. See ya later, Pula!