Top Historic Sights in Pula, Croatia

Explore the historic highlights of Pula

Pula Arena

The Pula Arena 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 surviving Roman amphitheatres, it is also the best preserved ancient monument in Croatia. The Arena was built between 27 BC and 68 AD, as the city of Pula became a regional centre of ...
Founded: 27 BC - 68 AD | Location: Pula, Croatia

St. Francis Monastery

On the slope of the hill between the Forum Square and the upper circular street, lies the monastic complex dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi, built in the 14th century at the site of a previous cultic edifice. The Franciscan community was first recorded in Pula in the 13th century. The church was built in 1314 in the late Romanesque style with Gothic ornaments, as a firm and simple building of the preaching Franciscan or ...
Founded: 1314 | Location: Pula, Croatia

Pula Fortress

Pula fortress was built by the Venetians, situated on a hill in the center of Pula. It is interesting to point out that there are evidence that hill fort of the Histri was once in the same location. Because of its dominating position, the fortress was always used for defense of the city, bay and port. The fortress was built between 1630 and 1633, based on a design from French military engineer Antonio De Villa, so it belo ...
Founded: 1630-1633 | Location: Pula, Croatia

Pula Cathedral

The Pula Cathedral 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. These had gone through a series of enlargements and reconstructions over the ages. It is believed th ...
Founded: 5th century AD | Location: Pula, Croatia

Arch of the Sergii

Arch of the Sergii is an Ancient Roman triumphal arch located in Pula, Croatia. 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 . This suggests an approximate date of construction to 29-27 BC. The arch stood behind the original naval gate of the early Roman colony. T ...
Founded: 29-27 BC | Location: Pula, Croatia

Pula Roman Theatre

The smaller Roman Theatre of Pula from the 1st century AD was erected on the slope underneath the Venetian fortress. The area was divided into the stage and the proscene where the acting took place, the orchestra and the viewing area or the cavea. The theatre lied on the hill slope, which was the characteristic of Greek theatres. Only the stage foundations and a part of the semi-circular viewing area of the Small Roman Th ...
Founded: 0-100 AD | Location: Pula, Croatia

Pula Communal Palace

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 Ancient Rome, when the place was used as a part of a triade of Roman temples, of which today only the Temple of Augustus remains. The eastern of these temples, called the Temple of Diana, was used as a rudimenta ...
Founded: 1296 | Location: Pula, Croatia

Temple of Augustus

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 27 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 by 17.3 m, and 14 m high. The richly decorated frieze is similar to that of a somewhat lar ...
Founded: 27 BCE - 14 AD | Location: Pula, Croatia

Hercules Gate

Hercules Gate is the oldest standing Roman monument in Pula, dating from the 1st century BC.
Founded: 100-0 BCE | Location: Pula, Croatia

St. Mary Formosa Church

The Basilica of St. Mary Formosa dates back to the 6th century. It is an exceptionally important Early Christian monument. Unfortunately, only the south chapel, shaped as a Greek cross, has been preserved. Located in the south of the old town core, St. Mary Formosa is one of the most significant Early Christian monuments of the Byzantine art and architecture in Istria and Croatia. It was commissioned by Archbishop Maximi ...
Founded: 6th century AD | Location: Pula, Croatia

Fort Punta Christo

Fort Punta Christo was built at the end of the 19th century by the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy to defend City of Pula, their main naval port. Situated on a small peninsula at 45 meters above sea level, Fort Punta Christo offers a breathtaking view of the entrance to the Bay of Pula, its breakwater, as well to National Park Islands Brijuni on the other side. The fortress is surrounded by a deep ditch and there are three entr ...
Founded: 19th century | Location: Pula, Croatia

Verudela Fortress

The Verudela Fortress is one of the best preserved fortresses. When its control over Pula commenced, the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy decided to transform the town into the Monarchy"s maritime centre, which meant the construction of not only numerous newly-built structures such as the arsenal, hospital or the Hydrographic Institute, but also its defensive system. Thus, a magnificent fortification system was erected, whi ...
Founded: 1866-1881 | Location: Pula, Croatia

Veliki Brijun Roman Villa

On the western coast of Brijuni, along Verige Bay, stands a magnificent Roman villa rustica. Its construction began in the 1st century BC, and it achieved its greatest splendor in the 1st century AD. Certain parts of the villa were used until the 6th century. It consisted of several buildings for various purposes situated at carefully chosen sites in different parts of the bay. On the southern side of the bay stood a su ...
Founded: 100-0 BCE | Location: Pula, Croatia

Fort Bourguignon

Fort Bourguignon (Fort Monsival) is one of many fortresses in Pula, Croatia that were built by the Austrian Empire in the second half of the 19th century. It was one of the last fortresses built that used inner fortification rings, forming an arc within a radius of 2.5 kilometres distance to protect the port. It was named after the Austrian admiral Anton Bourguignon von Baumberg. The fortress was inspired by the 1820 for ...
Founded: 1861-1866 | Location: Pula, Croatia

Brijuni Kastrum

The richest site by its strata on the Brijuni stretches on an area somewhat greater than 1 hectare. Finds from the period of the Roman Republic and Empire, Late Antiquity, Eastern Goths, Byzantium, Carolingian period and Venice testify to the long time settlement. The first villa in Dobrika Bay was built in the 1st century BC.  During Augustus" rule, partly on the site of the first villa, a new villa rustica was er ...
Founded: 100-0 BCE | Location: Pula, Croatia

St. Mary's Church

The aisled St. Mary"s Church of square ground plan whose lateral walls have been preserved almost to their original height. The size of the church (11x 24 m) indicates a large population of the nearby castrum erecting this edifice in the 5th - 6th centuries. The altar area is two steps higher and is divided from the church nave by a partly preserved triumphal arch. The altar basis is preserved in situ. The atrium of ...
Founded: 5th century AD | Location: Pula, Croatia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Royal Palace of Naples

Royal Palace of Naples was one of the four residences near Naples used by the Bourbon Kings during their rule of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (1734-1860): the others were the palaces of Caserta, Capodimonte overlooking Naples, and the third Portici, on the slopes of Vesuvius.

Construction on the present building was begun in the 17th century by the architect Domenico Fontana. Intended to house the King Philip III of Spain on a visit never fulfilled to this part of his kingdom, instead it initially housed the Viceroy Fernando Ruiz de Castro, count of Lemos. By 1616, the facade had been completed, and by 1620, the interior was frescoed by Battistello Caracciolo, Giovanni Balducci, and Belisario Corenzio. The decoration of the Royal Chapel of Assumption was not completed until 1644 by Antonio Picchiatti.

In 1734, with the arrival of Charles III of Spain to Naples, the palace became the royal residence of the Bourbons. On the occasion of his marriage to Maria Amalia of Saxony in 1738, Francesco De Mura and Domenico Antonio Vaccaro helped remodel the interior. Further modernization took place under Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies. In 1768, on the occasion of his marriage to Maria Carolina of Austria, under the direction of Ferdinando Fuga, the great hall was rebuilt and the court theater added. During the second half of the 18th century, a 'new wing' was added, which in 1927 became the Vittorio Emanuele III National Library. By the 18th century, the royal residence was moved to Reggia of Caserta, as that inland town was more defensible from naval assault, as well as more distant from the often-rebellious populace of Naples.

During the Napoleonic occupation the palace was enriched by Joachim Murat and his wife, Caroline Bonaparte, with Neoclassic decorations and furnishings. However, a fire in 1837 damaged many rooms, and required restoration from 1838 to 1858 under the direction of Gaetano Genovese. Further additions of a Party Wing and a Belvedere were made in this period. At the corner of the palace with San Carlo Theatre, a new facade was created that obscured the viceroyal palace of Pedro de Toledo.

In 1922, it was decided to transfer here the contents of the National Library. The transfer of library collections was made by 1925.

The library suffered from bombing during World War II and the subsequent military occupation of the building caused serious damage. Today, the palace and adjacent grounds house the famous Teatro San Carlo, the smaller Teatrino di Corte (recently restored), the Biblioteca Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele III, a museum, and offices, including those of the regional tourist board.