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 rudimentary city hall from the 9th century.
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 began near the end of the 13th century, and the new city hall was finished in 1296.
The building was constructed in Gothic style using the material of the old Roman temples and other building on the site, retaining their walls when possible. Even today, the whole northern part of the Temple of Diana 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 the 15th century the building was reconstructed in Renaissance style and during the 17th century, the building was again reconstructed, now in Baroque style.
The present state of building is due to several reconstructions made during the 19th and 20th centuries, the last of which was finished in 1988.References:
The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.
Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.
The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.
As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).