Veliki Brijun Roman Villa

Pula, Croatia

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 sumptuous summer residence also with an economic function with two peristyles. Also part of the complex were temples of the sea god Neptune situated at the end of the bay, Capotolium triads and deities of love and beauty Venus. Dieta, palestra, thermae, fishpond and the economic part were situated at the northern side of the bay. By an interesting system of promenades stretching one kilometer along the sea, all the buildings were connected into a unique whole, in ideal harmony with the landscape.

From the seaside this complex was bordered by the shore built of large stone blocks today being about 1 m below sea level. Access to the harbor was controlled by a chain, (verige in Croatian), connecting opposite shores, after which the bay was named.

Besides this villa furbished with mosaics, frescoes, stucco decoration and precious marble, on  Brijuni there was a number of Roman villas of mostly economic function, among them particularly interesting the villa on Kolci hill.

The Roman villa in Verige bay is part of the Roman Emperors Route which has received a certificate of the Council of Europe and the European Institute of Cultural routes. Route that is 3,5 thousand kilometers long stretches through Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania and promotes archaeological tourism. It covers 20 archaeological sites important for the period of imperial Rome and related to the lives of 17 Roman emperors.

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Address

Brijuni, Pula, Croatia
See all sites in Pula

Details

Founded: 100-0 BCE
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Croatia

Rating

4.9/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Katarzyna Chmielewska (2 years ago)
A must see!
Astrid Helgesen (3 years ago)
Beautiful site
Ľuboš Kollár (3 years ago)
Perfect historical place... "Must visit" on Brijuni.
Ferenc Kása (3 years ago)
It's a great experience! Wonderful bathing under the villa in the sea!
Jonathan Noel (4 years ago)
Easily accessible by foot or bike, lots of remains of a roman villa, awesome to be able to swim with it in the background like romans did 2000 years ago
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Heraclea Lyncestis

Heraclea Lyncestis was an ancient Greek city in Macedon, ruled later by the Romans. It was founded by Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC. The city was named in honor of the mythological hero Heracles. The name Lynkestis originates from the name of the ancient kingdom, conquered by Philip, where the city was built.

Heraclea was a strategically important town during the Hellenistic period, as it was at the edge of Macedon"s border with Epirus to the west and Paeonia to the north, until the middle of the 2nd century BC, when the Romans conquered Macedon and destroyed its political power. The main Roman road in the area, Via Egnatia went through Heraclea, and Heraclea was an important stop. The prosperity of the city was maintained mainly due to this road.

The Roman emperor Hadrian built a theatre in the center of the town, on a hill, when many buildings in the Roman province of Macedonia were being restored. It began being used during the reign of Antoninus Pius. Inside the theatre there were three animal cages and in the western part a tunnel. The theatre went out of use during the late 4th century AD, when gladiator fights in the Roman Empire were banned, due to the spread of Christianity, the formulation of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the abandonment of, what was then perceived as, pagan rituals and entertainment.

Late Antiquity and Byzantine periods

In the early Byzantine period (4th to 6th centuries AD) Heraclea was an important episcopal centre. A small and a great basilica, the bishop"s residence, and a funerary basilica and the necropolis are some of the remains of this period. Three naves in the Great Basilica are covered with mosaics of very rich floral and figurative iconography; these well preserved mosaics are often regarded as fine examples of the early Christian art period.

The city was sacked by Ostrogoth/Visigoth forces, commanded by Theodoric the Great in 472 AD and again in 479 AD. It was restored in the late 5th and early 6th century. When an earthquake struck in 518 AD, the inhabitants of Heraclea gradually abandoned the city. Subsequently, at the eve of the 7th century, the Dragovites, a Slavic tribe pushed down from the north by the Avars, settled in the area. The last coin issue dates from ca. 585, which suggests that the city was finally captured by the Slavs. As result, in place of the deserted city theatre several huts were built.

The Episcopacy Residence was excavated between 1970 and 1975. The western part was discovered first and the southern side is near the town wall. The luxury rooms are located in the eastern part. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th rooms all have mosaic floors. Between the 3rd and 4th rooms there is a hole that led to the eastern entrance of the residence. The hole was purposefully created between the 4th and 6th century.