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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Brijuni, Pula, Croatia
See all sites in Pula

Details

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

Rating

4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Katarzyna Chmielewska (3 years ago)
A must see!
Astrid Helgesen (4 years ago)
Beautiful site
Ľuboš Kollár (4 years ago)
Perfect historical place... "Must visit" on Brijuni.
Ľuboš Kollár (4 years ago)
Perfect historical place... "Must visit" on Brijuni.
Ferenc Kása (4 years ago)
It's a great experience! Wonderful bathing under the villa in the sea!
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Muslim Era

It has not been determined exactly when a castle or fortress was first built on the hill. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir). During Muslim rule, Lorca Castle was an impregnable fortress and its interior was divided into two sections by the Espaldón Wall. In the western part, there was an area used to protect livestock and grain in times of danger. The eastern part had a neighbourhood called the barrio de Alcalá.

After Reconquista

Lorca was conquered by the Castilian Infante Don Alfonso, the future Alfonso X, in 1244, and the fortress became a key defensive point against the Kingdom of Granada. For 250 years, Lorca Castle was a watchpoint on the border between the Christian kingdom of Murcia and the Muslim state of Granada.

Alfonso X ordered the construction of the towers known as the Alfonsina and Espolón Towers, and strengthened and fixed the walls. Hardly a trace of the Muslim fortress remained due to this reconstruction. Muslim traces remain in the foundation stones and the wall known as the muro del Espaldón.

The Jewish Quarter was found within the alcazaba, the Moorish fortification, separated from the rest of the city by its walls. The physical separation had the purpose of protecting the Jewish people in the town from harm, but also had the result of keeping Christians and Jews separate, with the Christians inhabiting the lower part of town.

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Modern history

With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. In 1931 Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument.

Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.