Pula was our third destination in Croatia and one of the more interesting cities, historically speaking. Unlike Rovinj, the action in Pula doesn’t happen down by the water. Actually, there is no action in Pula. It’s a pretty quiet place and we only saw one medium-sized Chinese tour group while we were there.
From what we could see Pula didn’t have much of a waterfront scene. We did walk along the marina area one day and thoroughly enjoyed seeing the fish and fantasizing about how nice it would’ve been to have our fishing poles with us.
Pula is best known for its ancient Roman ruins including the sixth largest Roman arena and possibly the best preserved of the Roman arenas. The Pula Arena is the only remaining Roman amphitheatre to have four side towers and all three Roman architectural orders preserved, according to my trusty source, Wikipedia. It was constructed between 27 BC – 68 AD and is older than the Colosseum in Rome. Like other Roman amphitheatres, Pula Arena was used for gladiator combats and fights between death row convicts and wild animals. Nowadays it’s used for concerts; Michael Bolton, Seal, Elton John, just to name a few, have performed there. If I had to choose, I’d rather see a Roman convict fight off a wild lion than see a Michael Bolton concert. As a matter of fact, I’d rather fight the wild animal myself than be subjected to a Michael Bolton concert.
While you’re in Pula you should also check out the Temple of Augustus and the Arch of the Sergii. The Temple of Augustus was used as a church, a granary, and then a museum before it was bombed and destroyed during WWII. It was reconstructed in 1947 and now houses ancient sculptures. I don’t know if you can call it an ancient Roman ruin if it was destroyed and rebuilt less than 70 years ago. The Arch of Sergii is the original so that makes it about a billion years old. We stayed in an apartment right next to the Arch and stupidly forgot to take a picture of it. Sorry. I’m sure you can find something on the interwebs.
Since dining in Croatia wasn’t all that cheap, we went to the market to get produce and seafood and cooked in our apartment. We tried fresh sardines for the first time because we saw a bunch of old women buying them so…when in Rome or, at least, when in a city that used to belong to the Roman Empire. We bought a pound of sardines and used Mark Bittman’s recipe sans fresh herbs because we didn’t have any handy. Anyway, they were delicious and crazy cheap. They’re also healthy and good for you, but who cares about that? I just like them because they’re yummy.
More Pula pictures on our Flickr album.