The remains of the Romans with the Temple and Forum in the centre of Pula, Croatia

The Romans left their mark in Pula, Croatia

In Croatia, En-Route, Europe, Our Journeys, Trip-Types, World Travel by JanisLeave a Comment

And not only an amphitheatre!

While Gary and I were staying in Rovinj, we decided to venture a little further afield within Istria and visit the southern tip of the region.

The Temple and Forum,Pula, Croatia

So, we jumped into the car and headed down to Pula, which is about 25 miles (40km) south of Rovinj.

A helpful guide

If you've yet to discover the delights of Croatia you're in for a treat. While planning our road trip, I used the DK Eyewitness books.  I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more.

We used a previous version of this book to plan our north to south Croatian road trip, now you can grab the revised copy.

Pula Arena

The main draw to Pula for us was to see the 1st century Roman Amphitheatre.

Looking through the Amphitheatre, Pula, Croatia

This arena is one of the six largest surviving Roman Amphitheatre’s in the world and still in use today, to hold festivals and concerts.

How has it survived?

However, what I found surprising was that this building wasn’t a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The arena was built between 27BC & 68AD, and a considerable amount of the arena still stands today.

The Gates

The Romans fortified the city of Pula with a wall, and a few of the original ten gates can still be seen around the town.

The most renowned of the arches being the triumphal Arch of the Sergii, but also the Twin Gate and the Hercules Gate can be found.

Mr. Joyce

Take a wander through the Arch of the Sergii and along the pedestrian lanes.

Passing through here you’ll come across the bronze statue of James Joyce, sitting outside a café nearby where he taught English to Austro-Hungarian officers, at a time when Croatia was part of the empire.

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Strolling along further you then enter the ancient Forum, and this is such a lovely square to enjoy a coffee and sit and watch the world go by. If only the weather were on our side.


Surrounded by some lovely buildings, but the most eye-catching structure here is the incredible 1st-century Temple of Augustus.

Built in dedication to the Roman Emperor Augustus, and quite a focal point for the Main Square.


Next to the Temple is the Communal Palace of Pula (City Hall) an elegant building originally constructed during the 13th-century from Roman materials.

However, over time the Palace has seen many iterations but is still central to the Forum Square with its wonderful arches.


Heading a little further along the lanes from the Forum is Pula Cathedral, sitting quite unassuming in the bay of the city, by the harbour. In front of the cathedral stands a freestanding Baroque style Bell Tower, it was constructed during the late 17th-century from stone blocks from the Roman Amphitheater.

The Forum and the cathedral suffered during the bombings of WWII.

However, repairs were carried out soon after during 1947, to preserve Pula’s history.


Looking down upon the cathedral is the star-shaped Venetian fortress, with its four bastions. It was built during the 17th-century, to protect the city and its harbour. From this viewpoint, you can see across the rooftops of the city and over the amphitheatre

Our stop in Pula was all too brief, as it felt like there was certainly more to discover.

Have You

Visited Pula, and seen the incredible amphitheatre, did you manage to spot James Joyce?

Inspired to visit Pula?

Does ther Roman history inspire you?

Despite the inclement weather, we really enjoyed our visit. 

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The Romans left their mark in Pula, Croatia

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