A coastal town on the tip of Croatia’s Istria peninsula, Pula is known for its sheltered port, numerous beaches, and Roman-era ruins. The urban area was already inhabited in prehistoric times. Throughout history, the city has been occupied, destroyed, and rebuilt many times due to its strategic location. Both the Romans and the Ostrogoths, the Venetians, and the Allies during World War II once ruled the city.
Temple of Augustus
Prehistoric pottery from the Neolithic Age (6000–2000 BC) has been found in the area around Pula, indicating early settlement. The city was first settled by the Illyrian tribe of the Histri in the 10th century BC.
Conquered by Romans in 177 BC, Pula became a Roman colony under the name of Colonia Pietas Iulia Pola. The amphitheater was built under Emperor Augustus and is now one of the main attractions of the city. In addition to the amphitheater there are the temples of Roma and Augustus from the Augustan period, parts of the city wall with gates and the remains of two theaters.
In the 4th century AD, a naval base of the Venetian fleet (classis Venetum) was set up there to protect the Adriatic coastal waters.
When the Western Roman Empire collapsed in the 5th century, Pula came under the rule of the Ostrogoths. Emperor Justinian was able to conquer Pula for the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) in the 6th century; the city was developed into a naval base for the Byzantines.
In the second half of the 6th century, the Slavs advanced into Istria. However, they could not take the Istrian coastal towns, including Pula. There, the urban culture of long-established novels continued uninterrupted.
While the Istrian hinterland was part of the Frankish Empire and later the Holy Roman Empire from the end of the 8th century, Pula remained nominally part of the Byzantine Empire but was in fact independent.