Located at the Southern tip of the Istrian peninsula, Pula sits at a location highly appreciated by ancient civilizations. It is a town of extraordinary beauty and culture with a three-thousand-year long history. This important Istrian port boasts a rich and varied cultural heritage that has attracted visitors for centuries.
Pula was originally founded as a fortified settlement of the Histri, the pre-Roman inhabitants of Istria after whom the peninsula is named. In the Illyrian period, until the arrival of the Romans in 177 BC, Pula was no more than the surroundings of nearby Nesactium, the political, administrative, military and religious centre and capital of the Histri. As a result of intensive colonization, trade routes as well as the importance of its military position, Pula took over the leading position. Numerous trades developed in that period: agriculture, viticulture, olive-growing, fishing and pottery for the transport of olive-oil, wine, wheat and fish.
Pula was elevated to colonial rank between 46–45 BC under Julius Caesar as the tenth region of the Roman Empire. During that time the town grew and peaked at about a population of about 30,000. During the civil war that followed Caesar’s assassination in 44 BC, Pula took the side of Cassius, since the town had been founded by Cassius Longinus, brother of Cassius. After Octavian’s victory, the town was demolished. It was soon rebuilt at the request of Augustus’ daughter Iulia and was then named Colonia Pietas Iulia Pola Pollentia Herculanea. Pula was transformed into an imperial city where some of the best examples of Roman architecture were built.
Pula is well known for its many surviving ancient Roman buildings, the most famous of which is its 1st-century amphitheatre, one of the best preserved from antiquity. Two other notable and well-preserved ancient Roman structures are the 1st-century AD Arch of the Sergii and the Temple of Rome and Augustus.