If you’ve never heard of Pula, join the club – seems not too many people from our neck of the woods know of its existence. However why have we never heard of this quite remarkable little place? It is a small town perched at the northern end of Croatia, a short drive from Venice we’re told. Certainly a short boat ride from Venice. For unknown reasons it is simply not a major tourist destination – yet.
Pula, while currently world famous for nothing, has something unique and grand – The world’s most complete Roman amphitheater. Quite remarkable. The town has a long and interesting history. It was settled in pre Roman times. The Romans had a trading city here. Then the venetians came and sort of ransacked the place, taking all the marble seats from within the amphitheater for building projects they had going on in Venice. The Venetians also built a large fort atop the town’s hill, using some more Roman temples and other structres in the process. Then the Austrio Hungarian empire became interested in the strategic location. During their period of occupation, they built many of the buitiful baroque buildings that decorate the town today. Next came the time of Tito and he built ugly communist buildings. They a far from decorative. In fact are down right ugly – but they do tell a story. So today all these styles of architecture sit comfortably side by side reflecting a long history. Pula currently seems to be scratching it’s head over the concept of tourists. They seem to be taking us in stride, the fort is being turned into a museum, the amphitheater hosts world famous singers. The streets are cobbled and tidy. The place has a pleasant laid back feeing with very few tourist kitch shops.
Croatia has its own currency. Many places accept the Euro but not the Fort. Dad and I had no Croatian funds so the fort entry fellow invited us to explore without paying. Pretty friendly.
Because Pula has no cruise ship size port, we ferried to shore with our ship’s life boats. It was quite fun to see them in action. Wouldn’t want to be in one on a rough sea mind you!