Visiting Istria and not seeing Pula would be a big mistake. Also, visiting Pula and not seeing a spectacular and fascinating Pula Arena would be a very big mistake. Pula is a town in Istria, located on the southwestern part of the peninsula. It has been inhabited for over 3,000 years. Many excavations and artifacts confirm this. Definitely, the most important historical period was when Pula was a part of the Roman Empire. From that period is the Pula Arena, the most recognizable structure in the city and country as well. You can admire the arena from the sea, from the mainland or its inside. Let's see its story.
Pula Arena began to be built in the 1st century of the new era. At that time, Pula was an important city of the Roman Empire. At the same time, the Colosseum in Rome was built, which became a much more visited place than the Arena in Pula. There is not that much information about the Pula Arena itself, but it had 15 entries according to its records and drawings and could accommodate about 25,000 people who, as in other arenas of the Roman Empire, could observe the gladiatorial contests. The Arena in Pula was built from a local stone, which came from nearby quarries. It has the shape of an ellipse, and I honestly do not know if it's better to look at it from inside or from afar. The arches of the arena are fascinating and interesting. In total, there are 144 of them on two floors, while the third floor is adorned 64 square openings. A number of times throughout history, Pula Arena could have been demolished, but it continued its life whole and almost untouched.
Pula Arena is now the best-preserved and largest monument from the Roman Empire in Croatia. Its structure, integrity, and position make it worthwhile a visit (don't forget that the Pula Arena is among the six biggest of its kind). Visits are possible every day except on January 1 (working hours vary from month to month, so it's best to check it on the city's official website, and the ticket is not higher than 10 euros for adults, information on May 2019). The address of the Arena in Pula is Flavijevska Street, right by the sea, overlooking the Pula harbor, and in the very center of the city. It all starts and ends with it.
Through centuries, Pula Arena changed its purpose, and nowadays, it is the most popular venue for concerts. Some of the greatest names have played here - Leonard Cohen, Tom Jones, Andrea Bocelli, Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo, Norah Jones, Manu Chao, Sting... and the most famous Balkan music stars - Zdravko Čolić, Đorđe Balašević, Oliver Dragojević, 2Cellos, etc. Pula Arena today can receive up to 5000 visitors. In addition to concerts, it is a place where theater performances and festivals are held, among which the most famous Pula Film Festival.
The spectacular and beautiful Pula Arena is there more than 20 centuries, so if you still haven't visited it, now is the time to do it.
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