Evidence of life in this area can be traced back to 1 million years ago (archaeological site of Šandalja Cave), but the most important period, which gave the city its most famous landmark, is the Roman Period. The city was an important Roman port at the time, and the famous Pula Arena Amphitheatre was built between 27 BC and 68 AD. Walls were added around the city and while they don’t exist anymore, some doors still remain, like the triumphal Arch of the Sergii, the Gate of Hercules, and the Twin Gates.
The strategic importance of the city was recognized by various empires and kingdoms throughout history, so Pula was part of the Byzantine Empire, Frankish Empire, Venice, Kingdom of Italy, and Austria-Hungary. The city was impoverished because of the constant changes
in rulers, but started returning to its former glory once it was under Austrian rule.
You will be amazed by how well the ancient Roman buildings throughout the city are preserved – in addition to the previously mentioned amphitheatre, which is among six largest surviving Roman arenas in the world and one of the best preserved, there is also the Temple of Augustus, and the streets in the centre are paved with ancient Roman paving stone.
There are also many examples of sacral architecture worthy of mention: the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (6th ct), the Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas (6th ct), the Church of St. Francis (10th ct).
Visit the website and see the wonderful city below:
Motovun may be a small village (population of 531), but it’s nevertheless the best preserved medieval fortification in Istria, situated on a hill 270 m above sea level. It belonged to the city of Poreč until Venice took it over in the 13th ct, when it was surrounded by walls which are still intact today. The major part of the city was rebuilt in typical Venetian colonial style between the 14th and the 17th ct.
Some of the best truffles in Istria can be found in the forest around the village, and the vineyards on the hills around it produce unique wines: the red Teran and the white Malvasia.
Motovun has been home to Motovun Film Festival since 1999. It’s a festival for indie and avant-garde movies from Europe and the USA.
You can get a better idea of what this picturesque village looks like on their website.
With its population of 21, this is officially the smallest town in the world. There are two streets within its defensive walls, the Church of the Assumption of Mary, and the parish church of St. Jerome. Glagolythic writings from the 12th ct can be found on the wall of the church and they represent one of the oldest examples of Croatian Glagolythic literacy.
The town is famous for its rakija (liquor) called biska which is made from mistletoe and other herbs. It is said that the oldest recipe for biska is 2,000 years old and was written in Glagolythic alphabet. Watch a video about the tiny town below:
It takes around 5 hours to get to Pula Zagreb by bus, so a better option for a one day trip would be renting a car.
If you want a package deal, Zagreb Tours offers a more affordable visit to Istria, starting at €135, but the trip ends in Opatija instead of Pula, while Viator’s tour includes Pula, but it’s more expensive (€320).