Roman Ruins of Pula

I spent this morning wandering around the old town of Pula, looking at the various Roman remains. The stand-out attraction was the old Arena, or amphitheatre, built in the reign of Augustus (3BC-14AD) and subsequently enlarged during the reign of Claudius (41AD-56AD). It is amazing that so much of it remains standing. It is the sixth largest of the arenas that are still left standing. In its day, it seated 23,000 spectators. There is a 40 Kuna admission fee (about $8) but it would be possible to get good photos of the arena just by walking around the outside.

A view of the arena inside the amphitheatre
A view of the arena inside the amphitheatre
External view of the amphitheatre
External view of the amphitheatre
The seating area
The seating area
Section of the exterior wall
Section of the exterior wall

There are three Roman gates in the city. The most impressive of the three is the Trimphal Arch of the Sergians, built on the orders of Augustus to commemorate victory at the Battle of Actium.

The Twin Gates (2nd century)
The Twin Gates (2nd century)
Hercules Gate
Hercules Gate
The Arch of the Sergians
The Arch of the Sergians

There is also an old Roman theatre that is currently subject to further excavations. Unfortunately, the theatre site doesn’t seem to be well maintained. I saw bags of trash scattered around, as well as condom wrappers! There is no admission fee for the theatre – just wander around and climb all over the site!

Roman theatre
Roman theatre
The Roman theatre from above
The Roman theatre from above

There is a nicely preserved Temple of Augustus, a Roman temple dedicated the Augustus, the first Roman Emperor. It was likely built during his reign between 2BC and 14AD. There is a small exhibit inside of Roman sculptures (with an admission fee) but most tourists content themselves with photos of the exterior.

Temple of Augustus
Temple of Augustus
Temple of Augustus
Temple of Augustus

The old town is a nice location to wander around. It is lined with cafes and gift shops and seems dot be the epicentre for tourists. Although it didn’t seem to be over-crowded, especially considering the booking.com shows 96% of Pula’s available hotel rooms being booked.

I made the four-hour drive to Pula on Sunday but spent the rest of the day hanging around the camp-site. I have to say that large camp-sites are rapidly falling out of favour with me! My last night at Camping Korana (Plitvice Lakes) was interrupted by loud music, singing and shooting that went on from about midnight to 2.00am (despite there being a camp rule about no noise after 10.00pm). My current campsite – Camping Stoja – is also a large complex. After the experience at Korana, I ensured that I selected a pitch well away from the restaurant and coffee bar where late night socialising might take place. Instead, I’m located near to the little kids playground. After midnight last night, I had to get out of bed and go tell two young men to stop playing basketball as the constant slamming of the ball against the backboard was waking me up! And the wi-fi connection here is pitiful. It can be difficult to even browse websites. Fortunately, I’ve been able to upload photos and update the blog today because I’m doing it in the middle of the afternoon, when everyone else is on the beach. The six showers in the shower block near to my pitch get quickly overwhelmed after 6.00pm, when everybody comes off the beach, resulting in long queues for showers (must remember to get mine early)! Yesterday, I bought chicken and veggies from the camp store to grill for dinner – then discovered that camp rules don’t allow BBQs on individual pitches. In order to grill food, I’d have to walk half-way across the camp to the ‘designated grilling location’. Any thoughts of extending my stay here quickly evaporated on day one!

I’m leaving here in the morning and will cross into Slovenia and head to the capital city Ljubljana (don’t ask me how to pronounce it)! I have two days booked in a hotel in the centre, close to the old town. Tonight could very well be my last night of camping for the trip.

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