- The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes. Marcel Proust
Travel to Pula, Croatia
Pula or Pola is the largest city in Istria County, Croatia, situated at the southern tip of the Istria peninsula, with a population of 57,460 (2011). Like the rest of the region, it is known for its mild climate, smooth sea, and unspoiled nature. The city has a long tradition of winemaking, fishing, shipbuilding, and tourism. It has also been Istria's administrative centre since ancient Roman times.
Although the amphitheatre in the town announces Pula’s Roman origins, its history in fact stretches far, far beyond this period. Archeological findings in the area suggest that Pula’s history stretches back to 40,000 or even 1 million years BC!
It was however in the 11th century BC that Pula rose to prominence when it became a major settlement for the Illyrian tribe the Histri. After expansion by the Roman Empire into Istria in 177 BC, in 40 BC Pula became a Roman colony and grew rapidly during the years 27 BC to AD 14 under Emperor Caesar Augustus. During this time several important buildings were constructed (including the amphitheatre) and the town rose in strategic and economic significance for the Romans, with local trade becoming rather important.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, Pula fell under the control of various groups, including the Eastern Goths for 45 years to 538 when it became part of the Byzantine Empire, until the Slavs began their colonisation in the early part of the 7th century.
After World War I, Pula (and Istria) became part of Italy and the majority of Croatians suffered oppression during this time as their rights were not respected.
After World War II ended in 1945, Pula was administered by the United Nations and British and American units. It finally became part of Yugoslavia in 1947, and was then part of Croatia when it declared its independence in 1991.