Pula Arena is an ancient Roman Amphitheater very similar to the much more well known Colosseum in Rome. Pula is one of the major modern Cities in Croatia making it is easy to get to, either driving walking or using public transport.
An Amphitheater is an open air venue used to put on shows, plays as well as sporting events. Obviously this being a Roman Amphitheater the most famous sporting events would be Gladiators, public executions and feeding Christians and other malcontents to the lions. As a public arena remained in use right up until the 5th century when gladiatorial combat was finally prohibited. It is still used to this day hosting concerts for big name artists.
Pula arena is considered to be the sixth largest and the second best preserved Amphitheater in the world. It is also the only Roman Amphitheater left with all 4 of the original towers still remaining. Originally each tower would have contained 2 cisterns filled with perfumed water that either fed a fountain or could be sprinkled on spectators. Being over a 100 feet tall in parts and with the side that overlooks the sea being 3 stories high, with the rest being 2. It could seat up to 20’000 people , with the seats resting directly on the ground slopping down.
There seems to be some issue as to when building began and finished. Some say it was built during the period between 27BC and 68AD. However others say that construction began around 2-14AD under the emperor Augustus and finally finished in 81AD under emperor Titus. Originally constructed using timber until being upgraded to small stone years later. The arena was finally enlarged to accommodate Gladiator battles in 81AD and this is basically how it stands today.
Inside the Amphitheater
Upon entry tourists are free to walk around the inside of the arena and marvel at the historic architecture. While inside you can visit the museum in the subterranean hall where the gladiators would have prepared for battle.
It is a hidden gem of Roman architecture, as well as being incredibly well preserved, it is almost unknown outside of Croatia. Due to its relative obscurity compared with the Colosseum in Rome, there are not that many tourists. Hence this makes for a relaxing and cue free visit.