In the summer of 2023 I visited Pula only for the second time in my life. "Only twice , because I traveled the Croatian coastline dozens of times over the past two and a half decades. Somehow I skipped the southernmost end of the Istra peninsula. Though we had to share Pula with quite some other tourists, we enjoyed our stay a lot. Ofcourse I need to emphasize here that the two photos Kurt Hielscher published of Pula, are not to be found in his 1926 Yugoslavia photoalbum, but in the 1939 edition of his Italy album. Istra was part of Italy in the interbellum period and Pula was noted down as Pola in his book. Today we find both Pula and Pola on road signs.
Temple of August, Pula, 1939. Photo: Kurt Hielscher.
Temple of August, Pula, 30st of July 2023. Photo: Casper Molenaar.
The Temple of August is situated at Trg Forum, a nice square with a few terraces close to the harbour. The architrave on the front bears the inscription: ROMAE ET AUGUSTO CAESARI DIVI FILIO PATRI PATRIAE (to Romans and Augustus, the son of divine Caesar, the father of the homeland). According to the official imperial name, it is known that the temple was built and consecrated somewhere in between the 2 BC and14 AD.
The Temple and its neigbouring building were severly damaged in the late evening on the 3rd of March 1945 due to allied bombings. Protective wooden scaffolding failed to prevent severe damage to the Temple but the new city palace from 1925 was badly damaged. While The Temple was reconstructed from 1945 until 1947, the other building was not explaing the main difference in between both photos. Source: https://www.glasistre.hr/pula/mario-mirabella-roberti-arheolog-koji-je-predvodio-obnovu-razorenog-augustovog-hrama-u-puli-786333
The Temple of August from different angles.
Still this is one of the six biggest remaining Roman amphitheaters. Built between 27 BC and 68 AD, it is the eyecatcher of Pula. Pula's theater was also to be found on the 5 Kuna note to which we had to say goodbye to starting January 1st 2023 due to the introduction of the Euro. Unfortunately, I don't have the banknote left in my collection of foreign currencies, but I still do have a lot of Dinara from 1985-1986 Yugoslavia.
The Amphitheater of Pula, 1939. Photo: Kurt Hielscher.
The Amphitheater of Pula, 30st of July 2023. Photo: Casper Molenaar.
The pier as we know today wasn't there yet just before WWII. The other side of the pier behind the fence was not accessible, because it is reserved for customs of the arrival of foreign ships, though I did ask at the reception of the customs office.
The first time I visited Pula I did not get in the amphitheater, but this time I did. The theater is over 132 by 105 meters and there was room for 23.000 spectators, less than half the number the Colosseum in Rome could house. The lower two floors consist of 72 arcades and the upper ring has 64 rectangular openings. There are four towers on the long and short axes. There were fifteen entrance gates and tunnels under the floor of the arena from which gladiators and wild animals could enter the arena.
Slavoluk Sergijevaca, the Tower of Sergii (27 BC).
Modern architecture in Pula.
All in all, we had a great day sightseeing and strolling around Pula, enjoying an ice-coffee on a terrace of the central square ending the day having diner in a restaurant. We stayed on a new parking lot for campervans a few kilometers from the city center and the kids walked/ran and Kim and I cycled back. Near the parking lot was an abandoned complex which was very scary to wander through at night. The next day we came back and I made a lot of photos.
Me at Forum Square in the center of Pula with Kurt Hielscher's 1939 Italy edition opened on pages 42 and 43. This photo album is half the size in comparison with all his other editions.
Below: view on the amphitheater of Pula. Photo: Casper Molenaar.