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Sights in Pula, Croatia

The Twin Gates (Porta Gemina) is one of the few remaining gates after the city walls were pulled down at the beginning of the 19th century. It dates from the mid-2nd century, replacing an earlier gate. It consists of two arches, columns, a plain architrave and a decorated frieze. Close by are a few remains of the old city wall.

The Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas with its Ravenna-style polygonal apse, originally dates from the 6th century, but was partially rebuilt in the 10th century. In 1583 it was assigned to the Orthodox community of Pula, mainly immigrants from Cyprus andNauplion. The church owns several icons from the 15th and the 16th century and an iconostasis from the Greek artists Tomios Batos from the 18th century.

The star-shaped castle with four bastions is situated on top of the central hill of the old city. It was built, over the remains of the Roman capitolium, by the Venetians in the 14th century , following the plans of the French military architect Antoine de Ville. Since 1961 it now houses the Historical Museum of Istria. Close by, on the north-eastern slopes, one can see the remains of a 2nd-century theatre.

The Gate of Hercules dates from the 1st century. At the top of the single arch one can see the bearded head of Hercules, carved in high-relief, and his club on the adjoining voussoir. A damaged inscription, close to the club, contains the names of Lucius Calpurnius Piso and Gaius Cassius Longinus who were entrusted by the Roman senate to found a colony at the site of Pula. Thus it can be deduced that Pula was founded between 47 and 44 BC.

The city’s old quarter of narrow streets, lined with Medieval and Renaissance buildings, are still surfaced with ancient Roman paving stones.

The Archaeological Museum of Istria is situated in the park on a lower level than the Roman theatre and close to the Twin Gates. Its collection was started by Marshall Marmont in August 1802 when he collected the stone monuments from the temple of Roma and Augustus. The present-day museum was opened in 1949. It displays treasures from Pula and surroundings from prehistory until the Middle Ages.

The natural beauty of Pula’s surrounding countryside and turquoise water of the Adriatic have made the city an internationally popular summer vacation destination. The pearl nearby is Brijuni national park visited by numerous world leaders since it was the summer residence of Josip Broz Tito. Roman villas and temples still lie buried among farm fields and along the shoreline of the dozens of surrounding fishing and farming villages. The coastal waters offer beaches, fishing, wreck dives to ancient Roman galleys and World War I warships, cliff diving, and sailing to unspoiled coves and islands large and small. Pula is the end point of the EuroVelo 9 cycle route that runs from Gda?sk on the Baltic Sea through Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia and Croatia. It is possible to track dinosaur footprints on the nearby sea shores; certain more important finds have been made at an undisclosed location near Bale.

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