Arena Pula Amphitheatre

Top Highlight

  • One of the best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world.
  • Unmissable site among Pula top attractions.
  • Impressive architecture telling tales from ancient times.
  • A venue for modern events, juxtaposing the old with the new.
  • A portal to the rich history of Roman gladiatorial combat.

Arena Pula Amphitheatre: A Journey Through Time

About

Oh, the Pula Amphiteatar! Also popularly known as Pula Arena. Imagine stepping into a colossal structure that has borne witness to millennia of history. Pula Arena isn’t just any ordinary attraction; it’s a living testament to the grandeur of Roman architecture and its legacy in modern-day Croatia. Frontloading this experience, one can’t help but be in awe as you stand before its mighty arches and imagine the spectacles that once graced its stage.

Constructed during the 1st century AD, this arena radiates a unique charm, enabling you to almost hear the distant cheers of a bygone era. It’s not just its age that’s impressive; the Amphiteatar is among the six largest surviving Roman arenas in the world. Plus, it’s the only one to have four side towers and all three Roman architectural orders entirely preserved.

Pula Arena Amphiteatar view from the air, overlooking the sea

Historical Summary: Walking Through the Pages of Time

The Pula Amphiteatar-Arena Pula, or the Pula Arena as it’s fondly known, has a rich tapestry of history that beckons the curious traveler. Built between 27 BC – 68 AD, it showcases the might of the Roman Empire under Emperor Vespasian’s reign, the same emperor behind Rome’s Colosseum.

Initially constructed for gladiatorial combats, it once had the capacity to accommodate over 20,000 spectators. Its purpose was as much about entertainment as it was about showcasing Roman might and discipline. Beyond the gladiatorial combats, it also played host to knight tournaments in the medieval era and, in recent times, has been the venue for film festivals, concerts, and other events.

Historical facts

The Pula Amphiteatar (often referred to as the Pula Arena) is one of the most remarkable ancient structures in the world. Here are some historical facts about the Pula Amphiteatar-Arena:

  • Roman Legacy: The Pula Arena is the only remaining Roman amphitheater with all four side towers entirely preserved. Built during the 1st century AD, it’s one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheaters globally.
  • Size and Capacity: At its prime, the Pula Arena could accommodate around 20,000 spectators, making it the sixth largest surviving Roman arena.
  • Purpose and Function: Like other Roman amphitheaters, the Pula Arena was primarily used for gladiator combats. Later, during the Middle Ages, it was the site for knights’ tournaments and fairs.
  • Architectural Feat: The amphitheater was constructed with local limestone. It measures about 132 meters in length and 105 meters in width. The exterior wall, constructed in limestone, stands 32 meters high.
  • Underground Chambers: Beneath the arena, there are underground passages, once used to house the gladiators and animals before the contests began. Today, this area showcases an exhibition on viticulture and olive oil production in Istria during ancient times.
  • End of Gladiatorial Fights: With the decree by Emperor Honorius in the early 5th century, gladiatorial fights were banned. This led to a shift in the amphitheater’s primary use.
  • Protective Measures: In the Middle Ages, the local residents often took stones from the Arena for their homes, thinking the structure was a work of demons due to its massive size. However, by the 13th century, the Pula Arena became property of the city, ensuring its protection.
  • World Wars & Preservation: During World War II, the Arena was used by the Italian fascist government to hold public executions. After the war, extensive restoration began, solidifying its position as one of Pula’s most treasured landmarks.
  • Modern-day Use: Today, the Pula Arena is not just a historical attraction. It’s also a popular venue for concerts, film festivals, and various other events, blending the ancient with the contemporary in a seamless manner.

The Pula Amphiteatar-Arena stands as a testament to Roman engineering, architectural brilliance, and the rich tapestry of European history. Its well-preserved state allows modern visitors a rare glimpse into the ancient world and the grandeur of Roman entertainment.

When to visit

Spring (April-June) and early autumn (September-October) are ideal, offering pleasant weather and fewer crowds.

What is there to see

Beyond the stunning exterior, the interior of the Pula Arena offers underground passages, once used by gladiators. These passages now host a regular exhibition on ancient olive oil and wine production techniques in Istria, giving visitors a dual taste of history.

How long does a visit take

Typically, a thorough exploration would take between 1.5 to 2.5 hours. However, if you’re attending an event, plan for a longer stay.

Is it safe to go to Pula Amphiteatar-Arena Pula

Absolutely! Pula is a safe city, and the arena itself is well-maintained with security measures in place, especially during events.

Pula Arena Amphiteatar view from the inside with details

Local Tips & Tricks

  • Catch the sunset from the top tier of the amphitheatre – the views are spellbinding.
  • Try to attend a concert or event; the atmosphere is electric!
  • Don’t forget your camera; every corner is a photo opportunity.

When are the opening hours

During the summer months, the Arena is open from 08:00 to 22:00
For accurate information about working hours off season, visit the official website

Price

Adults: 10 €
Students: 5 €

Working hours 2024:

01.01. – 31.03.: 09:00 – 17:00 (entrance until 16:30)
01.04. – 30.04.: 08:00 – 20:00 (entrance until 19:30)
01.05. – 31.05.: 08:00 – 21:00 (entrance until 20:30)
01.06. – 30.06.: 08:00 – 22:00 (entrance until 21:30)
01.07. – 31.08.: 08:00 – 23:00 (entrance until 22:30)
01.09. – 30.09.: 08:00 – 21:00 (entrance until 20:30)
01.10. – 31.10.: 09:00 – 19:00 (entrance until 18:30)
01.11. – 31.12.: 09:00 – 17:00 (entrance until 16:30)

Notice to visitors:
During the year, especially in the summer months, the amphitheater is occasionally closed for visitors due to events.

Contact Info

How to Get here

  • Location: The Arena Pula Amphitheatre is situated near the entrance to Pula and close to Riva.

Where to park

  • Given the landmark’s central location, there are several parking options available.
  • For the best parking spots, please consult the “where-to-park” section. This guide provides a detailed overview of all recommended parking locations.

Location

How old is the Pula Amphiteatar-Arena Pula?
The Pula Arena dates back to the 1st century AD, making it approximately 2,000 years old.

Can I attend events or concerts at the Pula Amphiteatar?
Yes, the Pula Arena frequently hosts concerts, film festivals, historical reenactments, and other events. It’s recommended to check the event schedule and book tickets in advance.

Are guided tours available at the Pula Amphiteatar?
Yes, guided tours are available and they offer in-depth insights into the rich history and architectural significance of the arena. Some tours even delve into the underground chambers for a unique perspective.

Is the Pula Arena wheelchair accessible?
While many parts of the arena are accessible, some areas might pose challenges due to the ancient architecture. It’s advised to check in advance if you have specific mobility needs.

Can I bring my own food and drinks inside the Pula Amphiteatar?
Generally, small snacks and water are permissible, but it’s best to enjoy larger meals outside the arena at nearby eateries. Alcohol and glass containers are typically prohibited.

Are there any dress code requirements for visiting the Pula Amphiteatar?
There isn’t a strict dress code, but comfortable shoes are recommended due to uneven surfaces. If attending an event, it’s good to check if the event organizers have specific dress requirements.

Is photography allowed inside the Pula Arena?
Photography for personal use is generally allowed, but tripods, drones, and professional equipment might require special permissions. Always respect the monument and avoid using flash when inside enclosed spaces.

Are there facilities like restrooms, gift shops, or cafes at the Pula Amphiteatar?
Yes, basic facilities like restrooms and a gift shop are available for visitors. There are also several cafes and restaurants located nearby, perfect for a meal or refreshment after exploring the arena.