Saint Theodore Pula

Saint Theodore Pula: A Timeless Adventure in Historic Ruins

Discover the charm, history, and artistic allure of Pula Church on your next visit. Dive in to explore what makes St. Paul’s Church a top attraction in Pula!

Top Highlights

  • Journey through 3,000 years of Pula’s history.
  • Discover over 2,000 preserved amphorae.
  • Marvel at the Temple of Hercules’ foundations and the Roman domus and thermae.
  • Explore 27 archaeological layers revealing Pula’s multifaceted past.
  • History enthusiasts
  • Cultural tourists
  • Students and educators
  • Families and solo travelers seeking a deep dive into Pula’s past

About the Saint Theodore

Nestled in the heart of Pula, the Pula Saint Theodore stands as a testimony to the city’s rich history. Having walked its grounds, I was taken on a journey through time. The site unveiled 27 archaeological layers, unveiling a 3,000-year-long past that ranged from the ancient period, including the foundations of the Temple of Hercules, to the remains of the first Christian churches from the Late Antiquity period. This location is a goldmine of history, with discoveries showcasing the city’s evolution.

Interestingly, the site houses over 2,000 amphorae, making it one of the largest terrestrial amphora sites globally. Furthermore, the Temple of Hercules holds a special place with the discovery of a stone block bearing a club symbol, reinforcing Hercules as the city’s protector during ancient times.

For those wondering about its name, the St. Theodore is located in Pula’s northeast corner and is named after the Benedictine monastery complex dedicated to St. Theodore. Evidence suggests that the church of Saint Theodore has existed since the Byzantine administration, but the unearthed artifacts hint at an even older settlement of this city part.

Historical Facts

  • Ancient Origins: The area known as Saint Theodore in Pula has revealed evidence of a settlement that dates back thousands of years. The earliest archaeological findings at this site are from the turn of the 2nd to the 1st millennium BC, suggesting that it was a significant area during the early Iron Age of the Histrian culture.
  • Byzantine Presence: The church of Saint Theodore is believed to have been established during the Byzantine administration in Istria, which speaks of the region’s strategic and cultural importance through the ages.
  • Roman Legacy: The Saint Theodore area houses remnants from the Roman period, making it an essential site for understanding the history of Pula. Notably, the foundations of the Temple of Hercules have been uncovered here. Hercules, the ancient protector of the city, is symbolized by a discovered stone block with a carved club, his iconic emblem.
  • Amphorae Galore: The site is renowned for hosting one of the largest amphora sites in the Mediterranean. Over 2,000 amphorae, used historically for transporting wine, have been found here. This discovery underscores Pula’s significance in ancient trade networks.
  • First Christian Churches: Relics of the first Christian churches built on this site were unearthed from the Late Antiquity period. This finding paints a picture of the religious transformation of the area and its residents.
  • A Glimpse of Daily Life: Among the archaeological treasures discovered at Saint Theodore are remnants of a Roman residential house or “domus.” The luxurious décor, mosaics, frescoes, and other findings give insights into the lives of the Roman elite who once called Pula home.
  • World War II Impact: Modern history has also left its mark on the Saint Theodore area. Remnants of Austrian infantry barracks from more recent times can be seen, with parts of it being destroyed during World War II bombings.
  • Archaeological Research: Between 2005 to 2009, the Archaeological Museum of Istria conducted protective research at the Saint Theodore site, covering an area of approximately 4,000 m². The depth of excavation reached about eight meters, revealing layers upon layers of Pula’s intricate history.
  • A Name with Historical Roots: Saint Theodore’s name originates from the Benedictine monastery complex that was dedicated to St. Theodore, further emphasizing the religious significance of the area throughout the ages.
  • Modern Usage: Today, parts of the preserved barracks house the City Library and Reading Room, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Istria, and the Trikotaže Arena, blending history with modern cultural endeavors.

When to Visit

Spring (April to June) and Fall (September to November) are ideal. Mild weather and fewer crowds promise a delightful experience.

What is There to See

Key attractions include the Roman domus (residential house) adorned with frescoes, stucco, marble decorations, and mosaics. The well-preserved thermal bath complex, or thermae, from the Roman period, also offers insights into the recreational activities of ancient inhabitants. Of special note is the stone block with a relief of a club, symbolizing Hercules, the protector of Pula.

How Long Does a Visit Take

Allocate 30 min – 1  hour to immerse fully in the site’s rich history and take in all it has to offer.

Local Tips & Tricks

Wear comfortable shoes, as there’s a lot of ground to cover. Hiring a local guide can enhance the experience, offering deeper insights into the findings and the stories behind them. Make sure to have a bottle of water and a hat, especially during sunnier days.

Contact Info

How to Get Here

Location: Center of Pula

  • Saint Theodore Pula is situated in the heart of Pula, specifically on Kandlerova Street. It’s conveniently close to Tito’s Park.

Where to park

  • For ideal parking options, kindly refer to the where-to-park section, which provides details on all available parking spots in the vicinity.

Location

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Is there an entrance fee for the Saint Theodore site?
No, it is free.
Are there guided tours available?
Yes, guided tours are available, offering detailed explanations of the site’s history and significance.
Is photography allowed within the site?
Yes, photography for personal use is allowed. However, drones and commercial shoots might require permissions.
Are there any eateries or cafes nearby?
Yes, the surrounding area boasts a range of eateries offering local Istrian cuisine and other delicacies.