Zerostrasse underground tunnels Pula

Pula Attraction Zerostrasse: Dive Deep into Pula’s Historical Underground

Welcome to the heart of Pula, where the sounds of the bustling city above echo down to a historical marvel beneath your feet. For those seeking an attraction that’s out of the ordinary, get ready to embark on a journey through the Zerostrasse tunnels. But what is this underground wonder? Let’s dig deep and find out.

Top Highlights

  • Perfectly located in the center of Pula
  • Recognized as an essential historical landmark
  • An intricate system of subterranean tunnels and galleries
  • Originally built as war shelters in the early 1900s
  • Offers wheelchair-accessible entrance ensuring everyone gets to explore
  • Great for children and features an elevator that leads to the iconic Fortress Kaštel

History Behind Zerostrasse

Constructed during World War I, these tunnels were originally designed as bomb shelters. Serving their purpose during the turbulent times of the 20th century, they now offer a unique attraction for history enthusiasts and curious visitors alike.

Nestled beneath the hill of Kaštel lies a fascinating network of tunnels with a history as rich as the city itself. Right at the heart of the city, these tunnels stretch approximately 400 meters, connecting two major inner-city areas.

Atop the hill, the Venetian fort known as Hafenkastell stands as a silent guardian. Over the years, it has played various roles – from being a warehouse and barrack to an essential observation post. Dive deeper, and you’ll discover the fort’s underground quarters, which once served as living spaces for soldiers, storage areas for ammunition and materials, and even as prisons for captured enemy combatants.

Interestingly, Kaštel Hill doesn’t just have one tunnel but two! The primary one is directly beneath the majestic fort, while the other lies at the base of the hill – precisely where you might be standing now.

As you venture into these tunnels, you’ll find four distinct entrances situated around the hill. These paths don’t just lead you into the tunnel system but also converge at a central point, allowing easy navigation. Strategically positioned, these entrances not only facilitate easy movement but also ensure a constant airflow, maintaining a pleasantly cool temperature between 14 to 18°C year-round.

But these tunnels weren’t merely designed for short-term use. Their expansive corridors, which measure between 3 to 6 meters in width and approximately 2.5 meters in height, can accommodate up to 6000 individuals. It’s a testament to the meticulous planning and craftsmanship of an era gone by.

Historical facts

World War I Origins: Zerostrasse was built during World War I. Given its strategic importance as part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Pula (or Pola, as it was known at the time) required defenses against potential bombings. The tunnels were constructed to provide protection to the city’s residents during air raids.

Vast Network: The Zerostrasse tunnels stretch for several kilometers underneath the city of Pula. The system is vast, connecting various parts of the city and providing sheltered routes from one location to another.

Function Beyond War: While the primary purpose of the tunnels was for protection during wartime, they have served various functions over the years. During times of peace, sections of the tunnels were utilized for storage and other civilian purposes.

Preservation of History: Today, parts of the tunnel system have been converted into a kind of museum. Inside, visitors can find exhibits that highlight not only the history of the tunnels themselves but also broader aspects of Pula’s past, including its significance during World War I and World War II.

Connection to Landmarks: The tunnels are intricately linked to several of Pula’s landmarks. For instance, there are routes within Zerostrasse that lead to the famous Roman Amphitheater, allowing residents during wartime to seek shelter quickly.

Name’s Origin: The name “Zerostrasse” is not of Croatian origin. It’s derived from the German language, a nod to the Austro-Hungarian and German influence in the region during the early 20th century. “Strasse” in German means “street,” hinting at its function as an underground pathway or roadway.

Modern-Day Use: Beyond its function as a historical exhibit, Zerostrasse has seen various modern uses. Some sections have hosted art installations, cultural events, and even concerts, utilizing the unique acoustics and ambiance of the underground spaces.

What is there to see

More than just tunnels, Zerostrasse gives visitors a unique insight into Pula’s tumultuous past. As you walk through, feel the echoes of a bygone era. From old war artifacts to informative plaques, there’s history etched into every corner. Not to mention, the breathtaking view atop the Fortress Kaštel, accessible via the elevator.

How long does a visit take

On average, visitors spend about 1-2 hours here. However, if you’re a history buff or someone who likes to take their time, you might find yourself immersed for longer.

Local Tips & Tricks

  • Wear comfortable shoes; there’s a lot to explore!
  • Don’t forget a light jacket; it can get chilly underground.
  • The elevator to Fortress Kaštel offers some of the best views of Pula, so have your camera ready!

When to visit Zerostrasse

Zerostrasse can be visited year-round, but spring and autumn are considered the best times to visit Pula, as the weather is pleasant and the city is less crowded. Keep in mind that there are no mass times at Zerostrasse, as it is not a religious site.

Opening hours

Zerostrasse is open to visitors throughout the year. From May to September, it operates between 9 am and 10 pm, while from October to April, it opens from 10 am to 6 pm.

Price

Adults: 6.00 EUR (45.21 HRK)
Children < 5-16 years: EUR 3.00 (HRK 22.60)
Groups > 10 people: EUR 5.00 (HRK 37.67)
Students, pensioners 65+: 3.00 EUR (22.60 HRK)
People with disabilities + companion: FREE
Kids < 5 years: GRATIS

Payment Method

  • Cash

Contact Info

How to Get Here

  • Zerostrasse is situated in the center of Pula on Carrarina street, near the Twin gate and adjacent to King Petar Krešimir Park.

Where to park

  • Please refer to the where-to-park section for a comprehensive list of available parking options.

Location

Exploring Zerostrasse offers visitors a unique glimpse into Pula’s past, taking them on a journey through time and providing a deeper understanding of the city’s resilience and historical importance.

What is Zerostrasse?
Zerostrasse is a network of underground tunnels located beneath the city of Pula. They were constructed during World War I to serve as shelters and protective passages for the city’s residents during air raids.
How can I access the Zerostrasse tunnels?
There are several entrances to the Zerostrasse tunnels throughout Pula. One of the main entry points is located near the Roman Forum. Visitors can enter and explore designated sections of the tunnel system, and some routes lead to prominent landmarks in the city.
Is it safe to explore Zerostrasse?
Yes, the sections of Zerostrasse that are open to the public are safe to explore. They are well-maintained and lit. However, visitors are advised to wear comfortable footwear, as the path can be uneven in places, and to stick to the marked routes.
Are there guided tours available?
Yes, there are guided tours that provide insights into the history and significance of the tunnels. These tours often share stories of Pula’s past, the purpose behind the construction of Zerostrasse, and other intriguing details.
What should I expect to see inside the tunnels?
Inside Zerostrasse, visitors can see old shelter rooms, passages that connect different parts of the city, and historical exhibits. There are also multimedia displays in certain sections, providing a richer understanding of the city’s history during wartime.