Our eldest has been fighting a cold. We had planned a family trip to Pula to hit the local Bio store (a great place for gluten free foods) and to visit a few historic sights.
With one out with a cold, Momma K stayed home with her, the baby K and A. R and I headed out to catch a bus to Pula. After a pretty 45 minute ride (where we met a lovely woman from England, and had a nice chat), we arrived in Pula.
Our goal was to visit a few ancient roman ruins. AS we walked around, we randomly came upon our first goal – a coliseum. This is the 6th largest coliseum still standing today. Here we are peeking in through one of the arches:
This building has been worked on for hundreds of years. Many repairs have been made. The floor of the arena was rebuilt in the 1930s, as well as the one set of seats. They regularly hold operas, movies, and gladiator re-enactments here in the coliseum. From 100 through 500 AD, this was used for Roman events.
Being a gladiator was a sad job. So many animals and humans lost their life as “entertainers” for the people of Pula and the surrounding area. Imagine this view – with thousands watching, as you entered to fight to the death (your opponents were coming in on the opposite side):
2 tiers of seating, and a gallery at the top for “standing room” (the cheap seats). Here is an archway to the 2nd tier of seating:
and a recreation of the first tier for about 40% of the arena. the wooden platform in the arena floor hides old wall – where the guards would stand and poke the gladiators with red hot iron staves to keep them fighting.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, the arena was used as a source for stone (for other buildings), and animals grazed in the center. Venice actually planned to move the whole darn thing block by block to rebuild it in Venice. They tried a few times, but patrons came and saved it for Pula.
This is a huge arena – 33 meters tall, and ~100mx130m in an oval shape.
Under the arena floor, there is an exhibit on the Istra region. It was a top olive region for Rome (even more than some parts of Italy!! These are olive oil pots… the pointed bottom is to stick them upright in the sand
After a long visit – we fought roman centurions! – we headed to the grocery store. On the way, we discovered the temple of Augustus. Built in the 1st century AD in the center of town (where a big screen TV was being installed for the Euro Cup game!)
Inside was a tiny museum with fragments of old buildings. Here is a carving of Medusa:
We bought our groceries (and Croatian soccer jerseys) and raced home. Back in Rovinj, the family had a table outside at a cafe – where we watched the Croatia-Czech Republic game. Great for 85 minutes, but the Croatian fans threw road flares into the field,and it broke their team’s concentration – and the Czech’s tied it at the end. 😦
Afterwards, we were treated to a beautiful sunset: