Arena Amphiteatre, most important ancient monument in Croatia
Peak of every sightseeing of Pula is its biggest and most famous monument, Amphitheater. Once home to glorious gladiator fights, today represents the masterpiece of the Roman architecture in the whole region of Istria, and one of the most preserved one in the whole world. It is the 6th largest Roman amphitheater in the world and is the only one in the world whose all three Roman architectural orders have been completely upheld.
It was built in the first century during the reign of Emperor Vespasian, concurrent as the Colosseum in Rome. There is no detailed information about the exact time and duration of construction.
Formed of local Tuscan-style limestone, the amphitheater consists of four floors with a maximum height of 33 meters. The full profile consisted of 72 semicircular galleries, while the top floor had 64 square windows, and in case of bad weather, there was also the possibility of covering the auditorium with canvas and masts. The central part of each amphitheater is an arena, where gladiatorial fights, animal hunting, and public trials were held. Entrance to manifestations was free but there was strictly followed seating arrangement, based on social hierarchy, with the poorest being accommodated on the top with the inferior view on the arena.
Underneath the arena were a supporting room and passages that were used for holding the beast and the gladiators. Today is modernized and used as a permanent exhibition of Olive growing and viticulture of Istria during ancient times. The second part of the exhibition relates to the display of trafficking with amphoras in the northern Adriatic during Roman times and the main trade routes.
After the prohibition of gladiator games in the 5th century, the amphitheater was left to deteriorate. Archeological examinations started in 18th century, and its conservation and restoration continue on.
Nowadays, it is a place for numerous occasions, such as Pula Film Festival, a great number of concerts by acclaimed musicians, festivals, sports events and more.