Kaštel fortress and Historical and Maritime Museum of Istria
Because of its elevated location, from which a view on the whole port of Pula and most of the city stretches, Kaštel is and was an important strategic position in Pula. A present-day fort situated on the hill was built on the ruins of medieval kastel that was also built on the ruins of ancient Roman military camp – Castrum, which was used as surveillance for the conquered land and nearby sea waterways.
It is a baroque fort that was built using the most inovative fortification building method of those times. During the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) between the Venetia and Austria, the fort briefly became an important point of Venetian defense.
Construction of the fort began in 1630, and it was finished in 1636. It was designed and supervised by Antonie De Vill, famous french military engineer, one of the most famous fortification builders in Europe. Galley rovers and stonemasons from Rovinj and Venice took part in the proces of construction, and stone blocks from destroyed ancient theatre from the nearby Monte Zaro hill were being used to establish this Venetian fort.
The ground plan of the fort is rectangular, with shorter edges and four very strong, but regular bastions that were located at the tops of the rectangles. Courtyard with fountain, armoury, and quarters for crew and governour were in the center of the fort.
As the wars between Venetia and Austria came to an end, the fort became neglected and it was left to decay.
With the arrival of the Austrian army, new construction on the fort began. Overaged facilities were being demolished, and from 1840, the new ones started to arise. Only a well preserved wall remains from the original 16th century fort. As part of the first modern plumbing system in Pula, the first external water tank was built.
Since the First World War, the fort has no longer had any military or defense significance.
In the first part of the 1960, refurbishment for museum purpose began, and today, The Historical and Maritime Museum of Istria operates in this old fort.
The symbolic significance of the fort is great , due it being the last stone fortification that was built, which is almost entirely preserved on a superior defensive location.