APARTMENT SONJA - 3 private rooms for 6+1 persons.

Low season

(September 10 to June 30) 90 €
High season
(July 1 to September 9) 150 €

More Info

BLUE ROOM - spacious, beautiful private room for 2+1 persons.

Low season

(September 10 to June 30) 36 €
High season
(July 1 to September 9) 52

More Info

GREEN ROOM - convenient private room for 2 persons.

Low season
(September 10 to June 30) 32
High season
(July 1 to September 9) 48 €

More Info

YELLOW ROOM - ensuite, lovely private room for 2+1 persons.

Low season

(September 10 to June 30) 40
High season
(July 1 to September 9) 56 €

More Info

Pula is the largest city in Istria County, Croatia, situated at the southern tip of the Istria peninsula, with a population of little over 62.000. Like the rest of the region, it is known for its mild climate, smooth sea, and unspoiled nature. The city has a long tradition of winemaking, fishing, shipbuilding, and tourism. Pula has also been Istria's administrative center since ancient Roman times.

Pre-history period

Even in the pre-history period we find evidences of presence of Homo erectus at 1 million years ago. In the Bronze Age (1800–1000 BC), a new type of settlement appeared in Istria, called 'gradine', or Hill-top fortificatations. The inhabitants of Istria in the Bronze Age are known as Proto Illyrians. The foundation of the settlement based on archaeological evidence dates to ca. the 10th century BC. Greek pottery and a part of a statue of Apollo have been found, attesting to the presence of the Greek culture.

Greek tradition attributed the foundation of Polai to the Colchians, mentioned in the context of the story of Jason and Medea, who had stolen the golden fleece. The Colchians, who had chased Jason into the northern Adriatic, were unable to catch him and ended up settling in a place they called Polai, signifying "city of refuge".

Ancient period

In classical antiquity, it was inhabited by the Histri, a Venetic or Illyrian tribe recorded by Strabo in the 1st century AD The Istrian peninsula was conquered by the Romans in 177 BC, starting a period of Romanization. The town was elevated to colonial rank between 46–45 BC as the tenth region of the Roman Empire, under Julius Caesar. During that time the town grew and had at its zenith a population of about 30,000. It became a significant Roman port with a large surrounding area under its jurisdiction. Great classical constructions were built of which a few remain. A great amphitheatre, Pula Arena was constructed between 27 BC – 68 AD, much of it still standing to this day. The Romans also supplied the city with a water supply and sewage systems. They fortified the city with a wall with ten gates. A few of these gates still remain: the triumphal Arch of the Sergii, the Gate of Hercules (in which the names of the founders of the city are engraved) and the Twin Gates. During the reign of emperor Septimius Severus the name of the town was changed into "Res Publica Polensis". In 425 AD the town became the centre of a bishopric, attested by the remains of foundations of a few religious buildings.

Venetian, Napoleonic and early Habsburg rule

The Venetians took over Pula in 1331 and would rule the city until 1797. During the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, Pula was attacked and occupied by the Genoese, the Hungarian army and the Habsburgs; several outlying medieval settlements and towns were destroyed. In addition to war, the plague, malaria and typhoid ravaged the city. By the 1750s there were only 3,000 inhabitants left in ancient city, an area now covered with weeds and ivy.

With the collapse of the Venetian Republic in 1797 following military defeat at the hands of Napoleon, the city became part of the Habsburg Monarchy. It was invaded again in 1805 after the French had defeated the Austrians. It was included in the French Empire's puppet Kingdom of Italy, then placed directly under the French Empire's Illyrian Provinces.

In 1813, Pula and Istria were restored to the Austrian Empire (later the Austro-Hungarian Empire), and became part of the Austrian Littoral crown land. During this period Pula regained prosperity. From 1859 Pula's large natural harbour became Austria's main naval base and a major shipbuilding centre. The city transformed from a small city with a fading antique splendour into an industrial town. The island of Brijuni to the south of Pula became the summer vacation resort of Austria's Habsburg royal family.

In World War I, the port was the main base for Austro-Hungarian dreadnoughts and other naval forces of the Empire.

Following the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918, Pula and the whole of Istria – except the territory of Kastav – were given to Italy under the peace treaty. Pula (Pola) became the capital of the Province of Pola. The decline in population after World War I was mainly due to economic difficulties caused by the large-scale reduction of the Austro-Hungarian military and bureaucratic facilities and the dismissal of workers from its shipyard.

Under the Italian Fascist government of Benito Mussolini, non-Italians, especially Slavic residents, faced huge political and cultural repression and many fled the city and Istria altogether.

During German military rule (1943–1945), Pula was integrated into the Operational Zone Adriatic Coast, a German occupation zone. The city then saw a very difficult period: arrests, deportations and executions of people suspected of helping the Partisans' guerilla struggle. The city was subjected to repeated Allied air raids during the Second World War (Pula was a German u-boat base from 1942–1944).

Post-WWII and modern era

For several years after 1945, Pula was administered by the United Nations. Istria was partitioned into occupation zones until the region became officially united with the rest of Croatia within the SFR Yugoslavia on 15 September 1947.

Subsequently, the city's Croatian name, 'Pula', became the official name, while the former Italian one was 'Pola'. Since the collapse of Yugoslavia in 1992, Pula and Istria have become part of the modern-day Republic of Croatia.

Climate

The city lies on and beneath seven hills on the inner part of a wide gulf and a naturally well-protected port (depth up to 38 metres (125 ft)) open to the northwest with two entrances: from the sea and through Fažana channel.

Protected from the north by the mountain chain of Alps as well the inner highland, the climate is Mediterranean, very pleasant, with the highest air temperature averaging 24 °C (75 °F) during August and lowest averaging 6 °C (43 °F), in January. Summers are usually warm during the day and cooler near the evening, although some strange heat wave patterns are also common.

Primarily, there is a lot of moisture in the air. Temperatures above 10 °C (50 °F) last for more than 240 days a year. There are two different kinds of winds here – the bura brings cold and clear weather from the north in winter, and the southern jugo (jug=south) bringing rain in summer. The 'Maestral' is a summer breeze blowing from the inland to the sea.

Like the rest of the region Pula is known for its mild climate, tame sea, and unspoiled nature with an average of sunny days of 2,316 hours per year or 6.3 hours a day, with an average air temperature of 13.7 °C (56.7 °F)[27] (6.1 °C (43.0 °F) in February to 26.4 °C (79.5 °F) in July and August) and sea temperature from 7 °C (45 °F) to 26 °C (79 °F).

Sights

The city is best known for its many surviving ancient Roman buildings, the most famous of which is its 1st century amphitheater, which is among the six largest surviving Roman arenas in the world, and locally known as the Arena. This is one of the best preserved amphitheaters from antiquity and is still in use today during summer film festivals. During the World War II Italian fascist administration, there were attempts to disassemble the arena and move it to mainland Italy, which were quickly abandoned due to the costs involved.

Two other notable and well-preserved ancient Roman structures are the 1st century AD triumphal arch, the Arch of the Sergii and the co-eval temple of Rome and Augustus, built in the 1st century AD built on the forum during the reign of the Roman emperor Augustus.

The Twin Gates (Porta Gemina) is one of the few remaining gates after the city walls were pulled down at the beginning of the 19th century. It dates from the mid-2nd century, replacing an earlier gate. It consists of two arches, columns, a plain architrave and a decorated frieze. Close by are a few remains of the old city wall.

The Gate of Hercules dates from the 1st century. At the top of the single arch one can see the bearded head of Hercules, carved in high-relief, and his club on the adjoining voussoir. A damaged inscription, close to the club, contains the names of Lucius Calpurnius Piso and Gaius Cassius Longinus who were entrusted by the Roman senate to found a colony at the site of Pula. Thus it can be deduced that Pula was founded between 47 and 44 BC.

The Augustan Forum was constructed in the 1st century BC, close to the sea. In Roman times it was surrounded by temples of Jupiter, Juno and Minerva. This Roman commercial and administrative centre of the city remained the main square of classical and medieval Pula. It still is the main administrative and legislative centre of the city. The temple of Roma and Augustus is still preserved today. A part of the back wall of the temple of Juno was integrated into the Communal Palace in the 13th century.

Two Roman theatres have withstood the ravages of time: the smaller one (diam. circa 50 m; 2nd c. AD) near the centre, the larger one (diam. circa 100 m; 1st c. AD) on the southern edge of the city.

The city's old quarter of narrow streets, lined with Medieval and Renaissance buildings, are still surfaced with ancient Roman paving stones.

The Byzantine chapel of St. Mary Formosa was built in the 6th century (before 546) in the form of a Greek cross, resembling the churches in Ravenna. It was built by deacon Maximilian, who became later Archbishop of Ravenna. It was, together with another chapel, part of a Benedictine abbey that was demolished in the 16th century. The floors and the walls are decorated with 6th century mosaics. The decoration bears some resemblance to the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia at Ravenna. The wall over the door contains a Byzantine carved stone panel. The 15th-century wall paintings may be restorations of Early Christian paintings. When the Venetians raided Pula in 1605, they removed many treasures from this chapel to Venice, including the four columns of oriental alabaster that stand behind the high altar of St Mark's Basilica.

The Church of St. Francis dates from the end of the 13th century. It was built in 1314 in late Romanesque style with Gothic additions such as the rose window. The church consists of a single nave with three apses. An unusual feature of this church is the double pulpit, with one part projecting into the street. A 15th-century wooden polyptych from an Emilian artist adorns the altar. The west portal is decorated with shell motifs and a rose window. The adjoining monastery dates from the 14th century. The cloisters display some antique Roman artifacts.

The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was built in the 6 th century, when Pula became the seat of a bishopry, over the remains over the original site where the Christians used to gather and pray in Roman times. It was enlarged in the 10th century. After its destruction by Genoese and Venetian raids, it was almost completely rebuilt in the 15th century. It got its present form when a late Renaissance façade was added in the early 16th century. The church still retains several Romanesque and Byzantine characters, such as some parts of the walls (dating from the 4th century), a few of the original column capitals and the upper windows of the nave. In the altar area and in the room to the south one can still see fragments of 5th to 6th-century floor mosaics with memorial inscriptions from worshippers who paid for the mosaics. The windows of the aisles underwent reconstruction in Gothic style after a fire in 1242. The belfry in front the church was built between 1671 and 1707 with stones form the amphitheatre. There also used to stand a baptistery from the 5th century in front of the church, but it was demolished in 1885.

The Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas with its Ravenna-style polygonal apse, originally dates from the 6th century, but was partially rebuilt in the 10th century. In 1583 it was assigned to the Orthodox community of Pula, mainly immigrants from Cyprus and Nauplion. The church owns several icons from the 15th and the 16th century and an iconostasis from the Greek artists Tomios Batos from the 18th century.
A Roman relief at the Archaeological Museum of Istria

The star-shaped castle with four bastions is situated on top of the central hill of the old city. It was built, over the remains of the Roman capitolium, by the Venetians in the 14th century, following the plans of the French military architect Antoine de Ville. Since 1961 it now houses the Historical Museum of Istria. Close by, on the north-eastern slopes, one can see the remains of a 2nd-century theater.

The Archaeological Museum of Istria is situated in the park on a lower level than the Roman theatre and close to the Twin Gates. Its collection was started by Marshall Marmont in August 1802 when he collected the stone monuments from the temple of Roma and Augustus. The present-day museum was opened in 1949. It displays treasures from Pula and surroundings from prehistory until the Middle Ages.

Tourism

The natural beauty of Pula's surrounding countryside and turquoise water of the Adriatic have made the city an internationally popular summer vacation destination. The pearl nearby is Brijuni national park visited by numerous world leaders since it was the summer residence of Josip Broz Tito. Roman villas and temples still lie buried among farm fields and along the shoreline of the dozens of surrounding fishing and farming villages. The coastal waters offer beaches, fishing, wreck dives to ancient Roman galleys and World War I warships, cliff diving, and sailing to unspoiled coves and islands large and small.

Pula is the end point of the EuroVelo 9 cycle route that runs from Gdańsk on the Baltic Sea through Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia and Croatia.

It is possible to track dinosaur footprints on the nearby sea shores; certain more important finds have been made at an undisclosed location near Bale.

In 2008 Pula Tourist Board with Parabureau design agency initiated the project of branding the City of Pula. The project won The Rebrand 100 Global Award.

Highlights: Pula, climate, wine, ship fish, Romans, tourism, sights, amphitheater, Gate of Hercules

AP Sonja & SportTourism

Apartment Sonja is partner with SportTourism.com Sport activities provider - Book now!

They said about us

Lots of great things, the place is homely and clean and has everything you need, including free internet and use of kitchen. It is very well located and the family who run it are super friendly and helpful, they are even giving us a lift to the ferry at 6.15am. Made us feel very welcome.


It was great stay at apartament Sonja, owners are wery helpful, location is in center of town, close to everyting what you need, I could give 120% if it's possible, HIGLY RECOMENDED!!

Customer review

Follow Us