The most impressive surprise of my entire trip was driving into Pula, Croatia and seeing their Roman Arena. Once I thought about it, it made perfect sense. There is quite a lot of Roman architecture in Croatia, but I just didn’t expect a full blown gladiator arena. And, there almost wasn’t one to see. At least twice in history, Italy has attempted to dismantle the arena and rebuild it in Venice. Luckily past attempts failed and it now holds the title of “best preserved ancient monument in Croatia”.
Construction of the arena began in 27BC. It’s the sixth largest (surviving) Roman arena in the world and the only remaining arena to have four side towers. There is a feeling of amazement when you sit in an arena like this and think about what activities have taken place…like gladiator duels.
I image I would be impressed with Rome’s Colosseum as well, but I loved that this arena wasn’t packed with tourist. I would guess there were approximately 20 people visiting at the same time I was there and eight of us were from the same group. Note: If visiting purchase the audio tour. It can be shared easily among two people and is well worth the cost.
Today the arena is used for outdoor concerts.
These last two photos were taken as I left the arena and noticed the sunset was reflecting off the arena. I had already put my DSLR away, so I took these with my cell phone. If you have a cell phone with a HDR setting on the camera and haven’t used it yet, DO. The HDR setting is the best cell phone camera setting EVER.