It is a must-see. Add it to your bucket list...
Built from 27 BC -68 AD, during the reign of Caesar Augstus, it dominates the waterfront of the city of Pula. Hugging the Adriatic, it is an imposing sight.
Established as the cultural, political, and social center in the area, the arena drew crowds to its various sponsored events. It gave a heightened value and worth to ancient Pula as a site frequented by Emperors and high-ranking officials.
As we arrived, there were numerous tours entering and ogling the perimeter. Guides speaking every language outed its characteristics in their various tongues - and yet, it wasn't crowded. We were free to peek and prod and enjoy as much as we desired.
Beneath the floor, tunnels radiate to hidden rooms, holding cells for animals from the gladiator days. This ampitheater was on the gladiator circuit, and hosted many public fighting events in its hey-day.
Tours of these tunnels are hosted on a tight schedule during the busy tourist season.
In 681, an order was given forbidding the pitting of prisoners against one another in death matches, and the use of wild animals. Some sources cite Germanus to be a Christian martyr doomed to a terrible fate within the arena walls.
The arena saw intermittent and varying uses through the centuries. Today, it is a venue for concerts. Seating 20,000, it sponsors a full line-up - you can take in rock concerts, ballet, theater, and even a film-festival!
If you are planning a trip to the area, I urge you to check out the concert line-up - an open-air show in a turn of the millennia venue is just not something you get to take in every day. You can find concert information here.
My thanks for the concert photo go out to the Croatian National Tourist Board.