Istria displays a rich kaleidoscope of cultures, ranging from the prehistoric Histri tribe to the Romans, Byzantines, and Venetians. The region has a long history, and during Roman times it was an important center of trade and culture. The Romans conquered the region in 177 BC, and during the following centuries, they built many towns, roads, and other infrastructure in the area. They also brought their culture and way of life, which has had a lasting influence on the region. Many Roman ruins can still be found in Istria, including the remains of the city of Pula, which was an important Roman port and naval base. Other notable Roman sites in Istria include the town of Poreč, with its well-preserved Roman mosaics, and the amphitheater in Pula.
Poreč – UNESCO World Heritage listing
Poreč, also known as Parenzo in Italian, is a town located on the western coast of the Istria peninsula. It was an important Roman settlement, and many Roman ruins can still be seen in the town today.
One of the most famous and well-preserved Roman sites in Poreč is the Euphrasian Basilica, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The basilica is thought to have been built in the 6th century AD and was dedicated to a bishop named Euphrasius. The basilica is renowned for its mosaics, which are some of the best preserved in the world from the early Christian period. These mosaics depict religious scenes and are rich in vibrant colors and intricate details.
Another important Roman site in Poreč is the Neptune’s Temple, which is located in the center of the town and is the most ancient monument in Poreč. It was built in the 1st century AD and was dedicated to the Roman god of the sea. The remains of the temple can still be seen today, including the foundations and some of the columns.
The ancient Roman city of Pula, located on the southern tip of the Istria peninsula, is home to one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheaters in the world. The Pula Arena, as it is known today, is the sixth largest Roman amphitheater in the world and it is considered one of the best-preserved examples of its kind.
The Pula Arena was built in the 1st century AD and was used for gladiatorial contests and other public spectacles. The amphitheater has a nearly perfect circular shape and it is built of locally-quarried limestone. It could seat up to 20,000 people in its time. It is still in use today as a venue for concerts and other events, which makes it unique as an ancient Roman site as it continues to be in use.
The amphitheater is an impressive sight and it’s easy to imagine the excitement and pageantry of the ancient Roman games that took place there. The preservation of the amphitheater is such that it is possible to see the intricate carvings and details on the walls and arches. The Arena is part of the city tour and many visitors take the chance to visit it. You can also see it in a guided tour, usually offered by the local tourist office.
If you’re interested in Roman history, or just want to see an impressive ancient monument, the Pula Arena is definitely worth a visit.