Croatia Istria Pula Pola Ancient Roman Arena
Pula is a medium-sized city with a special flair. It is the capital of the autonomous region of Istria within Croatia. It has acquired some prominence in Antiquity at the times of the Roman Empire. And since then, the various cultural influences of the reigning powers have made a lasting impact on Pula's cityscape.

The most famous landmark is probably the ancient Roman arena which is still in use today. Instead of gladiator fights and animal hunts have been replaced by less bloody entertainments like theater festivals, concerts and raves. But the arena is not the only Roman legacy. Renovations have made the ancient forum with the Temple of Augustus and Roma accessible and the Arch of Sergii highlights the Roman influence. During the middle ages, Pula being integral part of the Byzantine Empire, churches in Byzantine stile have added to the culturally diverse appearance.

Later, Venice took over Istria and most of Dalmatia and the typcial Venetian architectural style made a lasting impression. After the Venetians came the Austrian Habsburgs and Pola became the most important naval port for the Austrian and later the Austro-Hungarian Navy for all the battleships and even submarines. In World War I, The Austro-Hungarian and the Italian navies fought for dominance in the Adriatic. Habsburg's architects modernized the city according to the needs of an important military and administrative center. Most of the former naval administrative buildings look like they were transplanted from Vienna. 

The outcome of the war enabled Italy to take over most parts of the coastline from Trieste to the Albanian border. Later, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes and after World War II, Yugoslavia united the Southern slavic peoples on the Western Balkans under one banner until the wars of independence leading to the dissolution of Yugoslavia.