Pula - history
01. Before the Romans
Pula was mentioned for the first time in the lyrics of Kalinah (Ancient greek poet - round 300 BC). However, the village arose much earlier. Polai - iliric expression for a water source, but could also imply the plural of polis - a greek word for a city. During a period of three houndred years before the Romans subdued the country (IInd ct. BC), Istra gets habitated by a tribe we could approximately call Histri. In the year of 177 BC the fortress of Histri - Nezakcij, was taken by the Romans and the king of Histri Epulon commited suicide.
02. Pula the new Roman colony
Thus started a long period of Roman domination over the region of Istra. Soon, the land was given to war veterans and the people Romans inhabitated form the colonies. A strong civil and military government was instored and latin became the official language. Some sources allege Pula got the colonial status (Colonia Pietas Iulia) somewhere in the middle of the Ist ct. BC. It's then, when the city walls are starting to errect, as many other interesting buildings from which some witness Roman era even today.
03. Triumph gate of Sergius
One of the first monuments, which we've been given a chance to see today, surely is Arc of Sergius' Triumph (Golden Gate or Porta Rata). She was built in the year of 28 BC to celebrate the glorious Lucius Sergius Lepid who partially governed the Romans in the battle of Akcius. The interesting fact ic concerning the relatives of Lucius Sergius who bulit the gate at their own expense.
04. The Temple of Augustus
In the 2nd year BC the Temple of Augustus was built. Similar buildings arose at that time, however, unfortunately, they didn't manage to dodge the claws of time. The little Roman theatre (IInd ct. BC - the government of emperor Hadrian), partly bended on the east side of a hill is on the other hand in pretty good shape. The City Gate and The Doubble Gate (we're able to enjoy her likes today) led to it. The same gate leads today to the archeological museum.
05. The Amphitheatre of Pula
The amphitheatre in Pula is one of the Emperor Augustus built a smaller arena, which was enlarged by Claudius, just to get her final shape 70-80 BC - 132m large, 105m long, altitude of 32.5 m. The only one "looking higher" is the Colosseum in Rome. The central part (the arena), where gladiators fought and was used for various gatherings is eliptically shaped (68 x 42m). Somewhere round 400 AC battles were forbidden by the law, so the ampitheatre, ironically, became the warehouse of stone which helped built Pula. They even planned to take her to pieces, but Gabrielle Emo stopped thati initiative.
06. The Progress, the Downfall
The advanced system of water supply, stone-brick streets, were mainly privately financed. Pula was a good example of a developed colonial city. Agriculture, mostly appriciated the likes of vine and olive oil, with inland's cultivated cereals. A lthough they worshipped more than one God (Hercul - the protector of Pula), christianity came to this region in the IVth ct. AC and soon established itself as areligion of the wealthy (not poor as the primar idea was). Romans used it as propaganda. Nevertheless, nothing could bring the people together, as the Gots were approaching. The glourious Empire was about to end...
07. End of an Empire
Round 400 AC city walls are being renuved because the Gots were really close. The slavery was abolished and the land given in loan. The church gets the best of the land, and in 435 becomes the official and only Roman religion. Although it didn't look like the city was about to fall, the Gots took her on the verge of 5th ct. They didn't stay for a longer period, because the loot was taken from them by the Byzantium (538) whose trupes arrived till Ravenna. Even today, the architecture shows the likes of Byzantium style - the church of St.Formosa, the church of St. Mikula...
08. The Francs (Carlomagno)
At the end of the 6th ct. the tribes of Slavs and Avars are running over Istra. At first they didin't inhabit Pula. Almost 200 years of anarchy ended the Francs which established themselves in 788. It took them a lot of effort to inforce the new feudal system. Some areas resisted till the 10th ct. However, many important positions in the council were taken by the Croats, and thus started to improve the position of the people. The period of relative prosperity was soon broken when another contender showed its flags on the horizon - Venice.
Pula, accepted the offer at first, just to took on arms in 1145. Venice won. Pula challenged them twice in 1195 and 1242. They lost on both occasions. After the wars, Venice didin't bother much to invest in Pula, in fact they lost the control of the city 7 times: 3 times by Genoa during the 14th ct., once from the partriarch of Aquila, once from the croatian-hungarian coalition at the beginning of the 15th ct. and once from the Habsburg army just reaching the 16th ct. The last "intruders" will tackle Venice as the new centuries arrive.
10. Napoleon & the Habsburgs
With all the horror, even the pest struck the city on 4 fatal occasions btw. 14th and 17th ct. The other deseases didn't avoid the visit either. The fall of Venice in 1797 and the rise of Napoleon brought Istra some hope. However, non regarding the better organized government, the french enlisted most of the Istra's men population to fight throughout Europe. After Waterloo in 1815 the crowns of Habsburg took control over Istra. After a thorough analysis, they chose Pula to claim the title of the first austrian military harbour in 1853, where they started building the ships.
11. The Progress under the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy
Pula felt the progress, economical, cultural and also demographical (mid 19th ct. counted 1000 habitants, 1900 counted 40 000 habitants, although 25% of all men was in the army). The harbour spedited 20% of the usual capacity of the harbour in Triest, which for Pula was more than a success. Even though german language was the official one, the influence of italian language and their bourgeois was growing strionger. Croatian language and the influnce of their workers also began to be noticed. Germans, 10% at the time left the town till the end of 1918.
12. World War One
The Ist World War brought tention on the peninsula. Considering the possibility that the war reaches Istra, 50 000 people from Pula and villages surrounding it were evacuated. The camps in Hungary, Czech Rep. and Austria were the final destination for most of them. Although the war didin't directly ran through the teritory of the region, the hunger and poverty struck it badly. Defeat of the Central Powers 1918 saw a new period for the history of Istra. Italy gained it's teritory according to the secret London treaty which Italy signed joining the Allies.
13. Istria under Italy – the Rise of Fascism
Italian special units managed to sink few Austrian battle ships, but didn't move an inch up north where they continuously tried to break through the Austrian army shield (1915-1918). Many soldiers defending Slovenian border were from Istra. The movement which tried to link Istra to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians didn't gain the diplomatic support and thus, in november of 1918 Italy took Pula without fight. Italians promised to increase the rights to Croatians - instead fascists increased taxes, closed several croatian schools, with political opponents "vanishing"...
14. world War Two – Istria Divided
In 1943 the resistance of Istra decided to integrate their teritory within the borders of Croatia, thus new Yugoslavia. They still had to wait, though. Germans postponed the integrations for next two years. The resistance was striking hard. The press supported it - from more than a dozen of newspapers, Glas Istre is being pressed even today. Finally - the Germans surrendered May 7, 1945. That wasn't the end of all problems for Istra. Yugoslavia signed the agreement in which Istra is divided into 2 zones (A & B). The sector A (Pula, Triest...) was under the British iurisdiction and diplomacy had to handle it.
15. Morgan's Line & Yugoslavia
Sector B (the rest of Istra) was separated from sector A by the controversal Morgan's line. Istra as a sovereign state didin't have a continuity in selfgovernment, but has the majority of croatian habitants. It's because of the centuries of Italian dominance over Istria, they tried to show her as part of Italy. After 27 months of exhausting diplomatic "battles" Istra (except Triest) was integrated within the frontiers of Croatia, thus Yugoslavia - which met the demand of the majority from Istra.
16. The Slow Progress
The january of 1947 for Pula and Istra came in hunger and unemployment. The progress wasn't coming fast: the lack of people in simple occupations as smithsonians to the more sophisticated ones as education inducted more efforts being put in getting Pula stable economic conditions. The shipbuilding industry felt the first positive steps. In the fifties the aspect of tourism gained ground as the first hotels got built. The culture gradually bacame one of the recognition factor for Pula as the city truly represented the cultural residence of Yugoslavia.
17. Brioni, the Biginning of the Crisis
The isles of Brioni (national park 6mls west of Pula) was the second home of president of Yugoslavia. They hosted lots of famous politicians, but also people from enterntainment and art. However, the years of success: seventies and eighties were over. Poor economic conditions in the rest of the country inducted long time forgotten antagonism. The concept of a multiethnic state broke. Istra as the part of Croatia was decisive to exit Yugoslavia and defend croatian sovereignity if needed.
18. Istria in Croatia
The conflict never reached Istra. However, tourism as the key aspect of development was struggling in the nineties. Even then, the profits weren't reinvested in Istra, which was the only region in whole Croatia which was still gaining from tourism. That created tentions between the local government in Istra and the central one of Croatia, considering not only the economic issues. Non regarding the continuity of local government since 1993, Istra hasn't really offered an appropriate support to strategic developement.
19. Istria the Future
The targeted upscaled tourism and the production of high quality agricultural products it's showing it's potential. This is especially the case when the smaller, private inititiatives are concerned. They tend to merge and don't depend on political decisions. Young, educated people started to gather potentials and with the current offer, better solutions and more effective positioning of high quality service is fully going to show its pace in 5 to 10 years.