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About Pula

Pula is the largest city in Istria county, with a metropolitan area of 90,000 people. The city itself has 62,080 residents (2005), while the metropolitan area includes Barban (2,802 residents), Fažana (3,050 residents), Ližnjan (2,945 residents), Marčana (3,903 residents), Medulin (6,004 residents), Svetvinčenat (2,218 residents) and Vodnjan (5,651 residents). Its population density is 1,093.27 residents/km², ranking Pula fifth in Croatia. Its birth rate is 1.795 per cent and its mortality rate is 1.014 per cent (in 2001 466 people were born and 594 deceased), with a natural population decrease of -0.219 per cent and vital index of 78.45. The majority of its citizens are Croats representing 71.65% of the population (2001 census). Ethnic minorities and their composition is as follows: 3,415 Serbs (5.83 per cent), 2,824 Italians (4.82 per cent), 980 Bosniaks (1.67 per cent), 731 Slovenians (1.25 per cent) and the rest belong to other minor ethnic communities.

Evidence of presence of Homo erectus at 1 million years ago have been found in the cave of Šandalja near Pula. Pottery from the Neolithic period (6000-2000 BC), indicating human settlement, have been found around Pula. In the Bronze Age (1800-1000 BC), a new type of settlement appeared in Istria, called ‘gradine’, or Hill-top fortificatations.
Many late Bronze Age bone objects, such as tools for smoothing, for drilling, sewing needles, as well as bronze spiral pendants, have found in the area around Pula.

The type of materials found in Bronze Age sites in Istria connects these with sites around the Danube. The inhabitants of Istria in the Bronze Age are known as Proto Illyrians. The foundation of the settlement based on archaeological evidence dates to ca. the 10th century BC.[dubious – discuss] Greek pottery and a part of a statue of Apollo have been found, attesting to the presence of the Greek culture. Greek tradition attributed the foundation of Polai to the Colchians, mentioned in the context of the story of Jason and Medea, who had stolen the golden fleece.
The Colchians, who had chased Jason into the northern Adriatic, were unable to catch him and ended up settling in a place they called Polai, signifying “city of refuge”. Ancient period View of coast through Pula Arena. In classical antiquity, it was inhabited by the Histri, a Venetic or Illyrian tribe recorded by Strabo in the 1st century AD The Istrian peninsula was conquered by the Romans in 177 BC, starting a period of Romanization. The town was elevated to colonial rank between 46-45 BC as the tenth region of the Roman Empire, under Julius Caesar.

During that time the town grew and had at its zenith a population of about 30,000. It became a significant Roman port with a large surrounding area under its jurisdiction.
During the civil war of 42 BC of the triumvirate of Octavian, Mark Antony and Lepidus against Caesar’s assassins Brutus and Cassius, the town took the side of Cassius, since the town had been founded by Cassius Longinus, brother of Cassius. After Octavian’s victory, the town was demolished. It was soon rebuilt at the request of Octavian’s daughter Iulia and was then called Colonia Pietas Iulia Pola Pollentia Herculanea’. Great classical constructions were built of which a few remain. A great amphitheatre, Pula Arena was constructed between 27 BC – 68 AD, much of it still standing to this day.

The Romans also supplied the city with a water supply and sewage systems. They fortified the city with a wall with ten gates. A few of these gates still remain: the triumphal Arch of the Sergii, the Gate of Hercules (in which the names of the founders of the city are engraved) and the Twin Gates. This town was the site of Gallus Caesar’s execution. During the reign of emperor Septimius Severus the name of the town was changed into “Res Publica Polensis” In 425 AD the town became the centre of a bishopric, attested by the remains of foundations of a few religious buildings.