The amphitheatre in Pula is the largest and best preserved monument of ancient architecture in Croatia. Gladiatorial combat and hunting animals were
main events. Amphitheatre occupies sixth place among Roman amphitheatres in the world and it is the only one in the world, with all three entirely
preserved Roman architectural orders. It is located 200 meters northeast outside the city walls of Pula. It is believed that construction began 27 year BC
and ended 14 year BC.
Amphitheatre was built on the slope of a hill with four levels, elevated foundation and three floors. Arches of width of 4 meters highlight the main entrances on the outer sheath. The entrance at the south end was the most important because it is facing the city. On the same side was a main entrance to the arena. The second floor of the auditorium was built with the full scope of the amphitheatre in 72 semi-circular arches.
Third floor belonged to the gallery, which has been opened to the outside in the form of 64 square windows. In the middle of the amphitheatre was a battleground. Below it lies extra underground room, mostly carved into the rock. Room was used for holding animal’s cages and a variety of technical tools for games.
It is estimated that amphitheatre could accommodate about 23,000 spectators. The auditorium was located above the arena and spread like an
ellipsoidal funnel, covered by a canvas, with 15 entrance points. Double staircase was located on four towers, located on the exterior facade in order to
provide access to the upper floors.
Each of the four towers had the two water tanks, equipment for spraying scented water over audience. Ceremonial hall was located at the western end. Two small halls located on both sides of the ceremony hall were occupied by small shrines, dedicated to Mithras, Vedic deity of the sun and light. It is not known why the Romans built an amphitheatre in Pula. One legend says that it was built by Emperor Vespasian, in honour of his mistress Antonia Cenida, who had estates in Pula. The arena is now a magnet for the popular world artists such as Andrea Bocelli, Elton John, Manu Chao and many others.
Amphitheatre appears in the film Titus from 1999th year. The film is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy Titus Andronicus. In the space below the arena, today is a permanent exhibition of olive oil and wine in ancient Istria. People all around the world saw the longest tie in the world in 2003, in the scope of art project Necktie around the Arena.