Arena in Pula

When visiting the city of Pula you will certainly not bypass the Amphitheatre or the Pula Arena. It is the largest and most famous monument of ancient construction in this region. It is the sixth largest Roman amphitheatre at the world level, but the only one with all three Roman architectural orders completely preserved. Due to its size, it is located outside the city walls of old Pula. It is often compared to the Colosseum in Rome, which is no coincidence since both amphitheatres were built under the same ruler, Emperor Vespasian in the first century. The arena is built very regularly, has an elliptical shape with a longer axis of 132.45 meters long and a shorter axis of 105.10 meters. On the sea side, the height of the Arena reaches up to 32 meters. Three floors were built there, while only two floors were built in the eastern part due to the natural elevation. In the centre of the amphitheatre is a playground or arena, then a channel separating the playground from the spectator area. Spectators mostly sat on the stone steps that were built along the Arena or stood in the gallery. In inclement weather, the spectator area would be covered with velaria (large sails), and the supports used for this purpose can be seen today and represent a very rarely preserved element of construction. The Arena itself could accommodate about 20,000 visitors, while today that number has dropped to 5,000. It has been rebuilt several times in history, but it is believed that the reconstruction that took place in the 1980s was poorly done and is the reason why the Arena is not on the UNESCO World Heritage List today. Today it hosts many summer festivals and concerts. The most famous is the Pula Film Festival, which has been held in the Arena every summer since 1954. In the underground of the Arena, which once served as a space for gladiators, there is a permanent exhibition of the exhibition "Olive growing and viticulture of Istria in antiquity" with numerous amphorae and reconstructions of machines for the production of wine and oil. The arena is also interesting because, in 2003, the longest tie in the world, 808 meters long, was wrapped around it, making it into the Guinness Book of Records.

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