Grab a shovel. Start digging just about anywhere in the city of Pula or the surrounding area and you’re bound to find something ancient and probably Roman.
Just outside the anthropological museum, I exclaimed disbelief at the number of carved stones, busts, mosaics, and remains of arches that lined the walkway. A stroll through the first floor of the museum showed even more, so many that they were running out of room to store them. “Pula is a never-ending story,” our guide Nada said. She pointed to a life sized statue of a woman in the hall, which had been found by neighbors in their garden in a village five miles away.
Such a thing happens very often, and can understandably seem like more of a pain then a joyous discovery, causing a standstill of other work until excavation is complete. Instead, some people make their discovery a secret, or things even get covered back up because there may not be the resources to do the excavation. Case in point: a massive Roman Forum exists under the main plaza unbeknowest to many who walk over it. The hope is that someday it will be excavated and protected (but viewable) by a glass floor. “Maybe the next generation will do it,” Nada offered.
As a North American, the thought of this is incredible, as it is always humbling to see these ancient relics. Coming from a nation that is so new and modern, 2,000 year old buildings are already unthinkable. Hidden and/or ignored? Unfathomable.
I’ll never forget my first trip to Rome, almost a decade ago, when I literally gasped for breath at my first sight of the Colleseum, in awe that something that old stood right in front of me. The sight of standing before Pula’s grand amphitheater had a similar effect.
And this is just what I could see – what about what might be hidden beneath my feet?
P.S. This was too good not to share…
In ancient times and in high society, nothing declared social status more then having a bust made of your likeness for all to see.
The problem? Positions of status changed often. Whoever was the most recognized artist, general, etc. one day may not be so the next. And these busts could be pricey and hard to make.
The solution? Just replace the head. The bust would stay the same, but the head was detachable so that a new one could be made and screwed on when necessary.
Add YOUR head here!
An ancient Roman photo-shop technique….if you will… 🙂
Many thanks to Nada and the Croatian National Tourist Board for the complimentary tour.
Also, our stay in Pula was courtesy of the Apartments Arena. Click here for our full review.
It blows my mind that they would just keep something as important as a roman forum covered up, although I sympathize with not having enough resources to do everything. Hopefully it gets done before “the next generation”.
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It would be SO cool to have it unearthed with a glass cover. In a library in Bologna, Italy, the whole first floor is that way. I hope they can do it soon as well!
Awesome! I missed Pula when I was in Croatia, but as an amateur archeology buff it’s going on my list for next time!
It was nuts how much stuff there is in Pula. If you’re an archeology buff you would really love it there.
We toured Pula 2 weeks ago. Our guide was also named Nada. We really enjoyed Pula.
Oh wow – maybe it was the same guide! She was great!