This attraction of Pula cannot be called a local history museum.
Firstly, it is a regional institution, and it unfolds before the eyes of tourists not only the history of the city, but of the entire Istrian peninsula.
Secondly, its collections cover a wide layer of time: the items exhibited here are silent witnesses of the cave life of primitive people, the heyday of Antiquity and the collapse of the Roman Empire, the invasion of barbarians, the formation and strengthening of Christian religion, the Inquisition fires of the Middle Ages and the creative rise of the Renaissance.
The museum’s collections continue to be enriched by archaeological excavations on the territory of Istria.
A little history
The founder of the museum can be considered the French marshal Marmont who in 1802 began to investigate the ruins of Pula forum and to collect archaeological material.
His collection of monuments laid the foundation of the City Museum which was opened exactly 100 years later. Later, it considerably enlarged its funds by joining the State Collection of Stonework Monuments and later the Poreč Regional Museum. Poreč.
In 1925, the Istrian Archaeological Museum was formed. It was a regional institution and the headquarters of the Society of Archaeology and National History of Istria.
After the war part of the collections was taken to Italy, and it was possible to return the exhibits only in 1960s thanks to the persistence of museum workers.
What to see
The building of the Istrian Museum of Archaeology itself is noteworthy: a former Austrian gymnasium (1890) of 3,600 square meters was adapted for the exhibition spaces. Most of the collections are devoted to objects found in archaeological investigations of prehistoric caves, necropolises, ancient cities, as well as early Christian and Byzantine settlements.
The rich collection of exhibits from different epochs allows tracing the history of the peninsula’s development – from Paleolithic to Renaissance times.
The museum runs the famous amphitheater, the Temple of Augustus, and the Church of the Sacred Heart in Pula, as well as the Franciscan monastery in Nesactium.
Glassware, ceramics, metalware, paintings, sculptures, jewelry, and everyday objects are distributed in the halls according to their dating. The first floor and corridors are occupied by the lapidarium (exposition of ancient inscriptions on stone slabs), exhibits from the prehistoric period are also presented here. On the second floor are collections devoted to ancient and antique history. Exhibitions of late Antiquity and the Middle Ages are on the third floor. There is a store in the museum, where you can buy souvenirs, reproductions, museum magazines, and brochures.
Address: Pula, Carrarina ul., 52100. Web site.
Opening hours: October-April from 9:00 to 15:00, April-September from 9:00 to 20:00. At weekends and on public holidays from 10:00 to 15:00. Currently, the main building of the museum is closed for restoration.