Third attempt: The Pula Arena is once again a candidate for the UNESCO World Heritage List

The mayor of Pula, Filip Zoričić, confirmed the candidacy.


6. September 2023.

The Arena was nominated for the first time in 1996 and ICOMOS (UNSCO's expert advisory body) then stated that the amphitheater is an exceptional and well-preserved example of a large Roman public building and that the overall level of authenticity is undeniable, that is, despite interventions in the 19th century. and the beginning of the 20th century, which were not carried out in accordance with today's conservation principles, the largest part of the entire structure of the original Roman construction. 

ICOMOS further asserted the high level of preservation and integrity of the Arena, but refrained from a final assessment and recommended that the decision on inclusion in the World Heritage List be postponed until a comparative study of Roman amphitheaters is completed.

The candidacy was therefore repeated in 1999 under the name 'Antička Pula with amphitheater'. This time, it included, in addition to the amphitheater, other parts of Pula's ancient heritage - the Temple of Augustus, the Sergius Arch, the Double Gate, the Small Roman Theater and early Christian churches from the 4th and 5th centuries.

In the meantime, ICOMOS has prepared a comparative study of several amphitheaters and theaters already inscribed on the World Heritage List and assessed that the Pula amphitheater does not meet the criteria of exceptional universal value. Therefore, he suggested that the nominated cultural property should not be included in the list. 

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Faced with such a recommendation by ICOMOS, which greatly influences the final decision of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, the Republic of Croatia withdrew its candidacy, thereby preserving the possibility of a later attempt to apply for the same cultural asset, which would not have been possible had the candidacy not been withdrawn and negative decisions of the Board.

Mayor of Pula Filip Zoričić confirmed for Jutarnji list as the Pula amphitheater is running for candidacy for the third time. Zoričić informed the relevant minister of culture, Nina Obuljen Koržinek, about the decision. 

The Pula Arena is the only one of five in the world that is not under the protection of the UN organization. Getting on the UNESCO list brings worldwide recognition, but potentially also greater tourist traffic. Since 1979, Croatia has been the first to be included in the UNESCO List Croatian cultural property to date, registered a total of 31 immovable and intangible cultural assets.

Maybe it will be "third time lucky" after two applications from the nineties did not go through because - either it was not the right time then, or the applications were not done with sufficient quality.

Photo: hrturism


6. September 2023.