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Pula - Pola
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Photo: Duško Marušić


Pula: Archeologists Discovered a Marble Column That Weighs More Than Ten Tons


[Source: Večernji list, 28 January 2008]

PULA Flacius Street that runs between the Post Office and Uljanik is hiding ancient mosaics.  While working on the underground waste water canalization there have been some archeological discoveries which have been conducted for the last several months.  The archeologist discovered a real jewel at the depth of three feet below the street level and only a few steps to the entrance to Uljanik. In the mud was hiding a discarded marble column in length of about 23 feet and diameter of about three feet with weight of at least ten tons. It was cut in half. The head of the archeological discovery, Zeljko Ujcic said: “By deciding not to dismantle the remains of the previously discovered Austro-Hungarian hotel Central, the excavation was continued towards the south.  Then we discovered the marble column, which must have belonged to a grandiose anciant building. This column may also be connected with Iacobo Sansovino, a Venetian architect who was frequenting Pula in 1557 and was taking marble pieces from important building. This material was used in the building of extravagant Venetian buildings. He was collecting marble columns from the ancient theatre on Monte Zaro and also from the basilica of Santa Maria Formosa. There he was replacing marble columns with stucco ones, claims Ujcic, and the one found yesterday appears to have been rejected or forgotten at the time. This Venetian architect was also using this marble for the staircase of  Saint Mark’s Library. Part of Pula was also used to build the Dodges Palace.  “We will go to Venice and compare this marble column with those in Venetian’s buildings”, said Ujcic.

It is believed that even the canopy (baldachin) above the main altar in the basilica of Saint Mark in Venice was erected on the columns from Pula. In other words, it is believed that the alabaster columns are columns that were taken from the church of Santa Maria Formosa, claims Ujcic. Marble from Turkey was used to build the nearby basilica of St. Maria Formosa, which was built in the VI century and, according to the inscriptions, it was built by the master builders from Constantinople. Ujcic told us that the recently found column may also be from a Turkish quarry. The basilica of Santa Maria Formosa was a very opulent building, but in the XIII century it was neglected. It was in the middle of a swamp, and that is why people used to also call it the basilica of St. Mary od Trstike. In the XVI century it became a Venetian target. They have devastated it by taking all the marble and any valuable objects. The goal was to beautify Venice. Some experts such as Robert Matijasic, ex curator of the Archeological Museum, believe that in the Arena there was a lots of marble on the facade of at least two balconies. After Arena was no longer being used in the IV century when the gladiator’s games were stopped, parts of the amphitheatre were being used as building and ornamental material. However, there are no indications that this material went to Italy, but it was used in Istria.

Translated by Pino Golja

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Created: Monday, January 28, 2008; Last updated: Tuesday, December 06, 2011
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