Pula and the Ruins

Saturday, July 12
Day Off

Technically this is a day off but so many us went to Pula together. It’s about an hour south or Porec. Roman ruins – ampitheatre, Temple of Augustus and Diana, Fortress.

The Amphitheater was breathtaking. You pull up to it and WHAM there it is….just built right into the hillside, not 100 yards from the docks. It’s the centerpoint for the city.

Amphitheater in Pula

Inside was even more impressive. We took the little tour and a couple was on the tour that had been to the ruins in Rome. I overheard them the entire time – this is so much better, this is so much better. I asked them why.

They said because the one in Rome is about gone. There is almost nothing left on the inside. It’s a little bigger than this one but this one is more complete and more stunning to look at.

I’ll walk you through some pictures.

Grant in Pula

I’m standing on the east side, across is the west. The east side was built into hillside where the common people entered and sat. The sun would beat down on this section in late afternoon when the important matches would take place.

On the west side – royalty and noble families would sit there. There was shade and often a breeze. (Gotta love using the technology.)

North entrance would be for gladiators and performers to get to the arena (floor of the amphitheater).

South end was where the lions, wild boars, dogs, or other animals were stored.

Trent here is on the south end.

Trent and the Lions

Christians were killed in this arena, normally held in cells right next to the animals they were going to be released to. This changed with Constantine ruling…because his wife and daughter became Christians.

The floor was covered with a fine sand to absorb quickly the blood and sweat. So that multiple matches could be held on the same day.

The slits above the windows were where awnings were put to create shade for the people. When it rained, canals were in the walls that diverted the water to these shades so that it sprinkled the water for cooling purposes.

Other runoff water would go down below the arena to water the animals or prisoners.

Underneath there is both olive and grape presses. Extra virgin olive oil is the most valuable olive oil because it’s the first press. The olive normally gets two more presses after that but the contents aren’t as valuable.

Pots were used to store olive oil and wine for the guests, royalty that showed up to the arena.

This is Merilee with an olive press. The next picture is of the wine press.

Olive press under amphitheater

Wine Press

The Amphitheater is still used for concerts, music festivals and film festivals today. They were setting up for a two-week long jazz festival.

Inside Amphitheater

This was the Temple of Augustus. Pretty much completely what it looked like in the day.

Temple of Augustus

No evening session today, instead I ate with my family. It’s bizarre to think that we’ve never lived anywhere remotely close to each other, that when we do get to see each other it’s a large family deal.

I imagine the time that we have physically spent with each other to be small, relatively little but it’s also amazing to me that the vulnerability level and authenticity level is so high. I think very little of that has to do with us being family. I think most of it has to do with us co-workers in the Kingdom.

I also met a man today who was kicked out of his country for evangelizing. He’s married, got about a bizzillion kids (okay, only 6) and the government forced them from their house to another country. They are in the region, meeting folks at the border doing training but trying to figure out – ‘now what?’

What amazes me about these people is not the courage to stare down a communist government, but their faith in the middle of the “what’s next” question. If there was a time for a letdown in the guard, a chance for the chink in the faith to get exposed – it’s here. Where it’s safe and God is seemingly silent. What’s next?

“We don’t know so we just keep helping wherever we are needed until we are clear.”

A place where bitterness and “why me” could take root but…it doesn’t. It’s humbling to watch and experience. I’ve got much yet to learn in my walk with Jesus.


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