Great things to do in Pula...
Run by photographer Hassan Abdelghani, Makina is one of Croatia’s top spaces for photography shows, with a year-round calendar of exhibitions. Big names frequently feature in the summer season (works by film director Ken Russell were shown in 2010, portraits by Nick Wall in 2011), and on opening nights Makina becomes a meeting point for Istria’s cultural cream.
Many local Illyrian and Roman finds are on display here, a three-storey museum with English-language documentation. You’ll find jewellery, coins and weapons from Roman and medieval times, ceramics and fossils from pre-history, mosaics and sarcophagi.
Built for the Jesuits in 1908 but used as a warehouse after World War II, the Church of the Sacred Heart was renovated in 2010-11 to become one of Croatia’s most spectacular and prestigious exhibition spaces for high-profile temporary shows. Now run by the Istrian Archeology Museum, the stunning light-filled interior plays host to a rich menu of special-interest history exhibitions, contemporary art installations and other cultural events.
Very much an embryonic institution, the MSUI doesn’t yet have a permanent collection on display but it does mount superb exhibitions by current artists in the cavernous, crumbling halls of an old printing house, mid-way between the amphitheatre and the Old Town. Be sure to ask about the bizarre, cocoon-like sellotape installation on the building’s top floor, designed by Zagreb-based Numen/For Use in September 2010 and left in situ – it’s not always open to visitors but can be viewed on request.