EU Funds Aid Large Project to Revitalise Pula Fortification System

Lauren Simmonds

As Glas Istre/Milan Pavlovic writes on the 8th of March, 2020, there are plans afoot for the Pula fortification system and the Kastel Atrium, which houses the Historical and Maritime Museum of Istria, to be connected by elevator to the Austro-Hungarian Zerostrasse tunnel at the foot of the hill, and then to a station on the intermediate level consisting of underground rooms of the fortress.

With the recent signing of a grant agreement from European Union funds in the 2014-2020 financial period between the City of Pula and the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds, the implementation of the strategic project entitled: “The Pula Fortification System as a New Cultural and Tourist Product” has now begun.

It is a project that included the revitalisation of existing infrastructure and the renovation of the Kastel fortress, which includes specific plans for the Kastel Atrium and the aforementioned information.

Thanks to this intervention, the whole area of ​​Kastel will be further opened up for both tourists and locals, especially to persons with reduced mobility, for whom the plans will greatly facilitate access. The implementation of the project will revitalise the existing infrastructure, which will be put into the function of tourism in a way to enrich new facilities, and a new visitor centre will be opened. Among other activities involved in this project, the plan is to set up a historical exhibition with a complete view of the Pula fortification system in one place.

At the same time, with the help of modern multimedia technology, the rich military history of the Kastel Atrium will be revived and visibly presented in the authentic ambience of the premises and in the underground tunnels of Zerostrasse, which themselves formed part of the former defense system of the City of Pula. Namely, the project aims to increase the supply of educational and other facilities for the benefit of all residents of ​​Pula, but also of the wider surrounding area.

”With this contract, the City of Pula has been awarded co-financing of nine million kuna in grants from the European Regional Development Fund, while the total value of the project stands at just over 23.3 million kuna,” said Mayor Boris Miletic, adding that this was a significant project thanks to which the further valorisation of the the rich history of the Pula fortification system can be properly undertaken.

Miletic points out that this is a positive example of the sustainable management of material cultural heritage that Pula abounds with. For this reason, he adds, the valorisation and revitalisation of the heritage in the area, as well as leaning more towards tourism, are absolutely crucial when it comes to the ITU mechanism, as the instrument through which the funds for the realisation of this project have been secured.

The plan is for the project which involves the Kastel Atrium and much more to be completed by November 2022 and it is being implemented under the “Competitiveness and Cohesion 2014-2020” operational programme.

For the City of Pula, as the centre of a very urban area, the integrated territorial investment mechanism, which is in reality a new EU instrument, represents a strong development perspective and is an outstanding tool in the system of using EU funds. The powers that be within the EU have clearly recognised the importance of urban centres, and in this way, they’re enabling a more efficient and proactive way to withdraw EU funds/grants and strengthen the role of cities in general.

The ITU mechanism responds to the economic, environmental and social challenges affecting entire urban areas and seeks to address them through an integrated territory-based approach.

From an urban point of view, this is a good example of implementing European projects at the local level. In addition to the project related to the Kastel Atrium and the entire Pula fortification system, several other significant projects will be implemented through the ITU mechanism in the Pula area.

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