The Home of the Croatian Homeland War Veterans
The marine casino, also known as the Home of the Croatian Homeland War Veterans, was built in 1872 during the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. It was the architectural jewel of Pula. Designed by architect Friedrich Adam from Munich, it soon became the spot for fashionable gatherings of the Pula elite of the time and visited by opera composer Franz Lehar, Emperor Franz Joseph I, Charles I of Austria or German Emperor Wilhelm III. Evening entertainment and thematic lectures made the marine casino too small, so it was knocked down in 1910.
The new building, even more glamorous than the previous one, was designed by Viennese architect Ludwig Baumann and erected as early as 1913 on the surface of 15,000 meters. The new building had the so-called Winter Garden, a beautiful main corridor leading to the concert and ball halls, the terrace, the garden and the surrounding park. The winter park was decorated by double fluted Doric columns leaning against the glass ceiling, while the main hall had a stage and a three-sided balcony.
Architecturally, the main facade is beautifully divided, a three-storey structure with a clearly separated ground floor, emphasized by rustically dressed stone, while the remaining two storeys were simple, smooth surfaces. First two storeys have semi-circular windows, while the ones on the last floor are rectangular. The central part of the facade is emphasized by an oriel, and the covered entrance on the ground floor by two rectangular and two round columns, used as a first floor balcony. Two semi-columns stretch from the balcony to the roof. Apart from the central one, the lateral parts are also emphasized by a mild wreath and a differently grouped openings on the first floor, double-lancet windows with semi-circular finishes. Rectangular triple-lancet windows embellish the second floor.
After the WW1, the casino first became the seat of the Italian administration, and then the Home of the Yugoslav People's Army when it was used as a cinema showing re-runs. Today, it is the Home of the Croatian Homeland War Veterans containing the marine library, the bar, the restaurant, and the Book Fair in Istria each December.