Sacred Hearts

Located in the old section of town in Pula is the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary, which is in its shortened form also called the Church of the Sacred Hearts, or, the Holy Heart, after the nuns who had founded it.

The church, together with the appurtenant convent, was erected in 1908. It features distinctive elements of late Baroque classicism, and it was built based on a project began by Virgilio Volpi, and concluded by Domenico Malusa. It is 34.6 m long, 14.7 m wide and 15.3 m tall. According to plan, a 26 m high belfry should have been built as well, originally in the rear of the church, and subsequently, in accordance with the revised plan in front of it, which was never carried out.

The nuns left the church and convent at the end of World War II and the structure had since then never been in use. The Church of the Sacred Hearts was used by the Archaeological Museum of Istria as a depot from 1958. The roof of the church caved in as it was not possible to perform any restoration works on it, all of which was further aggravated when the fill under the apse began to sag, resulting in the separation and cracking of the apse due to poor construction techniques employed for its construction.

The Archeological Museum of Istria started an initiative to reconstruct the church in the late eighties of the 20th century, in order to establish the Museum Scientific Center. In the early nineties, the archaeological materials that were kept at the church were transferred to Fort Bourguignon, and a new roof was built. During 2007, works began on a project to renew the church that was according to the original plans supposed to become a medieval lapidarium, which was then abandoned in favor of a new idea, whereby the church would house the Holy Heart Museum Gallery.

The structure is designed as a multimedia venue that can host either museum or gallery type exhibitions, but which at the same time can serve for lectures, conferences, scientific gatherings, performances, concerts, films, festivals and the like. A special effort was made so that persons with disabilities can move freely everywhere around the building, which in turn resulted in the erection of a vertical platform for the disabled in the church, followed by a special toilet for the disabled, and a special ramp leading to the church, enabling thus the disabled to access the church. Galleries were added to the lateral aisles of the church, which are connected by a bridge. The apse was partitioned off by a large wall that can be used to project films and other visual presentations. The premises were likewise equipped with a heating and cooling system, enabling them to be used throughout the year. Also installed were lighting, alarm, surveillance and audio systems. The surrounding area has been arranged in a manner to facilitate the organization of various events.

The scheduled opening of this facility is planned for the middle of July 2011. It is further planned to give this Museum Gallery its readily recognizable brand, creating its visual identity, followed by a gradual conversion of the church into a venue used for the presentation of cultural events to tourists during the summer months, and to the inhabitants of Pula and indeed the entire Istrian Peninsula during the remainder of the year.

© Arheološki muzej Istre 2010. Proizvodnja Ulisys d.o.o. Bazirano na Typo3 CMS sustavu.