Much of the Collection of Postcards of the Archaeological Museum of Istria is comprised of postcards featuring Pula, with a smaller number depicting other places in Istria. Of particular interest and usefulness are postcards with motifs drawing on the cultural and historical heritage of the city and its nearby environs (Nesactium, Brijuni).
Most types of postcards are represented: greeting postal cards, photographic postal cards, illustrated postal cards and postcards. They cover the period from the late nineteenth century to the present day. This collection of documents currently numbers just under two thousand items, mostly procured through purchases and donations made over the past few decades. It is a valuable documentary source for many researchers.

With the Pula Landmarks on Greeting Postal Cards exhibition the museum is showcasing highly prized old “greetings from” postal cards in our holdings. Our collection includes more than fifty such items and for this exhibition we are showcasing eight greeting postal cards featuring images of Pula that we feel are representative, attractive and fascinating by their content. This showing also features the oldest such item in our holdings, dated to around the year 1892 (AMI-R-1712, Cat. no. 1), sent through the post on the 17th of April 1892.
Gruss aus Pola / Un saluto da Pola (German and Italian respectively, both meaning “greetings from Pula”) and other versions of this line are typical greetings on these cards, accompanied by a mosaic of Pula motifs and found on the front side of these late nineteenth and early twentieth century postal cards. The cordial greetings on these items and the imagery from our city take us back to its not-so-distant past, through which we invite you to journey with us.





Greeting postal cards in the Archaeological Museum of Istria Collection of Postcards.





Greeting Postal Cards

Postal cards (an open letter, without envelope, known as Correspondenz-Karte) were introduced into the postal service by the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy on the 1st of October 1869 and very quickly became an exceedingly popular means of postal communication. Only the address of the recipient was filled in on the front side of the card, while the back of the card was reserved for the sender’s message. With the development of photographic and printing techniques came the concept of the printed postcard, whereby a written message would be accompanied by an image of the region from which a postcard was sent.

Postcards are, in the broader sense, all postal cards with an illustration on the front side.




The backs of greeting postal cards (Cat. 1–8).





When speaking of greeting postal cards (postal cards with a printed salutation) we are referring to postcards that have an illustration on the front with a greeting (Gruss aus / Un saluto da / Pozdrav iz, meaning “greetings from”) and an area for the sender’s message, while the back of the card is reserved for the recipient’s (“long form”) address. They were used in the postal service up to the end of 1904.
These cards usually bore bilingual or trilingual titles on the back reading Correspondenz-Karte / Cartolina di corrispondenza / Dopisnica (“Postal card”). As is the case with the examples in our holdings there are often warnings (Nur für die Adresse / Soltanto per l’indirizzo) indicating a field “reserved for the [recipient’s] address”.
Along with a number of motifs of the city, the fronts of these cards also include the following elements: decorative details (vegetal, geometric and other), a printed text with a greeting, and a field for the hand-written sender’s message. Usually there is smaller lettering detailing more precise information about the depicted image(s).

The examples we have selected were published by renowned European distributors and publishers, including established local distributer F. W. Schrinner. They are printed using the very high quality and costly lithographic process, mostly in multiple colours (chromolithography), and later using the collotype process. The usual dimensions of the cards are about 9 by 14 cm.





Two Pula postcards released by prolific Pula-based distributors Guido Costalunga and Antonio Bonetti around the year 1908 (AMI-R-1664 and AMI-R-1633). Although greetings are printed on the front of the card, we do not consider these to be greeting postal cards due to the divided back face, which includes a field for the recipient’s address and a field for the sender’s message.





Pula – The City and its Landmarks on Greeting Postal Cards


Awareness of Pula’s rich history and significant architectural legacy spread throughout the world with the first postcard featuring the city (1891). As mass tourism saw its emergence and development this translated into the successful promotion of our cultural heritage. Most of the postal cards we have selected for this showing were sent to Vienna, followed by Budapest (Hungary), Černožice (Czechia) and Brașov (Romania).

In eighty-five percent of cases postcards with images of urban settlements and geographic locations are rectangular and have a horizontal orientation. Panoramic images and Pula landmarks on greeting postal cards are equally represented in vertical and horizontalorientation and are, as a rule, geometrically bordered with rectangles, circles, ovals and rhomboids. The motifs and images are accentuated with decorative elements: floral, zoomorphic and others, including flags, ships, anchors, armour, crests and the like. The diversity of decorative elements and the variety with which the visual and verbal elements are shaped both contribute to the appeal of greeting postal cards.

Let’s wander through Pula as it was over a century ago when it served as the chief naval port of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. Through the lenses of local and foreign photographers we see imposing squares, streets, buildings and nascent city districts. Mainstay motifs are panoramic shots of the city with its commercial and naval harbours. Along with views of the city from the heights of Monte Ghiro and Monte Zaro we see the most visited monuments of its culture and history, the most frequent of which are those from its Roman and Austro-Hungarian monarchy periods.

The outer ring and interior of the magnificent Roman Arena, Pula’s most monumental landmark, is depicted from several aspects. This amphitheatre and its immediate surroundings are also shown as viewed from the sea. To its west and up to the waterfront lies one of Pula’s finest parks, the spacious Valeria Park which opened in 1894. To the left and right of the park were the gun carriage storehouse and the Hotel Elisabeth. In 1933, the subterranean rooms under the Arena’s fighting field were covered, and the spectator seating area was built to the east side.

The appearance of the Roman Forum, the central city square, differed significantly from its present form. The municipal palace to the north side of the square acquired a new, neoclassical, bell tower with clock in the late nineteenth century, which was removed during its renovation from 1907 to 1909.

The view from the square of the Temple of Augustus was blocked by a trio of three-storey buildings erected in 1870/71. They also loomed over the municipal palace until their demolition in 1919/20. The view, consequently, usually opens on the south face of the temple, i.e. its portico, which was reconstructed in the years that followed its bombardment on the 3rd of March 1945.
In the mid-nineteenth century iron fences were erected around all of the most treasured Roman period architectural heritage landmarks in Pula. Stone monuments were kept within the fenced area around the temple up to 1919, when the fence was removed.

The Café Grande, one of the three oldest cafés in the city, opened its doors on the ground floor of the building facing the municipal palace in 1882.
Gas lighting was introduced in the late nineteenth century to light Pula’s streets and squares. Up to 1904, when an electrical grid was introduced, part of the municipal equipment provided on the Forum included monumental gaslit fixtures.

The area that includes the Piazza Foro and Porta Aurea (Portarata), with the Arch of the Sergii prominent in its western end, and which extends into the newly developed Giardini promenade, emerged as the aesthetic highlight of the city. The west and east faces of the monument are equally frequent in the images, with views from the commercial and retail-focused Ulica Sergijevaca street and from the square.
The demolition of remnants of the Porta Aurea (1826) and walls (1857) on this square left the Arch of the Sergii standing alone with its base buried. 1889 saw the excavation of the base of the edifice and the surrounding Roman period paving. The arch and a section of the Roman period road were fenced off and excavated at the time and the height of the fencing installed a year earlier was raised. The walking surface of the square was lowered in the course of the 1920s to its original elevation following the base of the arch.
An open-air market was active on the Giardini site from 1889 through to the construction of a central marketplace in 1903. The Giardini site was then thoroughly revamped, including the planting of four rows of European nettle trees along the entire plateau (1904).

The arches of the Double Gate (Porta Gemina) were closed with lavish new iron gates, installed in 1892. The remains of the city walls stretching out from the left side of this monument were partially reconstructed between the two world wars.

Many features and landmark monuments erected in the parks during the administration of the dual monarchy of Austria and Hungary were taken from Pula during the period of the rule of the Kingdom of Italy. Among these is a monument celebrating vice admiral Wilhelm von Tegetthoff—erected on Monte Zaro in 1877, which is now located in the Austrian city of Graz.
On postcards issued after 1904 we see a monument formally unveiled on the 30th of October 1904 in Valeria Park celebrating the Austrian empress Elisabeth. Also featured in these images were prominent privately owned buildings that are no longer standing, such as the two-storey Hotel Central on Flaciusova ulica (“Flacius Street”) and the three-storey neo-Renaissance palace of the archduke Charles Stephen (1888) near the navy officer’s club (German: Marine Kasino), and the now defunct tram on the streets of Pula (1904 – 1934).













The postal cards presented in the catalogue are given in chronological order, each with basic data on the author (photographer, distributor, publisher, printer), the printing technique and material, dimensions, place and time of origin, method and year of procurement, the inventory code, and data on when it was sent through the post.





Lesk und Schwidernoch
Vienna, circa 1892
chromolithography; paper
9.2 x 14 cm
purchase, 2019
Postal use 17 Apr. 1892





Schneider und Lux
Vienna, circa 1893
chromolithography; paper
9 x 14.3 cm
purchase, 2011
Postal use 27 May 1895





Gruss aus POLA / Un saluto da POLA
Louis Glaser; R. Karlmann
Leipzig; Vienna, circa 1895
chromolithography; paper
9.1 x 14 cm
purchase, 2012
Postal use 9 Nov. 1895





Gruss aus Pola, d.
H. Noback
Eisenach, circa 1897
lithography; paper
9.6 x 14.3 cm
purchase, 2013
Postal use 2 Jun. 1897





Leopold R. Hofbauer
Vienna, circa 1897
chromolithography; paper
9.1 x 14.1 cm
purchase, 2015
Postal use 14 Jun. 1897





Leopold R. Hofbauer
Vienna, circa 1897
chromolithography; paper
9 x 14 cm
purchase, 2017
Postal use 12 Jun. 1901





F. W. Schrinner
Pula, circa 1900
chromolithography; paper
9.2 x 14 cm
purchase, 2013
Postal use 2 May 1900





Un saluto da Pola
Stengel & Co.
Dresden, circa 1901
collotype; paper
9.2 x 14.2 cm
purchase, 2013
Postal use 3 Aug. 1901






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Pula Landmarks on Greeting Postal Cards

Carrarina 4, Pula
Window to the Past
2. 10. 2019. – 3. 12. 2019.

Exhibition and text author:
Katarina Zenzerović

 Organizer and publisher: Archaeological Museum of Istria

 For the organizer and publisher:
Darko Komšo

 Editorial Board:
Darko Komšo, Adriana Gri Štorga, Katarina Zenzerović

Specialist collaborator:
Gordana Milaković

Set up & graphic design:
Vjeran Juhas

Tanja Draškić Savić

 Digitalisation by:
Irena Buršić, Davorka Žufić Lujić

Exhibition coordinator:
Monika Petrović

 Translation in Italian:
Elis Barbalich-Geromella

 English translation:
Neven Ferenčić

Irena Buršić, Adriana Gri Štorga,
Milena Špigić, Katarina Zenzerović

 Print: MPS Pula

 Print run: 500

 Pula, 2019.

Typo3 site by Ulisys d.o.o. , 2010.