Opcije pristupačnosti Pristupačnost


Supported by: The Republic of Croatia
Function: Publicly accessible central library institution for the Juraj Dobrila University of Pula.
Focus: Universal knowledge



  • Herkulov prolaz 1, 52100 Pula, Croatia


  • 00385 (0)52 213 888, 00385 (0)52 388 831

E-mail: skpu@unipu.hr
Web: https://skpu.unipu.hr


Opening hours

Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.; Saturday 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Summer time: 

  • Monday to Friday 7:30 a.m. – 15:30 p.m.; Saturday 7:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m

Equipment: photocopier and microfilm and microfiche readers
Foreign visitors: Citizens from foreign countries, upon presentation of their passports, may use library materials in the reading rooms only.


  • By automobile or bus take the road labelled “Triest – Koper – Pula”, with reference to “Ljubljana – Postojna – Buzet – Pazin - Pula”, or “Zagreb – Rijeka – Pazin – Pula”. By train take the route “Ljubljana – Divača – Pula”, or “Triest – Divača – Pula”, or “Zagreb – Rijeka” and then by the road labelled “Rijeka – Pazin – Pula”.
  • From the Pula central bus station walk about 15 minutes. From the railway station walk 15 minutes or take the bus to the city centre (bus stop “Giardini”), then walk 5 minutes. The nearest parking lot is located adjacent to the city park “Park grada Graza”, approximately 10 minutes walk from the library.
  • The Marine Library is located in the city centre, at the “Dom hrvatskih branitelja” (Home of the Croatian Defenders), Leharova 1, First floor. Parking is available near the building.

1. History

In 1949 the Scientific Library was founded and took possession of the holdings of the Provincial Library of Istria (asmall part of this library’s collection was taken away to Italy between 1943 and 1947). After 1949 purchased and donated books were mostly acquired in the Croatian language. As of 1951 the library obtained a mandatory copy of every document printed in Croatia. As of 1994, the library was incorporated into the University of Rijeka, and in 1995 its new name became the University Library of Pula.

The history of the entire library collection will be described by the history of the individual libraries that have fused to form the current University Library of Pula.

1.1. In 1930 the library holdings of the Provincial Library of Istria (see section 1.2.), the Community Library (see section 1.3.) and the Istrian Society for Archeology and Homeland History (see section 1.4.) were merged in Pula (Pola). The originator of this new institution was the Italian politican (a fascist delegate in the Italian parliament) Francesco Salata (1876-1944); the first director was the historian Camillo De Franceschi (1868-1953). The library holdings were increased through purchases, gifts and exchanges. In 1937 the library contained 41,096 volumes and had the characteristics of a general science library, with a distinct emphasis on historical science, especially that of Istria. The books were predominantly in Italian, a minor shave in Latin, and approximately 4,000 volumes were in German and other languages as part of the holdings of the Marine Casino Library (see section 1.5.). Only ten or so books were acquired in Croatian. The majority of rare books, which have been preserved until today, have also originiated from this library. In 1943, when it stopped functioning, the Marine Library contained approximately 18,000 book and journal titles. Between 1943 and 1947, a part of the holdings were taken away to Italy.

1.2. The Provincial Library of Istria, located in Poreč (Parenzo), was established in 1861 near the Provincial Council of Istria. It was established due to the donations of various Istrian families. Important distinct donations were also made by the Kandler family (manuscripts of the historian Pietro Kandler (1805-1872), and correspondence of Carlo Combi and Tommaso Luciani. In 1930, when this collection became part of the library in Pula, it contained 19,295 volumes of books and periodicals, mainly pertaining to historical and legal issues.

1.3. The Pula Community Library was established in Pula (Pola) in 1903 with gifts by families from Pula. In the beginning its holdings were predominantly fiction. Nevertheless, it was merged with the Archelogical Community Museum, until 1929, and soon it was enriched with archeological documents. It was a public library, yet it did not acquire books written in the Croatian language, so the Croatian citizens did not visit it (in 1907 they established a Croatian library, which the Italian fascists set to fire in 1921). When this library merged with the Provincial Library of Istria it contained 10,233 volumes.

1.4. The library of Istrian Society of Archelogy and Homeland History was created in 1884 in Poreč (Parenzo), and mostly contained historical materials. When it joined the Provincial Library of Istria it contained 3,277 volumes, predominantly scientific journals which had been obtained through an exchange of the Istrian Society for Archelogy and Homeland History journal with others.

1.5. Around 1930 the library holdings included 4,269 volumes of books from the former library of the Austro-Hungarian officers’ Marine-Casino Library. The Marine Library was established in Pula in 1870 and was accessible exclusively to the officers and civilians employed in the Imperial and Royal Navy (K. u. k. Marine) and members of their families. The library contained mainly scientific and professional books, predominantly in German, and a minority in other languages (French, English, Italian and several books preserved in Hungarian, Czech, Polish and Croatian). At the time of the fall of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy in 1918 the library contained approximately 25,000 volumes. Nowdays, 3,000 books have been preserved from this library.

1.6. http://www.escape.hr/skpu/img/leer.gifMarine Library, renamed at the end of the 19th century to the Imperial and Royal Marine Library, was established in 1802 in Venice under the supreme command of the Austrian war navy. Its foundation was prompted by Duke Karl (Erzherzog Karl) (1771-1847), Minister of War and the Navy, who donated the basic collection of 20 volumes of scientific volumes. Other officers joined the effort of financing the library. This was accomplished by donating a part of their salaries for many years. Later the state (the Habsburg Monarchy) became responsible for the library’s funding. From the beginning it was a scholarly and professional library responsible meant to fulfil the navy’s requirements of a central collection of naval books and periodicals. In the war against France, in 1805, Austria lost Venice and with it the library (which at that time contained approximately 700 volumes), but when Venice returned to the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in 1814 part of the library holdings were found. The library was handed over to the Marine College, which was later named the Marine Cadets’ College. Due to the war for the unification of Italy in 1848 the college was transferred to Trieste, where in 1851 it was transformed into the Marine Academy. In 1850, the collection was moved from Venice to Trieste, probably in its entirety. During this time the main objective of the central library of the Austrian war navy was to gradually collect materials in the fields of naval science, applied naval science and general knowledge. In 1854 the newly formed Marine Astronomical Observatory in Trieste took over part of the MarineAcademy collection. In 1866, the collection was moved from Trieste to Pula (Pola) and in 1869 it was included with the newly formed Hydrological Institute, as a separate department. In 1892 the collection was moved to the Marine-Technical Committee building (established in 1885), and in 1900 it became a part of this organization. At that time a noticeable increase was observed in the acquisition of materials in the fields of technological science. In 1904 the holdings numbered 14,944 items contained in 43,574 volumes, and at the end of 1918, when it ceased functioning, the library had 18,472 book and periodical titles. After the fall of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, at the end of 1918, Pula was occupied by the Italian army which took possession of the library. During this time a small part of the collection was taken to Italy.

The Marine Library was integrated to the Library of the Military Naval Command in Pula. After the capitulation of Italy in 1943, Pula was occupied by the German army which in 1944 carried away by train the entire marine library collection to the Eisgrub and Feldsberg Castles (now Czech Republic). From there it was moved to the War Archives in Vienna between 1949 and 1950. In 1975, the biggest part of the preserved collection (around 20,000 volumes) was returned to Pula as a gift of the Republic of Austria.

It was given to the University Library in Pula. A smaller part of the holdings (approximately 11,000 volumes), together with the inventory book, remained in the Austrian State Archives Library in Vienna. In 1992, the Marine Library was registered as a cultural monument of the Republic of Croatia. In 1996, this collection – as a special collection of the University Library in Pula – was moved to the Home of the Croatian Defenders (formerly the austrian Marine-Casino). http://www.escape.hr/skpu/img/leer.gif

2. Description of library materials

The library holdings consist of the old holdings of the Pula Marine Library and the holdings of the Provincial Library of Istria, the new holdings (which were developed from 1949 to the present day) and special collections. Since no general catalog exists for the combined collections, in sequence – after a short summary of the entire holdings of the library – each part will be mentioned under its own heading.

Chronological and linguistic reviews:
2.1. The entire library materials consist of approximately 371,000 volumes of books and about 120,000 periodical volumes (of which 3,150 volumes are newspapers). In the new collection there are about 110,000 monographic volumes. Altogether the library has about 50.000 monographic volumes in Italian and about 14,000 materials in German (the largest part of which is contained in the Marine Library holdings). In 1995, the German government donated about 500 new books (mainly lexicons and scientific works) published in German.

2.2. Incunabula and books from the 16th to the 19th century are mainly located in the special collections and the Marine Library. The library has 4 incunabula, 155 books from the 16th century, 49 books from the 17th century and about 300 volumes from the 18th century.

Library holdings:

2.3. Marine Library contains 6,757 titles in 20,731 volumes (monographs number 6,392 titles in 13,716 volumes; and journals, annuals and newspapers number 365 titles in 6,655 volumes). These numbers refer exclusively to scientific and professional publications from scientific societies and institutions from almost the entire world (mostly from Europe, but also from the United States, Russia, Japan and South America) which were published prior to 1918. The contents of these nautical and science publications include: pure mathematics, technology, military science and geography; philosophical sciences (particularly history and linguistics). About 60% of the library holdings are in German, 15% in French, 15% in English, 7% in Italian, 0.7% in Latin, and about 2.3% in other languages (such as Spanish, Swedish, Danish, Portuguese, Hungarian, Russian and others). The oldest book printed in English is Arithmetica universalis (Cambridge, 1707) by Sir Isaac Newton. There is also a good representation of encyclopedias, two published in English which are singled out are: The Penny Cyclopedia (London, 1833 – 1943, 27 volumes) and Encyclopedia Britannica (London, 1875 – 1903, 34 volumes). Among numerous English language periodicals we stress Scientific American (New York, 1870-, 90 volumes). Among English language dictionaries the oldest worth emphasizing are: A Vocabulary of Sea Phrases and Terms of Art used in Seamanship and Naval Architecture (London, 1799); A Dictonary of the Chinese Language (London, 1865) by R. Morrison; and English – Eskimo and Eskimo – English Vocabularies (Washington, 1890) by R. Wells and J. Kelly. Of special interest to Croatia is The Fisheries of the Adriatic and the Fish thereof (London, 1883) by G. L. Faber.
The Austro-Hungarian Navy in Pula / Pola (which was the main war harbour) until 1918 published about 100 titles (about 200 volumes) of monographs and periodicals in the German language. Prominent editions are Veroffentichungen des hydrographischen Amtes der k.u.k. Kreigs-Marine zu Pola (Edition of the Hydrographical Institute of the Imperial and Royal War Navy in Pula) (1897-1915, 28 volumes) and 6 volumes of the edition Die Reisen S.M. Schiffe (Voyages of the S.M. Vessel). The monthly editions of the periodicals published in Pula and worth mentioning are: Mitteilungen aus dem Gebiete des Seewesens (News about the Maritime Science)(1873-1914, 42 volumes), Jahrbuch der meteorologischen und erdmagnetischen Beobachtungen (Annual of Meteorological and Earthmagnetical Observations) (1897-1915), and Almanach fur die k.u.k. Kreigs-Marine (Almanac of the Imperial and Royal War Navy; 1876-1917).

2.4. The Provincial Library of Istria (Biblioteca Provinciale dell`Istria) contains about 30,000 volumes of books and journals. Approximately 95% of the publications are in Italian. The volumes mostly represent philosophical sciences (especially history and politics), works within the field of management, law, and fiction. About one hundred volumes of fiction, written in English (Shakespeare, Byron, etc.), have been removed from the Marine Library.

2.5. The new materials (added to the library after 1949): of a total of 100,000 monographic volumes, approximately 80% are in Croatian, 8% in Italian, 6% in English, and 2% (2,000 volumes) in German. Around 1.3% of the books are from the 19th century, the remainder published in the 20th century.

2.6. Periodicals number around 115,000 volumes of journals and 3150 volumes (annual files) of newspapers.

Special Collections

The Old and Rare Book and Manuscript Collection contains about 100 volumes of books (incunabula and books from the 16th and 17th century, in other words Croatica until 1850), manuscripts and correspondence of significant Istrians: Pietro Kandler, Carlo de Franceschi, Pietro Stancovich and Tommaso Luciani. Books were mainly published in Italy, in Latin and Italian, and a minority in German, Swiss and French. The largest part of the collection is derived from the Provincial Library of Istria. There are 4 incunabula printed in Venice (3 in Latin and 1 in Greek). There are 55 volumes of books from the 16th century. The oldest book is The Bible (Venice, 1485).

Regional collection “Histrica” contains items about Istria, Istrian authors and items published in Istria. In the 1950-ies this collection was started from materials extracted from the Provincial Library of Istria holdings. It has about 15,000 monographic volumes, 2,200 journal volumes and 384 newspaper titles. About 80% of the holdings are publications in the field of philosophical sciences, especially historical materials (about 35% of the holdings). Publications printed prior to 1945 were mainly in Italian (because from 1918 until 1943 Istria was a part of Italy), a minority of materials are in German and Croatian, with the majority of materials published after 1945 (when Istria became a part of Croatia) in the Croatian language. Worth mentioning are 27 titles (in 34 volumes) of the so called Flacijana – works by Matija Vlačić Ilirik (Mathias Flacius Illyrius, 1520-1575), who was born in Labin Istria, and worked in Germany as a reformer:

Musical collection contains about 2400 audio recordings, 700 musical scores, and an autographed copy of the opera "Istrian weddings" composed by the Italian composer Antonio Smareglia (born 1854 in Pula). A listening room has also been established.

Graphical collection contains 541 graphical maps, old postcards, plaques and other items. About 290 items are in German, of which 100 were published in the 19th century. There are around 200 old postcards from Pula and its surroundings. About 70 of these old postcards date from the 19th century.

3. Digitised Historical Newspapers from Istria

4. Catalogues

Catalogue of new materials that were added to the library after 1949:

The alphabetical, monographic catalogue is arranged by author; the monographic classification catalogue is arranged by Universal Decimal Classification (UDC). There are also alphabetic and UDC classification catalogues for the periodicals; a subject catalogue; and, an alphabetical author catalogue and classification and subject catalogues for the regional collection “Histrica” (in card format). The computer catalogue was created in 1989 and covers the new holdings (from 1983), and the oldest part of the collection (16th and 17th century works). There are approximately 70,000 title records in the local computer database, which should soon be available on Internet.

Historical catalogue:

The old holdings (Provincial Library of Istria - Biblioteca Provinciale dell`Istria):

Author and classification – subject catalogue in card format:

Printed catalogue:
Katalog der k. u. k. Marine-Bibliothek. (Catalogue of the Library of Austro-Hungarian Navy) 2 edition, 3 volumes (1 author volume and 2 classification and subject volumes). Pula 1905 (Addendum, 1908-1914; 4 small volumes.)
(on Internet:

5. Sources and account of the library’s history

Archival materials
Archival materials about the history of the Marine Library are kept in the War Archives in Vienna, Marine Archives. Part of the archival material about the history of the Provincial Library of Istria and archival materials about the library from 1949 to date are kept in the University Library in Pula.

Account of the library’s history

  • Dobrić, Bruno. Biblioteca provinciale dell’Istria u Puli (The Provincial Library of Istria), Pula 1988 (manuscript)
  • Lukin, Roman. Mornarička knjižnica (K. u. k. Marine Bibliothek), Pula, 1986.
  • Wagner, Walter. Zur Geschichte der k. u. k. Marinebibliothek. In: Mitteilungen des Österreichisches Staatsarchivs 15 (1962), S. 336-389.
  • Wagner, Walter & Dobrić, Bruno. Mornarička knjižnica – K. u. k. Marine-Bibliothek. Pula: Sveučilišna knjižnica, 1997 (about the central austro-hungarian “Naval Library” – written in Croatian and German language).
  • Dobrić, Bruno, Sveučilišna knjižnica [Universitätsbibliothek]. In: Handbuch deutscher historischer Buchbestände in Europa, Bd. 9: Kroatien, Slowenien, Italien, Hildesheim - Zurich - New York 2001., S. 115-119.

September 2003.
Bruno Dobrić, PhD