KOPER: A CLOSER LOOK

Koper
The seaside city of Koper

Developed on a rocky island, Koper is the oldest town in Slovenia. Out of the three Slovenian coastal cities (Koper, Izola and Piran), Koper has experienced the most numerous layout modifications. The reasons for that also need to be sought in the changes of various reigns and states, all of which marked the city with their specific traits and names.

During Roman times Koper was called Capris; in the era of the pope Gregory I (599) it became known as Insula Capraria ("goat island"); under the Byzantine Empire (between the mid-6th and 8th centuries) the city took on the name Iustinopolis; the Aquileia Patriarchs renamed the city Caput Histriae (‘head of Istria'), which the Venetians then rendered into its Italian form, Capodistria, and the Slovenians then gave the city its equivalent Slovenian name, Koper.

The longest reign over the city was that of the Venetian Republic (1279-1797), when Koper experienced economic (trade, salt production) and cultural prosperity (painting, music). The Venetian period is still echoed by the city architecture; despite numerous modern interventions, it has preserved its medieval character, with the city of Koper being a member of the European Association of Medieval Cities. In the Middle Ages, Koper was an island surrounded by walls and connected with the mainland with a wood bridge in the direction of Škocjan. It was protected by a mighty fortress - Lion Castle, and surrounded by vast saltpans. Koper's importance began to diminish in the 18th century, when Trieste was proclaimed a free port, and ultimately ended with the downfall of the Venetian Republic.

In the period from the 19th century to World War I (i.e. from the Napoleonic Empire 1806-1813 to the Hapsburg Monarchy 1813-1918), Koper experienced numerous changes in economic and social development. This period was marked by the reduction of the saltpans, which were entirely abandoned in 1912, and the changing of the layout of the city, which saw the city to begin to lose its island character. In 1825, a second road connection with the mainland was constructed (Semedela Road), followed by the coastal road in the mid-19th century, a sea connection with Trieste-Poreč and the railway connection Trieste-Poreč in 1902.

Under the Italian Empire, Koper entirely lost its island character by means of the draining of the deserted saltpans. 

The period following World War II brought about further changes. Until the final determination of the border with Italy through the signing of the London Memorandum in 1954, when it officially became part of former Yugoslavia, Koper was part of Zone B administered by the Yugoslav national Army, first belonging to the Julian March and from September 1947 to the neutral state called the Free Trieste Territory (FTT). As part of Yugoslavia, Koper experienced profound changes in its national structure. This also brought about new architectural interventions both in the city centre and its surroundings, especially in terms of mass development with the construction of the port. 

Today, Koper is both a commercial and tourist city, continuing to develop its offerings in terms of seaside resorts, nautical tourism, sports and shopping. It has also become a University City.

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RECOMMENDED SIGHTSEEING

 Praetor's Palace

Praetor's Palace closes off the south edge of central Koper Square. A storey palace with an exterior staircase and two elevated tower-like wings on the east and west, Praetor's Palace dominates the side of the square. It is the most representational secular building in the city. The building was constructed on the location of two older houses from the middle of the 13th century. In the second half of the 13th century, the buildings were connected by a loggia and were later rebuilt several times and finalised as a building with characteristics of Venetian Gothic and all posterior re-makings. With its late Gothic Renaissance facade and different inner areas, it is amongst the top secular palaces from the 13th century in Slovenia.

According to written sources, the locals were engaged with salt production as early as in 1182. The need for storing the salt produced also led to the construction of the St. Marc salt warehouse, today called the Taverna after a later function of the building. Adjacent to the building were several inns, where fishermen and owners of fishing boats used to gather. After the abandonment of the saltpans in 1912, the building was refurbished and served as a fish market, shop, warehouse and inn. Today, the Taverna is a multi-purpose space used for various events.

The Loggia building (Loža) was constructed in the 15th century, with its present appearance dating from the 17th century. It was used as a debate club for all the townsmen, with their discussions considered by the city council as well. It sports numerous heraldic decorations and a terracotta plastic of Madonna with Child in a corner niche, built in the memory of the devastating plague of 1554. Since the middle of the 19th century, it has also had a café, where you can enjoy a cup of coffee and the view of one of the most beautiful city squares of the former Venetian territory.

Nearby:

Hrastovlje

The Istrian village of Hrastovlje is world-famous for its Church of the Holy Trinity from the 13th century. The entire church is painted with frescoes by Janez from Castua, dating back to 1490 and also containing some inscriptions in the Glagolitic alphabet. The arch of the main apse depicts the Holy Trinity. The most famous fresco is the Dance of Death or Dance macabre; the rest are motives from the Old Testament. The church is surrounded by walls remaining from the 16th century, as well as two defence towers. The square stronghold walls served as a defence camp against the Turks. The Hrastovlje church with its defence camp is one of the most high-quality cultural and historical sites in Slovenia. The architecture of the village itself is quite interesting as well. Hrastovlje with its surroundings is also a popular starting point for cyclists, hikers and riders.

Socerb

Koper
Koper is one of Slovenia's few seaside towns

The most famous sight of Socerb is Strmec Castle. It is perched on the edge of a 300m Karst wall and offers a wonderful view of the Koper and Trieste Gulfs. Due to its location, Socerb was an important stronghold already in the Illyrian times, modified into a fortress in the Roman period. The beginnings of the castle go back to the 13th century. Due to its important strategic location, the castle changed owners several times and was badly damaged by fire in 1780. Previously accessible only via drawbridges and a hallway carved into rock, the castle of today can also be comfortably reached by car. The castle has a restaurant and offers to organise weddings on its terrace. Located nearby is the cave Sveta jama, the only underground church in Slovenia; it has a holy-water basin carved into calcareous sinter, with the stairs above it leading to the choir. Legend has it that the martyr St. Socerb, executed in 284, lived in the cave. Nowadays, the famous sight has been changed into a church.

Izola

The old Mediterranean town of Izola lies on the south-west shore of the Gulf of Trieste, where the genuine traditions of fishing and winemaking, mysterious traces of the past, and the welcoming character of the locals merge together to form an unforgettable mosaic of experiences. The stirring history of this little fishing port has created marvellous architectural treasures and ancient legends that will carry you back to the time when Izola was still an island. The town's hinterland offers countless opportunities to explore and discover the natural beauties of the Istrian hills, with their attractive stone houses and ancient churches.

Piran

Koper
Koper from above

Piran is a very special, precious city. It is the best preserved cultural monument of Slovenian Istria and the closest neighbour of Portorož, the luxurious city of flowers. Each time one looks at Piran from a distance or from the air, one is overcome by a feeling of surprise. Loved by the eyes of the people and by the eye of the camera, its image is known all over the world. When you visit Piran, you should take a closer look at its architecture, influenced by the Venetian Republic, which left its mark on most Istrian towns. Throughout time, Piran maintained the clustered medieval structure of narrow winding streets, houses huddled close together rising in cascades, the contact with the sea, and numerous squares and churches. Tartini Square is the gem found in the very centre of Piran. It was named after the famous violinist and composer Giuseppe Tartini, who made the town world-famous. His statue is located in the centre of the square. The city is surrounded by a circular wall. Piran is a member of the European Walled Cities Association. The city of Piran is a national historical monument. People earn their living mainly by tourism. Numerous events take place all year round in the city, both out in the open, and also in the buildings bearing the names of famous residents of Piran. The Church of St. George, the patron saint of Piran, rises above the town. From its lookout tower you have a wonderful view of Piran and its surroundings, all the way across the sea to the Croatian and Italian Coast.

Portorož

Coastal city Portorož is the perfect place to kick back, relax and forget about life's worries. Portorož is closely connected to nearby Piran, a small medieval town whose fame and fortune come from one of the largest saltpans in this part of the world. Today mostly abandoned, the saltpans now provide shelter to numerous bird species to nest or stop during southbound migration. It is the saltpans and their natural elements-salt, brine, and fango mud-that spurred the development of tourism in Portorož. When the healing properties of these natural elements were discovered as early as the 19th century, Portorož got its first hotels and thermal centres. Today Portorož is popular place to work, relax and have fun.


Parking In Koper


BONIFIKA ARENA

Capacity: 5,000

Address: Cesta Zore Perello-Godina 3, 200 - Koper


KOPER: FACTS AND FIGURES

Population: 24,900

Size: 18.4 km²

Official website: www.koper.si

 


BASKETBALL HISTORY

Goran Jagodnik (Slovenia)
Goran Jagodnik is a product of the KK Luka Koper basketball club
The best situated club from Koper, UKK Koper, currently plays in the 2nd Slovenian basketball league. Nevertheless, since independence, KK Luka Koper was a regular participant in the Slovenian Telemach league, and it also played in the Korać Cup between 1993-1995. One of the clubs products is well-known former Slovenian national team member Goran Jagodnik.

Recommended Places To Eat

Restaurant Address
Gostilna Domačija Ražman Gračišče 1, 6272 Gračišče
Gostilna Mohoreč Kubed 66 a, 6272 Gračišče
Gostilna pri Emilu Vanganel 38, 6000, Koper - Capodistria
Gostilna s prenočišči pod Slavnikom Podgorje 1, 6216 Podgorje
Istrska klet Pomjan Pomjan 17, 6274 Šmarje
Okrepčevalnica gostilna Belvedur Belvedur 1, 6272 Gračišče
Restavracija Carnevale Spodnje Škofije 259, 6281 Škofije
Restavracija Convent - Adria Hotel & Resort  
Restavracija Grad Socerb Socerb 7, 6275 Črni Kal
Restavracija La Storia Koper Pristaniška ulica 3, 6000 Koper
Restavracija Skipper Kopališko nabrežje 3, 6000, Koper - Capodistria
Villa Andor Vinogradniška pot 9, 6280 Ankaran

Recommended Hotels

Casino Hotel Carnevale www.carnevale.si/
Garni Hotel Pristan**** www.pristan-koper.si/
Hotel & Resort Adria Ankaran www.adria-ankaran.si
Hotel Koper*** www.terme-catez.si/slovenska-obala/
Aquapark Hotel Žusterna www.terme-catez.si/
Hotel Oltra  
Hotel Vodišek*** www.hotel-vodisek.com/
Hotel Bio*** www.hotel-bio.si/
Hotel Bor*** & Hotel Arija http://www.zdravilisce-debelirtic.org/en/

TRANSPORT

Koper is easily accessible from all neighbouring countries, with good road and rail connections and as Koper is a maritime town, it can also be reached by sea.

By Plane:
Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport is a hub in the region and connects Slovenia with the rest of Europe and the World. It offers direct connections to destinations in 15 of the 23 visiting countries at EuroBasket 2013. Jože Pučnik Airport is only 126 km from Koper.

Timetables


Local transport schedules

 

By Car:
If you are coming to Koper from Ljubljana, the easiest way would be to drive on the A1 highway. Be aware, Slovenian highways require a purchase of a vignette. If you want to enjoy the scenery and you are not in a hurry, you can also choose the regional road Ljubljana - Koper.

By Bus:
Koper has good bus connections with other coastal towns, like Ankaran (www.sladka-istra.si/Ankaran); Izola and Piran (www.sladka-istra.si/Izola).

Koper can be reached by bus from international destinations Triest (www.sladka-istra.si/Triest), Pula (www.sladka-istra.si/Pula) and Rovinj (www.sladka-istra.si/Rovinj).


By Train:
Koper is easily accessible  by train. The Railway station of Koper is situated 100m from the old town's centre and the venue of Sweet Isria. Koper can be reached by train from throughout Slovenia (www.sladka-istra.si/Ljubljana).

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