Magic at every step – Koper
Koper is the largest city on the coast. It is also the international cargo port in Slovenia. The town is full of life and vibrates with positive energy. The old square is intertwined with history and culture. Close to the sea, the atmosphere is easy-going. Coffee meetings and long chats are an essential part of Koper’s everyday life! Discover its quiddity on the Ljubljana to Koper & Piran Day Trip.
A long time ago – the history of Koper
There are two theories about the origins of Koper. One story says that there was a Greek Ageida colony here. However, most historians claim that the first settlers arrived here with the Romans. They established a settlement on the island and called the future Koper the Goat Island.
The golden years of Koper were at the beginning of the 19th century. In 1805 Napoleon took over the present town and made it one of the most important centers of the Illyrian province. Unfortunately, after the Congress of Vienna, Koper became the property of Austria and lost its importance. Trieste became a more important center of trade.
Napoleon knocks on the city gate – Koper architecture
Walking through the streets, you will notice that the architecture is dominated by Venetian influences. In addition, many buildings have the symbol of City on Water – a winged lion. The main expansion and fortification of the city were under Venetian governance.
To visit the old town, you have to go through the Renaissance Muda Gate from 1516. It is the only preserved town gate in Koper. It is decorated with the sun symbol, which is the crest of Koper. The location of the city gate is also no coincidence. Koper used to be an island. On Napoleon’s order, the island was connected to the mainland. This project was completed before the First World War.
The old town has been bustling with life for centuries. At its center are two of the most important buildings in Koper – the Praetorian Palace and the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The palace embodies a mixture of architectural styles. You can notice Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque influences on it. The building was built in the 15th century and was the house of the Grand Council and the Appellate Court. The cathedral comes from the 14th century. It was built in the Gothic style. After a century, it was extended in the Renaissance style. Baroque elements, such as the dome, were also added in later years.
Relax with a cup of coffee in Koper
Koper is warmer than other parts of Slovenia at any time of the year. Thanks to its proximity to Italy and shared history, you can sense the Latino influence there. These are revealed, among other things, in the positive attitude, love of coffee, unhurried life, and long chats.
Piran: A journey through time
A small town situated on a rocky promontory on the Adriatic Sea. Photographic and phenomenally beautiful. The small harbor contrasts with the big sea. From every corner of the town, you can watch sunsets, right over the water. The atmospheric backstreets invite you to take long, slow walks. Statistically, it is the second most visited place by tourists in Slovenia. You too, should take a Piran Day Trip from Koper.
About the history of Piran
Not much is known about the origin of the town. Few historical sources state that there was a fortified camp under Byzantine rule in the 7th century. In the early Middle Ages, Piran had the status of a free town. It enjoyed many privileges and was rich. This period ended with the takeover of Piran by the Venetians. In the following centuries, the town changed hands until today, when it is part of Slovenia.
Slovenian Venice – about the architecture of Piran
One of the main attractions is the market square in the old town. However, it is not the historical center of the city. Until 1894 there was a harbor in the place of the main square. At the end of the 19th century, the port overwhelmed and created the piazza. It was named after a violinist born in Piran – Tartinijev trg. Today it is a landmark of the town.
Right next to the square there is a magnificent Neo-Renaissance town hall building. It was built in the 19th century. A real architectural gem is its colonnaded portico – two stories high, with Corinthian columns and a large relief of a Venetian lion on the facade.
Right next to the town hall, we can see another Venetian influence. We are talking about a colorful and richly decorated tenement house. It looks like a building from the City on the Water. Even its name refers to its western neighbor – it is called Venetian. It was built in the 15th century.
In Piran, you can also walk to the lighthouse, located at the end of the headland. However, I think the most beautiful views are from the top. That is why I recommend going to St. George’s Church, which will give you a bird’s eye view of the whole town.
Photographers’ Mecca – why Piran is worth seeing
Piran is considered to be the most beautiful town on the Slovenian coast. On a small promontory, there are charming historical buildings that have remained practically unchanged for the last centuries. Car traffic is prohibited in Piran – entering the town makes you feel like a time traveler.
Travel deeper – the surroundings of Piran & Koper
You cannot say that you have visited the Slovenian coast without seeing Sečovlje. It is thanks to this place that Piran and Koper built their power. Both towns traded in the salt produced here. The first historical mention of salt exploitation dates back to the 14th century. In 2001 the area started to be protected in the Natural Park of Salina Sečovlje.
Not far from the coast, there are also Škocjan caves. It is a gigantic cave complex included in the UNESCO list. Many consider this cave system to be the most beautiful in the world. The area also has a very interesting history. One time, astronauts were preparing to travel into space in the Škocjan caves! Discover them on the Piran Day Trip & Škocjan caves from Ljubljana.
Slovenia in a day
The Slovenian coast is extremely picturesque and beautiful. You can admire natural, cultural, and historical wonders on it. There is definitely something for everyone! If you are curious about other places to discover in Slovenia, Day Trips Slovenia and Shore Excursions Koper are your go-to agencies!