Koper – Capodistria

Koper, or in Italian Capodistria is a fifth largest city in Slovenia and main port for most of the Central Europe.

Koper began as a settlement built on an island in the south-eastern part of the Gulf of Koper in the northern Adriatic. Called Insula Caprea (Goat Island) or Capro by Roman settlers, it developed into the city of Aegida, which was mentioned by the Roman author Pliny the Elder.

Trade between Koper and Venice has been recorded since 932. In the war between Venice and the Holy Roman Empire, Koper was on the latter side, and as a result was awarded with town rights, granted in 1035 by Emperor Conrad II. After 1232, Koper was under the Patriarch of Aquileia, and in 1278 it joined the Republic of Venice. It was at this time that the city walls and towers were partly demolished.

Koper grew to become the capital of Venetian Istria and was renamed Caput Histriae ‘head of Istria’ (from which stems its modern Italian name, Capodistria).

Main Sights

Praetorian Palace

The Praetorian Palace closes the southern side of the central town square – the Tito Square. The palace was built in the 13th century, while it received its current appearance in the middle of the 15th century. The building’s appearance is dominated by the late Gothic-Renaissance and Venetian Gothic style. The palace is decorated by an external staircase, external balcony, a distinct façade, a statue of Lady Justice with her sword and the many decorative coats-of-arms with carvings from the history of Koper.

Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The current church was supposedly built in the 11th century and since then it has undergone numerous renovations. The bottom part was designed in the Gothic style, while the upper part appears to be in the Renaissance style. The cathedral was expanded in the first half of the 18th century. Nowadays, the church is famous for being one of the largest churches in Slovenia. It measures 70 metres in length and 25 metres in width.

House of Vettore Carpaccio

The Venetian painter Vittore Carpaccio and his son Benedetto are thought to have lived and created in this house on the eastern edge of Carpaccio Square.

This is a Venetian-Gothic two-storey house from the 14th century, renovated in 1935 and in 1955.

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