Koper or Capo d’Istria (the head of Istria) used to be an island and a salt panning town. Its origins go as far back as the Roman era; but the Venetian Republic has left the most prominent stamp, which was the time when this town economically and culturally blossomed. With the downfall of the Venetian Republic and the construction of the railway Trieste-Vienna, Koper lost its significance slightly. Nevertheless, after the 2nd World War it started to develop persistently and in time it has become the economic capital of the coastal region and an important port town.
Upon arrival to Koper (when you leave the Koper ring road or highway), it is best to park on one of its large parking lots close to the football stadium Bonifika. Only a hundred meters away from the stadium, you will come to the former town walls and the main town gate – Muda gate. Through it, you enter onto the lovely Prešeren square with the interesting Da Ponte fountain. From here on a labyrinth of narrow fascinating alleys starts and through it, you ‘navigate’ your way to the main Koper sight – Tito square.
Beautiful buildings surround the spacious rectangular square from all sides. The fabulous Praetorian Palace stands on one side and Loggia on the other. The latter is a fascinating building where important town debates used to take place, but nowadays you will find a café with an incredible view onto the square here. You can see the 'Foresteria' and 'Armeria' on the right (former guesthouses and weaponries). On the left side, there is the cathedral of Mary’s Assumption and the town tower, where you can ascend up for a bird’s-eye view.
Many other curious buildings are spread-out through the entire old town center and it is best to simply ‘get lost’ and wonder the streets. Alternatively, you can ask to hire a local guide in the tourist info point in the Praetorian Palace.
If you take a stroll from Tito square down on Kidričeva street, you will walk past the beautiful (but sadly somewhat demolished) Venetian houses. You arrive to the coast and the Carpaccio square where the Taverna is located (a former salt storage building - today most major social events take place there). Many cafes and restaurants with an ocean view here are very popular amongst the locals – a great place to end your trip around Koper!
For all those who fancy evening city walks and a morning coffee on a medieval square, Koper is an ideal center for exploring Slovenian coast and its inland.
Learn more about Koper on the official Koper Municipality website.
In addition, here is a link to some pretty photographs of the old town center.