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Koper ( ; ) is a coastal town and municipality and the largest commercial port in Sloveniamarker, on the coast of the Adriatic Seamarker. The town has a population of 23,726 and is officially bilingual, with both Slovene and Italian as official languages. Sights in Koper include the 15th-century Praetorian Palace in Venetian Gothic style, the 12th century Carmine Rotunda church, and the Cathedral of St Nazarius with its 14th century tower.

Koper is also one of the main road entry points into Slovenia from Italy which lies to the north of the municipality. The main motorway crossing is at Spodnje Škofijemarker to the north of Koper city, the motorway continues into Rabuiese and Triestemarker. On the coast, there is a crossing at Lazaret into Lazaretto in Muggiamarker comune in Triestemarker province. The Italian border crossing is known as San Bartolomeo. Italian used to be the main language in the city, 92% in 1900, but has decreased sharply after becoming part of Yugoslavia in 1954 and then Slovenia in 1991.


Modern residential quarter
Koper rose from an ancient settlement built on an island in the southeastern part of the Gulf of Koper in the northern Adriatic. In the time of Ancient Greece, the town was known as Aegida, later it became known by its Latin names Capris, Caprea, Capre or Caprista, from which the modern Slovenian name stems.

In 568, Roman citizens of nearby Tergeste (modern Triestemarker) fled to Capris due to an invasion of the Lombards. In honour of the Byzantine emperor Justinian II, the town was renamed to Justinople. Later, Justinople was under both Lombard and Frankish rule.
The Praetorian Palace
In the Old Town
The Koper Tower
Since the 8th century, possibly even since the 6th century, Koper was the seat of a diocese. One of Koper's bishops was the Lutheran reformer Pier Paolo Vergerio. In 1828, it was merged into the diocese of Trieste.

Trade between Koper and Venicemarker had been registered since 932. In the war between Venice and Germany (Holy Roman Empire), Koper was on the German side, and was in result awarded with town rights, granted in 1035 by the emperor Conrad II. From 1232, Koper was under the patriarch of Aquileiamarker, and in 1278 it joined the Republic of Venice.

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

According the census of the year 1900 7205 Italian, 391 Slovenian, 167 Croatian and 67 German inhabitants lived in Koper.

Assigned to Italy after World War I, at the end of World War II it was part of the Zone B of the Free Territory of Trieste, controlled by Yugoslavia. Most of the Italian inhabitants left the city by 1954, when the Free Territory of Trieste formally ceased to exist and Zone B became part of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslaviamarker. In 1977, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Koper was separated from the Diocese of Trieste.

With Slovenian independence in 1991 Koper became the only commercial port in Sloveniamarker. The University of Primorska is based in the town.

Prominent citizens

Loggia palace

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Koper is twinned with:


  1. English sources call the town Koper, Capodistria and Koper-Capodistria.
  2. Page in Italian about Aldo Cherini
  3. Brief article in Italian from Corriere della Sera: Lutto, muore Giorgio Cobolli eroe della Guerra d'Africa (George Cobolli, hero of African War, is dead)
  4. Page on Bruno Maier in Italian
  5. Article in Italian about Quarantotti Gambini
  6. Trieste, a Gateway to the New Europe. Brief note about Gambini, p.3
  7. Article in Italian about the sinking of the battleship Queen Elizabeth.
  8. Press on Vergerius, Petrus Paulus

External links

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