The history of the city of Koper

City of Koper – town of sun, sea and history

The history of the city of Koper and the origin of its original name dates back to antiquity: Aegida is a Greek-Etruscan name reminiscent of the aegis (shield) of the Greek goddess of wisdom and knowledge Athena. The ancient Roman name of the town, Capris, is said to derive from the fact that goats were raised on an island where there was no settlement at first.

The place was completely demolished in the 16th century BC. , when the Istrian peninsula became an integral part of Venetia et Histria. This is confirmed by numerous finds of the remains of Roman country villas (villa rustica) and other archaeological evidence. The northern Istria was occupied also by the Byzantines in the middle of the 6th century.

Koper joined the Venetians in 932. They took care of safer navigation, and with contracts they slowly subjugated the city. Later, the city was ruled by the Istrian border counts and the patriarchs of Aquileia. They chose Koper as the seat of their feudal estates in Istria and named it Caput Histriae (Head of Istria), which was later Italianized in Capo d’Istria and later in slovenian language, Koper.

Trade and production and the sale of salt, over which Koper has had a monopoly in Istria since 1182, bring him progress. In the 16th century, it became the administrative, judicial and tax center of Venetian Istria and competed with Trieste, as it had a favorable defensive position due to its location on the island and fortified walls.

During the conflicts between the Venetians and Austria, trade with the hinterland, especially Carniola, declined. The city was affected by the plague, during which the population fell from 8,000 to 1,800. Through the salt trade, oil and wine sales, the city recovered. Koper lost its important maritime and trade role with the collapse of the Venetian Republic and the extension of the Vienna-Trieste railway (1857). Trieste became the main commercial, maritime and industrial center.

After 1819, the final demolition of the city walls began. Later, a kilometer-long embankment with a road (today a promenade) was built from the old port to Semedela. At the time of fascism, Koper belonged to Italy. In 1947, on the basis of the Duino Agreement, Koper became the seat of Zone B of the Free Territory of Trieste.

After the signing of the London Memorandum in 1954, Koper became an important economic and political center of the Slovenian coast, which led to its rise.

In 1957, they started building a new port east of the old town, today the Port of Koper. Populations from the Slovene and Yugoslav hinterlands immigrated to the town.

Today, Koper is an important port, economic, tourist and university city in Slovenia and the wider region. The city also has an Italian nursery, primary school and gymnasium. Koper is considered a bilingual city like other coastal municipalities.

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