Koper Cathedral

Koper, Slovenia

The three-nave Romanesque Koper Cathedral with three apses was built in the second half of the 12th century. The Romanesque construction is preserved on the south side, where typical funnel-shape windows are intact and the stonework is imitated in the facade. Towards the west the church was extended to the bell tower and in 1392 it was Gothicized. The lower floor facade by the square has remained Gothic. The upper floor was redone with pilaster separations after the fire in 1460. The decorative Renaissance elements are the most distinctive on the west side, built in 1488, and in the chiselled details, such as the portals.

In the middle of the square, right next to the west façade, stands a mighty self-supporting bell tower repaired as a city tower in the 15th century. It has four main floors. The upper is open on all sides by quadra-forums. Higher up is a terrace and an ending with an Aquileian cap. In the bell tower hangs one of the oldest bells in Slovenia (1333). It was cast by Master Jakob in Venice. The upper terrace is periodically open and offers a great view of the Bay of Trieste. The clock, positioned in the middle of the third floor, faces the square.

In the first half of the 18th century the interior was unified and arranged, and the hall was remade in Baroque style under the influence of Venetian origins into one of the largest church interiors in Slovenia. The church has had additional fittings. The work was directed by the architect Giorgio Massari. Among the interior fittings are numerous quality paintings of artists from Venice. There are more works by the even more famous artists Benedetto and Vittoreo Carpaccio. On the south side in the middle of the church hangs the Sacra Conversatione by V. Carpaccio from 1516, one of the best Renaissance paintings in Slovenia. It was painted for the of altar St. Rochus.

Among the sculptural works of art, a chiselled sarcophagus of St. Nazarius from the middle of the 14th century holds a special position, behind the altar. The image of the adored bishop is chiselled on the cover; on the circumference are the miracles of that patron of the city.

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Founded: 12th century
Category: Religious sites in Slovenia

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Miran Ibrahimagic (3 years ago)
Don't get me wrong for giving just two stars... Church itself is majestic piece of baroque architecture, with paintings by Carpaccio, nicely restored, worth visiting... But, as we were there visiting with the tourist group, a very unpleasant, old man, alcohol smell all around him, approached the group as a charging pit bull, shouting at all the guests and the guide, obviously not allowing explanations inside the church and very rudely kicked us out of it, forbidding any comments... It was an experience which you would have never have expected in a church! Been to hundreds of churches around the world, but have never been thrown out of one before! Pity, it leaves a bitter taste in otherwise pleasant and friendly medieval town. If tourism is of any importance here, local community should do something to prevent such unpleasant situations.
Attila Tényi (3 years ago)
Hisroric church. Great and beautiful.
Meta Lenart Perger (3 years ago)
This cathedral is one of the biggest churches in Slovenia. Almost completely white and quiet interior contrasts with the lively square in front of the church. Art lovers will find some precious art pieces (main and side altars) and they will certainly apreciate the breathtaking white facade. Visit of the bell tower is possible as well.
JASON BACON (3 years ago)
It's not the most stunning looking cathedral from the outside but the interior is lovely. Although the whole setting with the bell tower and palace in the surrounding square makes for some great photos and a lovely place to walk and relax. The bell tower was €3 each and has 204 steps to the top. As usual you get a good view from the top. It is also suppose to be the oldest working bell tower in Slovenia.
Dominika Vilmonova (3 years ago)
You can visit the tower, entrance fee is around 3 € and you need to climb 204 stairs to get to the top where you can see whole of Koper. I liked the view but I think that the entrance fee is too high.
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