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.References:
The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.
In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.
The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.
The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.