Koper, Slovenia

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If you are familiar with Slovenia, you likely think of it as an alpine country, with soaring summits and forested foothills. The country does, however, have one small sliver of access to the sea—47 kilometers (29 miles) of Adriatic coastline, squeezed between Italy and Croatia. The only significant city there is the country’s major port, Koper. The Republic of Venice ruled the city for more than five centuries, from 1279 to 1797. La Serenissima’s influence is reflected in Koper’s architecture, in buildings like the 15th-century Venetian-Gothic Praetorian Palace and other works like the 17th-century Da Ponte Fountain, which recalls the bridges spanning Venice's canals. Wandering the narrow cobbled streets and squares of the Old Town—where you’ll hear residents speak both Italian and Slovene—you’ll pass a number of even earlier, medieval sites, including the 12th-century Carmine Rotunda and the Cathedral of the Assumption, with a tower that houses one of the oldest bells in Slovenia. Also worth stops are the Venetian-Gothic Almerigogna Palace, painted with floral motifs, and Taverna, a bar and event space located in a historic former salt warehouse.
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