Architecture of Piran
Piran and its hinterland are interwoven with a turbulent and interesting history, which has given the town a special historic seal. The Byzantine Empire, the Venetian Republic, which was very important because of maritime trade, and the emperor of Austria have all left a mark. However, nearly 500 years of Venetian Empire influence gave the town its special charm.
You can see many masterpieces of architects and artists who have throughout the centuries shaped picturesque buildings, streets, squares, churches and other valuable art pieces.
When you enter the town, you will immediately see Tartini Square, the centre of the town. The square itself is made of white stone and in the shape of an ellipse. It is surrounded by various historic houses. On the east side, you can see a baroque house. On the other end, at the intersection of 9th Corps Street and Tartini Square, a historic house with a red façade and stone ornaments stands out. This is the famous Venetian House. Legend has it that a rich Venetian merchant built it for his lover from Piran.
St. George’s Cathedral above Piran offers a beautiful view of the town, the remains of the old town wall, intertwined narrow streets, historic houses and picturesque squares. The church and the wall are situated on the top of a flysch slope, along which the town descends to the sea coast. Piran has many interesting churches and architectural art pieces, such as the Franciscan monastery and Baroque House on Tartini Square.
On the northern side, steep flysch slopes descend to the coast, and the view in that direction stretches out to the Italian east coast. The view alone is an exceptional experience, worthy of a visit.
If you come from Portorož, right before you reach Piran and where the tourist resort Bernardin is located, you will see the ruins of St. Bernardin’s Church with its gothic presbytery.
The heart of Portorož is marked by the Palace Hotel, the oldest working hotel in Slovenian Istria. It is listed as a cultural monument and the park in front is an example of cultivated nature. At its opening in 1910, it was known as the most beautiful and biggest hotel in the Adriatic. The façade, the old stairwell and the crystal hall are elements of Austro-Hungarian architecture that have been preserved.
Piran, art and the maritime town
You can visit Coastal galleries
in Piran, where the works of internationally renowned contemporary artists are exhibited. In the palace Gabrielli, where the interesting “Sergej Mašera” Maritime Museum
is situated, you will find everything about maritime history in Slovenia. On the exhibition ground Monfort in Portorož, where there used to be a salt warehouse, you can see the development of water sports and art exhibitions.
Piran, the town of music
Our town is marked by music, as here was born and raised the internationally renowned musician, composer and violinist Giuseppe Tartini. His statue decorates the main square that is named after him. Right next to it, in the memorial room of the house where he was born, you can see Tartini’s violin.
In honour of the composer and the musical tradition of the town, for over 35 years, the music festival “Piran Musical Evenings” has been held annually and you can listen to the music in the middle of the summer seated in a pleasantly cross-shaped arcade. There are more concerts and theatre events held at the auditorium located in Portorož.
Heritage of salt workers and farmers
The culture in our town was not only inspired by painters, musicians, architects and sculptors. It was also strongly influenced by the farmers and salt-workers.
In the area of Sečovlje Salina, salt workers still harvest salt manually, and the abandoned area of the salt pan, Fontanigge, is dedicated to an open-air salt works museum. It presents restored houses of salt workers, a museum collection and a salt field with a characteristic windmill. In one of the houses, you can see how the families of the salt workers used to live.
In Tona’s house in the village of St. Peter, you can have a look at the way our farmers who used to grow olive trees spent their days.
Visit our cultural sights and explore the life of the local people.