LIFE IN THE VEINS OF PREINDUSTRIAL JUSTINOPOLIS (MODERN-DAY KOPER)
The guided tour will take us to the heart of the town – the Platea Communis or common square (nowadays called Tito square) where the most representative buildings are located: the Pretorian palace (where the appointed governor of the Istrian province resided) and the cathedral (dedicated to the Assumption of Mary), which is the biggest church in Slovenia. Before entering the church, notice the fine chiseled door
The hidden venues of Piran, The town “made of salt” & Sečovlje salt pans
Upon arriving, explanations will be given about the organic development of the town tissue; framed by no less than three subsequent and larger town walls, among which the last two are well visible. We are going to see the church of Saint Rock and learn more about the epidemics of plague in the Middle Ages. Hear the story about the virtuoso violinist player Giuseppe Tartini and his devilish dream.
The Škocjan caves, the entrance door to Hades, a dip into the oblivion of centuries
The Škocjan caves or caves of Saint Canzian (inscribed on the UNESCO natural heritage list) are not only a unique natural monument but also an extremely important ancient pilgrimage site and a natural sanctuary active for several centuries (in Copper, Bronze and Iron Age). This is the spot where the river Reka hits the Karstic plateau and sinks underground with mighty roaring water fools, flowing through an underground gorge (up to 146m high) and some of the biggest subterranean chambers in the world, like the awesome Martel’s chamber (which could easily contain the entire basilica of St. Peter in Rome).
Hrušica (Ad Pirum), the forgotten Roman stronghold, the medieval castle of Predjama and the spectacular Pivka cave
Ad Pirum was an ancient Roman stronghold, active during the time of the late Roman Empire (from the IIIrd century on). The size of the central hill fortress situated at the altitude of 858 m was about 250 m long and 75 m wide with walls at a height of 8 m and a thickness of about 2 m; the wall towers were 10 m high. This structure represented the core of the “Julian Alps gate” or Claustra Alpium Iuliarum, a network of forts and walls erected to secure the province Italia from eastern invasions.
The quintessence of Idrija, the town of Mercury and Alchemy
In 1550, a bucket maker working in a stream found by chance heavy liquid silver metal in his wooden cask and so the mining of Mercury started. Idrija soon became the second biggest mine of Mercury in the world (second only to Almaden in Spain). Quicksilver was used to produce an amalgam with gold in order to facilitate its extraction from the raw mineral ore and was therefore very precious. Its mysterious nature (the only liquid metal that evaporates when heated) has fascinated humankind from the dawn of time.
Daily excursions to Croatian Istria (proposed trips)
The Paleochristian Euphrasian Basilica from the 6th century with Byzantine mosaics influenced by the art of Ravenna (on UNESCO Heritage List).