Renowned over millennia - enjoy today's hospitality in Piran

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Piran, travel, holiday, Istria, beaches.Piran's history in general is shared by virtually all of the coastal towns of Istria.

Pre-Roman era Istria was inhabited by the Illyrian Histri (Istria) tribes, who were farmers, hunters and fishermen.

No doubt an amount of pirating also took place, disrupting the north Adriatic Sea trade.

Following the Roman conquest of the Istrian peninsula in the years 178 and 177 b.c. “ville rusticae” were built by landowners, and coastal ports were fortified as gradual colonisation of the peninsula began.

A major influx of Romans into Istria came with the collapse of the Roman empire in the 5th Century, as the citizens of Rome retreated to fortified coastal towns and islands to escape the Invaders.

Piran, travel, holiday, Istria, beaches. The next 400 years saw successive regimes in the County of Istria. Byzantine, Obers, Slavs, Franks and the Italic kingdom, until becoming part of the Holy Roman Empire in 952.

With the emergence of the Venetian Republic in the 10th century as a major trading and sea power in the Adriatic, Venice’s proximity to Istria as compared to the Bavarian Kingdoms, increased its influence through somewhat onerous ‘friendship and trade’ agreements.

Piran was taken under Venetian protection in 933 having signed their ‘friendship and trade’ agreement with the Venetian Republic.

Increased trade to the region brought wealth to the Istrian towns making it possible for some towns to gain autonomy and become free municipalities with a self-elected governing body.

Piran, travel, holiday, Istria, beaches, yacht charter.Such autonomy became curtailed when the Venetian Republic commenced the conquest of the Istrian towns and occupied Koper in 1279, a year later Izola, and in 1283 Piran.

Austrian occupation of the region from 1797 interrupted in 1805 by a shorter period of French rule under the guise of the Italian Kingdom (1805 - 1809) and Napoleonic Illyrian Provinces (1809 - 1813), introduced a few minor interventions in the towns and countryside, as well as administrative, social and political change.

Imperial Austria brought prosperity back in the 19th Century by substantially enlarging the salt pans in Seèovlje, which yielded approximately 40,000 tons of salt per year. The salt pans continue to produce the highly-prized Sea salt.

The end of the 19th Century saw the beginnings of tourism as improved traffic connections allowed greater access to previously remote areas.

The narrow gauge coastal railroad, which led from Trieste to Porec, greatly boosted the region’s economy initially by the transport of fresh goods to market, and subsequently increasing the levels of inbound tourism to take advantage of the milder maritime climate.

Piran, travel, holiday, apartment, sea-view, Istria, beaches.Guest houses, holiday villas and Hotels sprung up to provide for the in-demand holiday accommodation.

Portoroz in particular became established as a health resort, bringing fame as a reputation was earned by being a beautiful seaside holiday location of the eastern Adriatic resorts.

Tartini Square became the central square of Piran at the end of the 13th Century.

Its present appearance only came about in the second half of the 19th Century when the inner harbour was filled in, creating a spacious square.

Piran, travel, holiday, Istria, beaches, Tartini square.Municipal buildings such as the Town Hall and Court Palace were constructed, as well as burgher houses and the gothic Venetian House, all preserved in their original state.

The square was named after the well-known local violinist and composer Giuseppe Tartini (1692 - 1770), with over 300 compositions to his name.

Born in Piran, Giuseppe Tartini founded an influential violin school in Padua, Italy.


More bits and bobs:

Two schools of thought on the origin of the name Piran:

Piran, travel, holiday, apartment, sea-view, yacht charter, Istria, beaches.

a. Derives from the Celtic word bior-dun, supposed to mean a settlement on the hill.

b. An expansion of the Greek word pyre – fire, the prominent location ideally suited to positioning a lighthouse as an aid to navigation for vessels sailing to the nearby Greek colony Aegida – today’s town of Koper.

Considered a minor battle of the Adriatic campaign of the Napoleonic Wars ...but not to those that were there...
the Battle of Pirano was fought between the British and French off the coast in 1812

The first reference to the town dates from the 7th Century work ‘Cosmographia’, whereby the name Piranon is mentioned among the Roman towns on the Istrian coast.

As part of Austria-Hungary, a claim to fame was having the first tramline in the Balkans, introduced in 1909.

A scenic coastal line ran from Tartini Square to Portoroz, in operation until 1953.

The town's festival day is on October 15, which celebrates the foundation of the first Slovenian partizan naval detachment named Koper, in 1944.

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