Koper is an Adriatic port town in southwestern Slovenia, with total area approx 13 km2 (5 ml2) and population around 25,000. The other Slovenian port towns located along country's 47-km (29-ml) long coastline are Izola, Piran, Portoroz and Ankaran. Koper is located in Istrian Region, approx 5 km (3 ml) from the border with Italy.
Koper is among the main road entry points from Italy (which is to the north of the municipality) into Slovenia. The main motorway crossing is to the north of Koper, at Spodnje Skofije. The motorway continues into Trieste and Rabuiese. Koper also features a rail connection with the capital Ljubljana. There is a crossing on the coast at Lazaret into Lazaretto, Muggia municipality (Trieste province). The Italian border crossing is famous as San Bartolomeo. Don't miss the opportunity to see the Postonja Caves, immense subterranean network of chambers and galleries. A small train takes tourists through the well illuminated caverns with their colourful stalagmites and stalactites.
Officially, the city is bilingual, with both Italian and Slovene as official languages. The main sights in Koper include the 12th-century Carmine Rotunda church, the Cathedral of St Nazarius with a 14th-century tower, and 15th-century Praetorian Palace and Loggia built in Venetian Gothic style. First founded during Roman Empire (27 BC - 1453 AD), the port has played a significant role in the development of the region. It is one of the largest and the most important transit routes for shipping Asia-produced goods to central Europe. In contrast with other seaports in Europe (which are usually managed by port authority companies), Port Koper is terminal operator, free zone and port area.
Featuring unique biodiversity and ecology, Koper is considered a major national natural resource. Port Koper is the prime contributor to the economy of the whole municipality, as only 1% of Slovenia's territory is a coastline. The cruise port is often included in various Adriatic Sea (Mediterranean) itineraries operated by major passenger shipping lines. Port's cruising season runs from March through late-November - early-December.
- In 2015, MSC Musica (LOA length 294 m / 965 ft, max capacity 3200 passengers and 990 crew) became the largest cruise liner to visit Koper.
- In 2016, the cruise port handled a total of 65 ship calls.
- In 2018, the port handled 83 ship calls (40% increase over 2017) and around 100,000 passengers. New company for the port was TUI Cruises
- For season 2019 were booked 85 ship calls (10% increase over 2018) with estimated around 110,000 cruise tourists.
In 2015, Port Koper was chosen by Daimler AG (Stuttgart Germany-based automotive corporation) as one of company's main export ports for Mercedes-Benz vehicles. In 2018, Port Koper's Car Terminal handled over 754,000 vehicles, ranking it among Mediterranean's largest car terminals. Future development projects (totaling EUR 40 million) include building a new garage (6,000 lots) which will increase the annual car export by ~162,000 units.
In 2019, Port Koper started the construction of new railway tracks to serve the car terminal (located in seaport's north-eastern part) with scheduled completion in early-2020. For the project was contracted the company Kolektor CGP, specializing in production and installation of asphalt, concrete, sand-gravel, surface coatings, construction machinery.
- Part of the 2019-2020 port development project (budgeted EUR 12 million / USD 14M) is also building a new RO-RO (cargo ferry) berth serving car-carriers. The new dock consists of individual fenders (for RO-RO ships to lean on), a concrete loading ramp and a mooring pontoon. The surrounding seabed had to be dredged.
- In August 2019, for the construction of the new car garage (Phase 2 of the project) was contracted GIC GRADNJE d.o.o.(Slovenia, engineering services) with subcontractor PRO-CONCRETE d.o.o. (Slovenian-Italian company). The garage has parking capacity 6000 cars, increasing port's annual car throughput for ~162,000 units.
- As of 2019, Port Koper has industrial railway network with total length 35 km (22 ml) interconnecting quays and warehouses. In 2018, the seaport handled 755,000 vehicles. The new railway tracks will speed up units loading and unloading from railway wagons.
Koper cruise terminal
Koper cruise port terminal is located within walking distance from Tito Square (in the Old Town's centre) - a historic site featuring a cathedral, Praetorian Palace (15th century), an arcaded Loggia (15th century), pitcuresque cafes and restaurants.
Port Koper has 2 quays - one for cruise liners and one for multi-use. The port has water depth 10 m (33 ft) and docking capacity 1 vessel at the time (LOA length 350 m / 1148 ft).
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