June 7, 2016
2599 SLOVENIA (Slovene Littoral) - Piran
Located in southwestern Slovenia on the Gulf of Piran on the Adriatic Sea, Piran is one of the three major towns of Slovenian Istria. The town has much medieval architecture, with narrow streets and compact houses. It was heavily influenced by the Venetian Republic and Austria-Hungary, therefore the monuments differ greatly from those in inner parts of Slovenia. The Piran town walls were constructed to protect the town from Ottoman incursions.
Inhabited at the beginning by Illyrian Histri tribes, the Piran peninsula was incorporated into the Roman Empire in 178 and 177 BC and settled in the following years with rural homes (villae rusticae). Incursions of Avars and Slavs at the end of the 6th century, prompted the Roman population to withdraw into easily defensible locations such as islands or peninsulas. This started local urbanisation and by the 7th century, under Byzantine rule, Piran had become heavily fortified.
Despite the defences, the Franks conquered Istria in 788 and Slavs settled in the region. By 952, Piran had become a part of he Holy Roman Empire. During the 13th century Venice decided that it would like to have full control of the salt pans surrounding Piran, and launched a short successful war in 1282. Venetian rule lasted for over 500 years, only coming to an end in 1797 at the hands of Napoleon, but the Austrians invaded shortly thereafter, in 1813.
At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, Piran was an Austro-Hungarian city with over 12,000 inhabitants, larger than the nearby Koper. It was a flourishing market and spa town with good transport connections. After WWI all of Istria came under the rule of Italy, which neglected the region leading to significant decline. Following WWII, Piran became part of Yugoslavia in 1954. It gained independence as part of the Republic of Slovenia in 1991.
In 1910 Piran had 7,379 inhabitants in the town proper, 95.97% Italians and 0.09% Slovenes. In the surrounding countryside, the population was mixed, both Italian and Slovene. In 1945, the town proper had 5,035 inhabitants, 91.32% Italian and 8.54% Slovene speakers. After 1947, the ethnic composition changed radically, because a significant part of the population chose to emigrate in the final phase of the Istrian exodus, rather than stay in socialist Yugoslavia. In 1956 there were 3.574 inhabitants, 67.6% Slovene and 15.5% Italian. Even today the municipality is bilingual, both Slovene and Italian are official languages.
About the stamps
The stamps are the two issued by Slovenia on May 27, 2016 for Europa Stamps 2016 - Think Green.
Piran - Wikipedia
History of Piran - In your Pocket
Sender: Radu Toussaint
Sent from Piran (Slovene Littoral / Slovenia), on 02.06.2016
Photo: J. Jerasa