Portoroz - Slovenia

Portoroz - SloveniaPortorož (Italian: Portorose, literally "Port of Roses"), is an Adriatic-Mediterranean coastal settlement in the Municipality of Piran in southwestern Slovenia. Its modern development began in the late 19th century with the vogue for the first health resorts. In the early 20th century Portorož became one of the grandest seaside resorts in Europe, along with Abbazia, Lido and Grado, then as part of the Austrian Littoral.

It is now one of Slovenia's major tourist areas. Located in the centre is the Hotel Palace, once one of the most important resorts for the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, and currently one of the finest hotels between Venice and Dubrovnik.

The settlement and its surrounding areas are served by Portorož International Airport which is located in the nearby village of Sečovlje.

The history of the settlement is directly connected to that of the neighboring town of Piran, with Illyrian settlers already living there in the prehistoric era. They were followed by Celtic tribes, which were later conquered and annexed by the Roman Empire in 178 B.C. Archaeological finds suggest that in this period many farms and villas, also named villae rusticae, were built in the area. A large development of the area followed only after the demise of the empire, with enlargement of the number of settlers seeking shelter from attacks by the Barbarians.

In the 7th century the area was a part of the Byzantine empire. Due to increasing dissatisfaction with the feudal rule, as well as rising power of the Venetian Republic, the settlement of Pirano signed a trade treaty with Venice, which included a lesser degree of autonomy.
Portorož in 1905

One of the first religious orders who came to this area were the Benedictines. In the 12th century, the broader region already had four monasteries, and even more churches. Among those, one of the oldest was the church of Saint Mary Rosary, which stood by the bay in the beginnings of the 13th century. Its name was Sancta Maria Roxe or S. Maria delle Rose, and in 1251 the bay was named by it Portus sanctae Mariae de Rosa.

One of the most important roles in the history of the settlement was the monastery of Saint Laurence, where the Benedictines healed rheumatic illnesses, ascites and other diseases with concentrated salt water and saline mud. In the 1210 the area was overtaken by the Patriarchy of Aquileia.

In the 13th century Pirano entered a brief war from December of 1282 to January of 1283 in which it was defeated by the Venetian Republic.

Palace Hotel in 1915
During the second Venetian rule, it was, contrary to other towns on the Istrian peninsula, loyal to Venetian rule, and as such gained special privileges within the republic, which in turn caused the local economy to boom. In 1797 Venetian rule came to a close as the Austrian Empire took over the area for a brief period until 1806. From 1806 to 1813 the entire Istrian Peninsula became part of the Illyrian Provinces.

A period of economic growth followed during the second Austrian rule, with enlargement of trade and locally important salt pans in nearby Lucija and Sečovlje. In the aftermath of the Great War, the Treaty of Rapallo determined the Istrian peninsula to be from that point on a part of the Kingdom of Italy.

Under the royal and then fascist rule, the area found itself amidst economic decline and civil conflicts between the populace and the state. In the Second World War, the area hadn't seen much action, although the important industrial hub of Trieste suffered multiple bombings. In the aftermath of the war, the settlement found itself in the United Nations-administered Free Territory of Trieste. After the dissolution of the Trieste state it became a part of Yugoslavia.

Economy of Portorož is mainly based on tourism and gaming industry. The facilities include a marina,[6] numerous sporting facilities and several casinos, along with many hotels and apartment complexes.

Tourism development
In the second half of the 19th century, the leaders of the Pirano municipality and local doctors decided to stimulate tourism in the region, by offering health treatment by concentrated salt water and salina mud, and from 1879 onwards dr. Giovanni Lugnano first offerer of such treatment to various visitors. In 1885 after several years of successful start of a new branch of industry, constructions of new complexes and villas began, and in 1890 the predecessor of the famous Hotel Palace was built.

Among the new settlers were various prominent figures, such as Antonelli, Dragovina, Furian, Frennez, Langer, Rastelli, Reinlaner and Salvetti. Because of the new branch of healthcare treatment that emerged in Porto Rose, the ministry of interior affairs declared the settlement to be a health resort. In 1908 dr. Orazio Pupini, a prominent Austrian doctor with a noticeable treatment history opened a sanatorium. He was also the main doctor of the Austrian Railways, and a member of the Austrian doctor's Association.

In 1902 The Parenzana Railway system was introduced which increased the popularity of the region, but was later dissolved because of decreased interests.

In 1909 the era of construction of private villas ended with opening of a much bigger building for standards at the time; the Palace Cur Hotel, later known as Palace Hotel. At the initial opening ceremony in 1910 the Hotel Palace was already named »the most beautiful hotel on the Adriatic coast«. The hotel was equipped with most modern therapeutic accessories, and for the needs of high importance guests a casino was built.

The thriving community was halted by the Great War, and a few years after the war (In which they came under the Italian rule) in 1928 they included a new electric therapy among their treatment programmes. In the whole interwar period the settlement was slowly regaining its former glory when the Second World War severely crippled it again.

The crisis lasted until 1968 when renovations and new constructions under the new entity of Yugoslavia began to take place along the whole region. In this time they began to build the settlement's infrastructure with the casino doing the bulk of the investments in reconstructing the sports airfield in nearby Sečovlje and building the multi-purpose auditorium in 1972. In 1976 two hotel complexes were constructed in Bernardin, in the following year another was added in the same area. In the same year they began transforming the Lucija saltworks into a marina for smaller vessels.

Since the secession of Slovenia from Yugoslavia, Portorož became one of the most important tourist sites in the country.