The village developed in the hinterland of Koper, overlooking the Rižana River Valley, on the Karst land full of caves and fresh water springs that determined its development.
The oldest identifiable building is a round tower from the 11th c. Although it might seem small and insufficient for defensive purposes at first glance, it was positioned in an excellent way – on the cliff, meaning it controlled the valley all the way to Trieste.

The town was significantly reconstructed and enlarged in the 15th c. The best known house is definitely the one built for the local clergy by masters Andrej and Benko from Sočerga, who turned it into their workshop (Prkičeva hiša). Upon arrival to the village they probably already found the formed small square with fresh water spring, as well as single-storey and two-storey houses along the main street. They also went to St. Helen’s Church, beside which the local cemetery developed. The large Gothic building with a deep sanctuary was painted in 1489 by the well known workshop of John from Kastav, testified by the inscription on the bordure between the representation of Christ’s Crucifixion and the scene of Adoration of the Magi. Unfortunately, it has faded nowadays.

Although the town became a possession of Venice in 1535, only 20 years later the tower became part of the system of fortifications whose function was to defend the Venetian part of Istria. It was attacked and burnt in 1615, an event that chased away all those who survived. In spite of that, the provveditore ordered the refugees to return and renew their homes. Today, there is no one who can issue such an order which is why Podpeč is mostly deserted. 


Črni Kal, yet another Venetian fortification on the edge of the Slovene Karst.

Interesting facts:

Builders and stone masons from Sočerga left many works in the surroundings. Benko and Jakša built the belfry in Predloka and St. Anthony’s Church in Vrh, and they also made custodia in both churches. The most visited is the house in Črni Kal built by Benko and Andrej, as well as the one with their workshop.

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