The Indianapolis Sister City program allows Indiana’s capital to form long-term relationships with other countries. The program started in 1994 with its first sister city and has since formed partnerships with nine different sister cities. Piran, Slovenia is a sister city Indianapolis formed a relationship with in 2001. 

Jeff Golc, a former Councilor who represented the Haughville neighborhood and was of Slovenian ancestry, was the one who proposed partnering with a Slovenian city. When discussion in the early 2000s began to determine who would partner with an American city, cities were not able to partner with more than one U.S city. Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, already had a Sister City relationship with Indianapolis’ Midwest neighbor, Cleveland, established in 1975. Piran, a city on the southwest coast of Slovenia, eventually expressed interest in partnering with an American city. The Piran municipal visited Indianapolis to sign the Indy-Piran City Memorandum of Understanding and on August 6th, 2001, the City-County Council Resolution was signed by Mayors Bart Peterson and Vojka Stula. 

Indianapolis Piran
Population 864,447


Year Established


178 BC


From its humble beginning as a town inhabited by fishermen, hunters, shepherds, and pirates, there have been many changes in the rulings over Piran. In 178 BC, Piran was part of the Roman Empire. However, when the Roman Empire fell, Piran was ruled by various leaders.

In the 10th century after two centuries of Byzantine rule, Piran was within the Holy Roman Empire borders. Eventually, Piran was ruled by the Venetian Republic, earning itself the nickname of “the little Venice” because the Italian language became the most spoken language during that time.

After the Venetian rule, Piran was annexed by the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the empire collapsed and Piran was ruled by Italy. Eventually, Piran became part of the Free Territory of Triest. Piran was incorporated into Yugoslavia until 1991 when Slovenia became an independent nation in large part because of the breakup of Yugoslavia.


Piran is a port town located in the southwestern corner of Slovenia. It faces Italy and borders Croatia to the south, with the municipalities of Izola and Koper located to the east.


Getting to Piran

Though Piran is a small city it is only a few hours from other popular destinations in Slovenia. One can travel to Piran by bus or car. However, cars are not allowed within the Old Town of Piran so parking must be found outside of the town near Portoroz.


  • Trieste, Italy (40 min)
  • Rovinj, Croatia (1.5 hrs)
  • Ljubljana, Slovenia (1.5 hrs)


  • Rovinj (2 hrs)
  • Trieste (1.25 hrs)
  • Ljubljana (3 hrs)

Piran Food

Traditional Slovenia food is heavily influenced by its bordering nations, Hungary, Austria, and Italy. Traditional Slovenian stews and soups are common foods for Pirans to enjoy. Štrukljeva juha or Štajerska dumpling soup is a popular dish among Slovenians. This soup also features another popular food in Slovenia, dumplings.


Seafood is also a common food in Piran because of the surrounding water that brings in fresh fish and shrimp.

Piran is also well known for its salt because of its unique texture. A common Slovenian saying is “Piran is made of salt.” Traditional salt-making techniques that date back to the 14th century are still often used by salt makers. It is common to season the fresh seafood with the town’s famous salts. Salt also plays a key economic role in Piran.


Site to See

Piran Harbour is a popular destination. There, all the boats are docked, and fishing boats can be seen entering and exiting the Gulf of Piran. The Harbour is where all the boats are docked and where you will see the fishing boats constantly coming in and out.

By Katelyn Bireline, marketing & communications intern