From the 13th century, Marian devotion was so much a part of the religious culture of Europe that it was present in all the new religious foundations of this period. Some of these religious foundations showed by their very titles that they had a special devotion to Mary – one of these was the Order of Servants of Mary or Servites as they are more commonly called today.
Today the largest building complex in Koper in Slovenia belongs to the former Servite monastery. Between 1996 and 1949, it was the regional maternity hospital, before that from 1810 municipal hospital and between the 18th and 15th century a monastery of the Servite order. The complex was erected on the location of an older Benedictine monastery that was built in the ruins of a Roman villa. Although in bad condition, the complex still reflects the sense that it was constructed as a space built for close relationships, accountability, prayer and contemplation. Located within today’s centre of the town it is loaded with numerous meanings and emotions – most of the older generations of townsfolk are emotionally attached to the building since they, or their children, were born within the walls of the former monastery.