What is the Lapidarium?
As its very name suggests, the Lapidarium Museum in Novigrad contains a collection of stone monuments, archeological findings such as statues, epigraphs, fragments of architectural elements and furniture, and liturgical inventory of local churches. With abouut a hundred exhibits, dating chronologically from antiquity up to the 18th century, the museum contains among the most important collections of its type in Croatia. Founded in 2006., in addition to the permanent collection and temporary exhibitions, it is also the sire of concerts and other cultural events.
Offering a wide specter of cultural events, from celebrations of historical events to travelling exhibitions, such as the pop-art collection and the educational displays, the Lapidarium Museum represents a mandatory destination for art lovers and cultured visitors who wish to experience all the best that Novigrad has to offer today, as well as all it used to be in the past. Located near the main square, the Museum is open throughout the year. If you happen to be walking around the town core, set off on a journey through the history of the town and its surrounding areas in just a few steps of a casual stroll.
Permanent and valuable collections
The museum collection consists of three different sets. The Lapidarium has a collection of antique and early medieval stone monuments, while the cultural-historical collection consists of documents and 19th and 20th century works of art, gathered from Novigrad and its surroundings. The Rigo Gallery collection, which covers the 20th and 21st centuries, contains paintings, photographs and sculptures from Croatia and abroad. Probably the most valuable exhibit in the Lapidarium, which I would particularly like to draw your attention to in case you find yourself at the museum, is surely the Mauritius Ciborium. Dating back to the end of the 8th century, it represents a rare example of early Carolingian art in the region.
Although its main purpose is the preservation and presentation of stone monuments from the Novigrad area to the public, the Lapidarium Museum has turned into one of the key Istrian cultural destinations. If you want to truly delve into the stories behind the history of the exhibits, allow the museum host to guide you through its rooms and take you on a fantastic journey through the history of the Istrian pearl – Novigrad – one detail, one story at a time.
Besides the impressive collection, this museum is also famous as a fantastic example of a mix of contemporary architecture and old town core. The building, designed by the well-known architectural duo Rendić and Turato, is located in a park next to the Cathedral, and it consists of two black “boxes” and a hexagonal space designed to copy the form of the baptistery, thus putting the priceless Mauritius Ciborium into its “natural surroundings”. When musical and cultural events require it, the building turns into the stage, while the whole park becomes the auditorium; an experience you must try out if you get the chance.
The old Novigrad town core is fairly rich in green spaces for such an ancient town, and here it is underscored beautifully. Fitting right into the local architecture, the museum building definitely has a positive effect on the revitalization of the town center and it helps promote the cultural heritage in the spirit of modern times. When strolling around the main square you see a paved entrance to a distinctly modern-looking building, located right next to the Cathedral, head towards the Lapidaiurm gates and experience Novigrad in a whole new dimension, that of its rich past.