We bring you the inspiring story of the origin of its name, an invitation to witness the most beautiful sunset and much, much more!
What is the first thing you think of when someone mentions Novigrad? Is it the mighty old town walls and the long pier? Or is it perhaps mandrač (small port) and the lovely Nautika marina? The gourmets among you will surely first think of the unique kapešante (pilgrim scallops) and other local delicacies that can be sampled at the numerous events in Novigrad all year round. The minds of history buffs will probably go to the attractive Lapidarium Museum first. If all of this seems to paint a picture of a fascinating town, hold on, we have more! Interesting stories and legends you have not yet heard of! Are you ready?
What’s in a name?
First things first – the name of the town. Literally translated it would read “New city“. So the name itself suggests the town got it when it was new. Still, where does it come from? Legend has it that in its place there used to be, in ancient times, a settlement under the name of Emona. As this settlement sank, a new town was built on the site, called Neapolis (neos is Greek for new and polis for town, city). Later it was renamed Civitas Nova which in time turned into Cittanova and, in Croatian, into Novigrad. Contemporary science is likely to disregard all theories which mention the name Emona, but it still stresses that the existence of Novigrad in the Late Antique period is indisputable. And the first written mention of the town of Novigrad dates back all the way to the year 599 AD!
The story of the St. Pelagio Bell tower
Everyone who has visited Novigrad at least once has most certainly found themselves underneath the impressive bell tower that provides a wonderful panoramic view of the town and its environs. But not all are familiar with the story of the town’s patron saint being mounted on its top – twice. At the beginning of the 20th century the town bell tower was hit by lightning and the monument on top of it was destroyed, thus leaving the church temporarily without a patron saint. In 1913 a new statue of St. Pelagio, built by the donations of the town’s citizens, was erected on top of the bell tower. It was mounted there by Pelagio Tuiach, later awarded for courage. While he was mounting the statues, he prayed for a blessing of a newborn and amazingly enough, the following year a son was born to him, on August 28, which the day of St. Pelagio. No wonder he named his son – Pelagio!
Parks and sunsets
Despite the fact that it is situated on a peninsula and surrounded by a defensive wall hundreds of years old, as well as filled with many colorful stone buildings divided by streets in which there is always something interesting going on, Novigrad is very specific due to its green areas. Did you know that in the old town core you will find a surprising number of parks for a coastal town – an impressive seven of them?! These are ideal places to sit on a bench, relax and rest in the cool shade until the sun sets. And speaking of sunsets, the ones in Novigrad are considered to be among the most beautiful in the entire Adriatic. There are very few who can remain unmoved at the sight of the fiery sea underneath the town walls in the western part of town! Every sunset in Novigrad is a unique photographing opportunity as every single one of them is visually unique…
The tourism tradition
The history of Novigrad is rich – ancient times, sacral edifices, a fishing tradition and last, but not least – tourism. A collection of old postcards reveals interesting tidbits about the life of the town in mid 20th century. On one of them you can see the Velika ulica (Grand street) which used to be the main street of Novigrad and on it, one can see a store marked Butiga od Amerikani (American’s shop) – named by the residents themselves because one could get anything in it! Today, Novigrad abounds with souvenir shops, restaurants and other tourist objects from which visitors can take away unforgettable memories of this beloved town.
Novigrad has become the favorite summer destination of numerous tourists, but maybe you will find it interesting that once upon a time well-off residents of Novigrad used to leave the city during the summer months. To avoid the heat they would relocate to Brtonigla which boast colder climate so that is where summer residences were located. In the cave of Mramornica one can still find and see the signatures of children who have visited it at the end of the 19th and the beginning of 20th century!