The town of Novigrad – a pearl of the Mediterranean Sea

The small town of Novigrad, on the west coast of Istria, is often described as a true Mediterranean pearl. Novigrad has so much to offer – from gorgeous beaches and rich cultural heritage to excellent restaurants and accommodations. Among the impressive characteristics of Novigrad are certainly its marina and the Hotel Nautica, which combined are the perfect starting point for exploring Novigrad and this part of Istria. Novigrad has grown from a once quiet fishing village into an attractive tourist destination that continues to maintain its rich tradition. Although Novigrad is very popular among tourists from all over the world, it has kept the charm and typical calmness of a Mediterranean town. Below, we will highlight some of the most interesting attractions in Novigrad.

Attractions in Novigrad

The old town of Novigrad (1)

Explore the historical centre of Novigrad. Here you will find yourself in the middle of a network of colourful streets, surrounded by old alleys, churches and walls, a picturesque fishing harbour and the wonderful park of the diocese of Novigrad.

It is the only loggia in Istria situated directly by the sea. It was probably built in the 16th century and renovated in 1860 and 1930. We assume that it was built on an older structure of the defensive walls (the tower). The original roof of the loggia had four inclined roofs. On the west side, next to the loggia, there is a semicircular passage “Porta a marina” leading to the sea. The arched construction of the gateway carries the year 1649 in the keystone, but in the 19th century it was moved here from the north-western part of the town, when the new city park was established.

The church is located on the historic cemetery and is an example of Roman sacral architecture. The structure with three naves, the gable roof and a characteristic elongated apsis of the choir in the middle of the sanctuary are very unusual. It dates from between the 9th and 13th centuries. Besides the presumed Carolingian influence, the church shows characteristics of regional sacred architecture from the early medieval period. In the interior, there are two impressive late Baroque candelabrum angel statues and an altarpiece dedicated to St. Agatha.

Obitelj Rigo potječe iz izvornog novigradskog plemstva, a nositelji grofovskih odličja su od 1743. godine. Tijekom stoljeća, imali su značajne uloge u javnom životu grada, obavljajući ključne gradske funkcije. Kao pravo urbano plemstvo, 1770. godine odlučili su uložiti u izgradnju nove impozantne gradske palače. Ova zgrada predstavlja izvanredan primjer “srednjoeuropskog baroka” koji je putem “terezijanskog” Trsta ušao na istarsko primorje.

The community church of St. Pelagius and St. Maximus is a basilica that testifies about one of the most significant periods in the history of Novigrad. Its original shape dates back to the early Christian period, when the diocese of Novigrad was founded. The actual neoclassical facade was completed in 1935. In its “golden” ages from the 5th and 6th centuries until 1831, the church served as an episcopal cathedral, and Novigrad was the centre of the diocese of Novigrad. The original bell tower at the front of the cathedral was removed in 1873 in order to build a new freestanding bell tower, which today is a well-known symbol of Novigrad. Inside the church, the charming ceiling frescoes, the impressive baroque altar, the large church organs and the elevated choir are fascinating. Under the choir loft there is a rare (early) Romanesque crypt, the only one of this type in Istria and very rare in Croatia.

It is a very successful example of how contemporary architecture can be successfully implemented in a preserved historical city centre. The museum is the first in Istria to be remarkable for its functional and aesthetically impressive design. It contains a permanent presentation of archaeological monuments, particularly the stone remains of the former cathedral of Novigrad from the pre-roman era.

Novigrad is definitely a true Mediterranean pearl that is a unique combination of rich history, culture and Mediterranean flavours. The adorable town offers the perfect combination for rest and relaxation. Every part of the city tells a story that will remain in your memory. Between walking through the historical alleys and tasting gastronomic offers, Novigrad will surely enchant you with its charm.