NOVIGRAD - Dalmatia

Tourist Office of the Municipality of Novigrad







Novigrad is a picturesque and historical town located on the southern coast of the Novigrad Sea, in a long and steep bay. Its old nucleus is situated on the northeast side of the bay, on the slopes of a hill under a fortress (Fortica) and surrounded by ramparts. The locality has preserved to great measure its medieval construction appearance.

It was first settled in the Bronze Age, with a hill-fort settlement on the site of the present fortress since the Liburnians settled here. The fortification and settlement continued with life in the Roman period and even after the Croats moved into their homeland in the 7th century.

Novigrad acquired its present name from the Roman tower which was renovated in 1220 and named Castrum Novum. In 1282, it was rebuilt from its foundations by the Ličko-krbavski princes Kurjanovići, owners of Novigrad at the time. In the 14th century, the north-eastern part of present Ravni kotari was under the management of this castrum. Queen Elisabeth, the wife of Croat-Hungarian King Ludovc of Anjou and their daughter Mary, the fiancée of Sigismund of Luxembourg were imprisoned in this fortress from 1386-1387. According to legend, Queen Elisabeth embroidered a gold chasuble for the Novigrad church during her captivity and it is still preserved in the parish church of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Novigrad. In 1393, Ban Butko Kurjaković enlarged the Church of St. Kate which then belonged to the Franciscan monastery of the Bosnian Vicariate. Novigrad was under Venetian government from 1409 and in the 15th century it became the centre of the district. Due to the incursion of the Turks at the end of the 15th and the beginning of the 16th centuries, the Kurjaković fortress was reinforced leaving parts of the earlier castrum preserved. During the presence of the Turks, Novigrad lost its district area but remained outside Turkish authority, and along with Zadar these two towns were the only ones in North Dalmatia to continue with normal life.

In 1551, the Old Croatian custom right was recorded and preserved, and it was implemented in the Croatian area between Knin and Nin as it is written at the beginning of the Statute Book.

At the end of the 17th cent., after the liberation of the Ravni kotari from the Turks, Novigrad once again became a prominent administration center of the larger area. A consular representative body of the Papal States and Austria was established here at the end of the 18th century. In 1911 it became a municipality. Presently the municipality of Novigrad has been reduced to three localities: Novigrad, Paljuv and Pridraga. It was also the center of the Vicariate of the Nin diocese and today it is the center of the deanery.

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