Nova Gorica

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Nova Gorica
Town and Municipality
Nova Gorica 0720069 1600x1062 77.jpg
Location of the Municipality of Nova Gorica in Slovenia
Location of the Municipality of Nova Gorica in Slovenia
Nova Gorica is located in Slovenia
Nova Gorica
Nova Gorica
Location of the Town of Nova Gorica in Slovenia
Coordinates: 45°57′21.18″N 13°38′35.67″E / 45.9558833°N 13.6432417°E / 45.9558833; 13.6432417Coordinates: 45°57′21.18″N 13°38′35.67″E / 45.9558833°N 13.6432417°E / 45.9558833; 13.6432417
Country  Slovenia
 • Mayor Matej Arčon (independent)
 • Total 309.0 km2 (119.3 sq mi)
Population (2002)[1]
 • Total 32,763
 • Density 110/km2 (270/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+01)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+02)

Nova Gorica (pronounced [ˈnɔ̀ːʋa ɡɔˈrìːt͡sa];[2] population: 13,852 (town); 21,082 (incl. suburbs); 31,000 (municipality))[3] is a town and a municipality in western Slovenia, on the border with Italy. Nova Gorica is a new town, built according to the principles of modernist architecture after 1948, when the Paris Peace Treaty established a new border between Yugoslavia and Italy, leaving nearby Gorizia outside the borders of Yugoslavia and thus cutting off the Soča Valley, the Vipava Valley, and the northwestern Karst Plateau from their traditional regional urban centre. Nova Gorica is the principal urban centre of the traditional region of Goriška in the Slovenian Littoral.[4]

Since May 2011, Nova Gorica has been joined together with Gorizia and Šempeter-Vrtojba in a common trans-border metropolitan zone, administered by a joint administration board.[5]


View of Nova Gorica and Solkan

The name Nova Gorica means 'new Gorizia'. However, the origin of the name Gorizia/Gorica itself is Slavic. The common local term for the town is Gorica (i.e., 'Gorizia'), while residents tend to refer to the neighboring Italian town as Stara Gorica 'old Gorizia'. This use is also reflected in Slovenian license plates (GO for Gorica), as well as in the name of the local association football club ND Gorica. The word gorica is a diminutive form of the Slovene common noun gora 'hill'. In archaic Slovene, it also meant 'vineyard'. It is a common toponym in Slovenia and in other areas of Slovene settlement.


In 1947, following World War II, Italy signed a peace treaty with the Allies, including Socialist Yugoslavia. The treaty transferred most of the Slovene-inhabited areas of the Italian Province of Gorizia to Yugoslavia. The town of Gorizia, itself, however, remained under Italian rule. The new border was drawn in a way that cut the city off its north-eastern surroundings, and left around 40% of the territory of the municipality to Yugoslavia, including the suburbs of Solkan, Šempeter, Kromberk, Rožna Dolina, and Pristava. The Communist authorities of the Socialist Republic of Slovenia therefore decided to build a new settlement in the area just along the new border, linking the former suburbs of Gorizia into a new urban space, named Nova Gorica or New Gorizia. The first projects were laid out in late 1947, and the construction began at the beginning of the following year. The urban project for the new town was designed by the architect Edvard Ravnikar, who envisioned a town built according to the principles of modernist architecture, following the visions of the French architect Le Corbusier.

1969 postcard of Nova Gorica

The city was formally established as an urban municipality in 1952, and it incorporated the much older settlements of Solkan, Kromberk and Rožna Dolina, turning them into suburbs of the new town. The building of the town continued throughout the 1950s and 1960s, and it reached the current extension by the late 1970s and 1980s. In the early 1990s, all the aforementioned older suburbs acquired again the status of independent settlements. This was a purely symbolic act that only affected the official statistics on population: because of this formal act, Nova Gorica dropped from the list of 10 largest towns in Slovenia. In nevertheless remains the second largest urban conglomeration in western Slovenia, after Koper.

Culture and education[edit]

Nova Gorica hosts one of the four national theatres in Slovenia. The Museum of Goriška is also located in the town's Kromberk district, hosted in the Kromberk Castle.

The University of Nova Gorica is located in the suburb of Rožna Dolina. The Nova Gorica Grammar School, located in the city centre, is one of the most renowned high schools in Slovenia.

Nova Gorica hosts one of the 9 professional theatres in Slovenia, and one of the three to hold the title "National Theatre". It is considered as one of the best in the country.

Kostanjevica Hill[edit]

To the south of the town stands Kostanjevica Hill, home to the Church of the Annunciation of Our Lady and a 17th-century Franciscan monastery with rich treasures from the past.[6] The last members of the Bourbons, the French royal family, are buried in a crypt beneath the church (Charles X himself, and members of his family and entourage including his son Louis-Antoine de France, and his grandson Henri d'Artois, nephew of Louis (neither Louis-Antoine nor Henri ever reigned as kings)). He fled France following the revolution in 1830, finding refuge in Gorizia, and eventually eternal peace. Also buried there is Pierre Louis Jean Casimir, a Bourbon nobleman who also died in exile (in 1839).[7]

Nova Gorica viewed from Sveta Gora.

Sveta Gora[edit]

Opposite Kostanjevica Hill, north of the town is Sveta Gora (Holy Mountain), a peak of 682 m that has attracted pilgrims for 450 years. The view from there is exceptional, and on a clear day visitors can see as far as Istria, Venice, the Dolomites, and the Kamnik and Julian Alps. The mountain top is home to a magnificent basilica, where concerts are occasionally held, a Franciscan monastery, and a museum of the Battles of the Isonzo.


The municipality of Nova Gorica is governed by a mayor, elected every 4 years by popular vote, and a City Council of 32 members. Both in local and national elections, Nova Gorica has been considered an electoral stronghold of the left, in particular of the Social Democrats. Between the early 1990s and the mid-2000s, the two major political parties in the town were the Social Democrats and the Liberal Democracy of Slovenia, both considered as center-left parties. Since 1994, these two parties have been alternating in power on the local level, running candidates against each other and forming coalitions with smaller, center right parties in order to gain absolute majority in the City Council.

In the national elections, conservative parties (especially the Slovenian Democratic Party) tend to receive better results than in local elections, although remaining behind the left wing forces. The Nova Gorica electoral district is the home district of Borut Pahor, former Prime Minister and current President of Slovenia; it was also the only district in the country where the Social Democrats won the plurality of votes in the 2011 elections.

Districts of the municipality[edit]

The municipality of Nova Gorica is divided into 44 settlements (naselja):

Notable residents[edit]

International relations[edit]

Twin towns — sister cities[edit]

Nova Gorica is twinned with:

See also[edit]


External links[edit]