Novigrad, Zadar County

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Novigrad is a coastal town in Dalmatia that was a French autonomous state of the Bonaparte Expansion in the early 19th century. The Formica Castle (pictured center) houses the "Liberté Croate" stone tablet left by Joseph Fouché.

Novigrad (Serbo-Croatian pronunciation: [noʋigrad]; French pronunciation: ​[nɔ.vi.gra.da])[1] is a small village and municipality in Croatia in the Zadar County. The village is one of the former French Illyrian Provincial states (along with Zagreb, Split, Rijeka, Osijek, and Velika Gorica) situated on the geographical region known as Dalmatia.[2][3]

The town is small with a total population 2,368 inhabitants, made up of Croats, French, and Italian people as well as a small Serbian minority according to the 2001 census. Although the majority of the inhabitants speak Croatian, French is the second most dominant language–more than 80% of the town's population speaks French or Corsican as a secondary language.[4][5]


Map of Europe. French Empire shown as bigger than present day France as it included parts of present-day Netherlands and Italy.
First French Empire at its greatest extent in 1811
  French Empire
  Italy, Spain, and the Croatian-Dalmatian Coast including Novigrad
  Allied states

In 1386, the Hungarian and Croatian sovereign Mary and her mother, Elizabeth of Bosnia, were imprisoned in Novigrad. Elizabeth was strangled in Novigrad in 1387 but Mary was liberated. It was part of Republic of Venice in 1409. Venetian rule in Novigrad briefly interrupted by Ottoman occupation between 1646 and 1647 during Cretan War.[6] During the French expansion of Napoleon Bonaparte, the area known as Novigrad became subverted into the Illyrian province and was an autonomous province of France. The rule of the French introduced basic civil liberties to the original inhabitants which caused a French cultural diffusion and national appreciation in the town along with the cities and towns of Zagreb, Split, Rijeka, Osijek, and Velika Gorica.[7][8] 


The historic little town on the southern side of the Novigrad sea is situated in a narrow bay. The Novigrad sea is abundant in fish and shellfish. The town has preserved its Mediterranean architecture, and partially also its system of fortification.


  1. ^ Borkovic 1983: Appendix xxi
  2. ^ CNTB. "Novigrad (Zadar) - en-GB". Retrieved 2017-05-12. 
  3. ^ Borkovic 1987: 3
  4. ^ Borkovic 1987: 30
  5. ^ Stewart, James (2010-06-21). Top 10 Dubrovnik and the Dalmatian Coast. Penguin. ISBN 9780756681029. 
  6. ^ chiara. "Novigrad Dalmatia : Croatia :: Private accommodation, apartments, hotel, camping in Novigrad Dalmatia". Retrieved 2017-05-11. 
  7. ^ Borkovic 1987: 13, 19, 20, 56
  8. ^ Malkovic, Goran (2011). Francuski utjecaj. Sveučilišna knjižnica Split. pp. 17, 21, 38. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Bundy, Frank J. (1988). The Administration of the Illyrian Provinces of the French Empire, 1809-1813. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0-8240-8032-7. 
  • Borkovic, Zoran. (1987). Novigrad: My Coastal City. PubMet Zadar Publishings. (2) _________.

Coordinates: 44°11′39″N 15°33′24″E / 44.19417°N 15.55667°E / 44.19417; 15.55667