Nova Gorica

Nova Gorica
Town and Municipality

Location of the Municipality of Nova Gorica in Slovenia
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)
Climate Cfa

Nova Gorica (pronounced [ˈnɔ̀ːʋa ɡɔˈɾìːt͡sa];[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 planned town, built according to the principles of modernist architecture after 1947, 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, the Gorizia Hills and the northwestern Karst Plateau from their traditional regional urban centre. Since 1948, Nova Gorica has replaced Gorizia as the principal urban centre of the Goriška or Gorizia region, as the northern part of the Slovenian Littoral has been traditionally called.[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.


See also: Julian March

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 Province of Gorizia to Yugoslavia. The town of Gorizia itself, however, remained under Italian rule. The new border cut the city off from its northern and eastern suburbs. Around 40% of the municipality's territory was transferred to Yugoslavia, including the suburbs of Solkan, Šempeter, Kromberk, Rožna Dolina, and Pristava. Together, these areas had a population of around 10,000 (almost exclusively Slovenes, with a tiny Friulian-speaking minority), or around one fifth of the municipality's population. However, they lacked a cohesive structure, and were poorly connected. In order to overcome this problem, the Communist authorities of the Socialist Republic of Slovenia decided to build a new settlement that would connect these suburbs into a new urban space. The new town was called Nova Gorica or "New Gorizia". The project had the personal backing of Marshal Tito, Yugoslavia's Communist leader. The project was commissioned to the Slovenian architect Edvard Ravnikar, a former pupil of Le Corbusier. The first projects were laid out in winter of 1947, and the construction began at the beginning of the following year.

1969 postcard of Nova Gorica

The city was formally established as an urban municipality in 1952, incorporating the older settlements of Solkan, Kromberk and Rožna Dolina, which thus became, somewhat reluctantly, suburbs of Nova Gorica. The building of the town continued throughout the 1950s and 1960s, reaching the current extension by the mid 1980s. In the early 1990s, all of the aforementioned older suburbs acquired again the status of independent settlements. This was however a purely symbolic act that only affected the official statistics on population: because of this, 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

Nova Gorica hosts one of the three 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.

Kostanjevica Hill

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

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

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

Notable residents

Arts and sciences

Politics and public service


Show business


International relations

Twin towns — sister cities

Nova Gorica is twinned with:

See also


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