Croatia Captured Showcase

- Old Town Novigrad na Dobri -

Novigrad na Dobri is a small village in Karlovac County, Croatia, notable for its historical significance. The village, whose name translates to "New Town on the Dobra River," is home to a 14th-century castle that was once the property of the prominent Croatian noble family, the Frankopans.

Photos taken on November 23rd, 2023

Fun fact no 1

The castle in Novigrad na Dobri showcases medieval architecture and has been a significant landmark since the 14th century.

Fun fact no 2

It was a property of the Frankopan family, one of the most influential noble families in Croatian history.

Fun fact no 3

The village's location along the Dobra River adds to its picturesque and strategic importance.

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The Old Town of Novigrad na Dobri, situated in a picturesque landscape of wooded and green hills above the river Dobra, is now a ruin of a once significant medieval town. The old Karolinska road leading through the town, across the river Dobra and over the stone bridge built in the early 18th century along with the road itself (1726-1730), signifies the town's historical importance.

The town of Novigrad na Dobri, located on the opposite side of the river, with its parish church of the Assumption of Mary, an old school, and municipality buildings, speaks to the administrative significance of Novigrad in the past. Its history spans from the Middle Ages to the present day, with lasting impacts still felt. The exact date when the town acquired its current name is unknown, but it is known to have developed over time from a defensive burg to a magnificent castle. The area of Novigrad was mentioned as early as the 13th century under the name Dobra, likely hosting an ancient Croatian parish. The most notable period in Novigrad's history is associated with the Krčki Frankopan princes, although the exact date they came into possession of the town is uncertain (14th century?). The town remained under their ownership until their downfall in the “Zrinsko-Frankopan conspiracy” in 1671 against the Habsburg court's politics. Subsequently, the town was looted and subjugated by Baron Sauer's Karlovac military border forces led by General J. Herbstein.

Ownership of the town changed hands several times following the Frankopan period, including General Herbstein until 1689, the Order of Malta until 1746, Baron S. Patačić and his descendants until 1809, and then by Major Mirko pl. Haraminčić after the French arrived in Croatia. Later owners included the Karlovac landowner Turk, who renovated the town at the end of the 19th century. From 1919, the town was owned by Baron Zdenko Turković, and from 1939, by the Banovina of Croatia. During World War II, on January 4, 1944, the town was burnt down, leading to its rapid decline.

Historically, Novigrad was a spacious Romanesque burg, a true Frankopan town marked by simplicity and cubic closure, unlike the more playful architecture typical of central European towns of that era. The castle's layout is an elongated pentagon with uneven sides, pointed towards the northeast. It featured four roughly semicircular towers of smaller dimensions, and the fifth, the largest tower, built on the steepest cliff, was circular from the outside and square from the inside with 2-meter-thick walls and vaults. This tower, possibly the first construction, is recognized as a Romanesque defensive tower.

In the 15th century, with increasing emphasis on living comfort, residential spaces were expanded, a staircase and wooden galleries were built, and a chapel was added on the upper floor of the western tower, transforming the burg into a Renaissance castle. However, due to Turkish incursions in the 15th and 16th centuries, the town maintained its defensive function.

From the 2nd World War onwards, the town has been systematically declining, losing its valuable stone materials and being overgrown with weeds, diminishing its dominant position in the landscape. In 1969, the Regional Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments in Zagreb registered the Old Town of Novigrad as an immovable cultural monument under number 68. Since the establishment of the new Croatian state in the 1990s, initiatives for the restoration of the ruins have emerged, and in 1999, the reconstruction began, led by the Friends of Novigrad na Dobri Society “Frankopan” and the Ministry of Culture, with supervision by the Conservation Department in Karlovac. The aim is to preserve the existing state, conserve and reconstruct the most valuable parts of the town for tourist visits.

Today, the southern tower has been fully reconstructed with a built viewpoint, and reconstruction continues on other parts of the Old Town.