The Youngest Town in Slovenia and its Distinctiveness
Situated on the border to Italy, Nova Gorica is a unique place even in a wider European context.
It was built only after the Second World War, and has been evolving its peculiar, ever-youthful identity ever since, drawing inspiration from several cultures coming into contact at this specific junction of worlds. If we would have to describe Nova Gorica with as little words as possible, we would call it a town of variety and roses. In 2025 the European Capital of Culture (ECC) will be hosted by Slovenia and Germany, while the Slovenian cultural capital is being jointly represented by the two Goricas, Nova Gorica in Slovenia and Gorizia in Italy.
The foundation stone for Nova Gorica was laid on 13 June 1948; in the wake of the postwar delineation of the territory, the town of Gorica (today Gorizia, Italy) – the heart of the region – was assigned to Italy.
Right next to the western country border, almost touching the old Gorica (today in Italy), a new urban downtown heralding a new era was built in the postwar surge of enthusiasm.
The modern town plan boasts parks in which lovely benches beckon to slow down and take a break under the canopy of diverse park trees. Walking through town, one cannot help but admire the buildings designed by foremost Slovenian postwar architects. The myriad of delicate rose shrubs covering the town is another recognisable town feature. A stop in any of the small bars or eateries will renew you energy. Everything is within walking distance: galleries, the theatre, the library, venues for social gatherings, entertainment and relaxation.
Where worlds intersect
Geographically speaking, Nova Gorica is rather unique. Over the centuries, the Germanic, Romance and Slavic culture challenged and merged with each other. There has also been a notable Jewish presence for a period. This area has seen fierce military action and front line soldiers from diverse ethnical backgrounds were under heavy fire on both sides during armed conflicts. This is where the Mediterranean meets the Alps and Dinarides, their specific scents and flavours meeting and meshing. This and more can be sensed and felt in Nova Gorica. The cosmopolitan flair of the famous casinos, entertainment venues and hotels beckons visitors to experience the most distinctive part of the town's tourist offer.
Stories from another time
A stone's throw from the town centre you can find many of the town's cultural landmarks. Solkan, the next town over, boasts the impressive Solkan railway bridge with the largest stone arch in the world, which crosses over Soča River. The marvellous Soča River is flanked by Sveta Gora – a pilgrimage site with the famous basilica and monastery – to one side and Sabotin Hill with the Peace Park to the other. The park is dedicated to the memory of the fighting that took place on the Isonzo Front during the First World War. Across town, perched on a hilltop, the Kostanjevica Monastery, housing the extensive Škrabec library, and the crypt of the last descendants of the French Bourbon dynasty beckon visitors to make the walk up. Scattered over town are various museum collections of the Goriški Museum: Kromberk Castle, Vila Bartolomei and the Museum Exhibition Kolodvor which constitutes part of the Border Museum. Europe Square, located right on the state border in front of the railway station, is a symbol of the conurbation of Nova Gorica and Gorizia. A particularly striking feature of the town, it doubles as the venue for many town events.
Today, Nova Gorica and Gorizia have merged seamlessly; the old town in Italy spilling over to the new town in Slovenia without border crossing points, existing together in harmony.
Explosion of Flavours
The variety of Nova Gorica can also be quite literally tasted. The Vipava Valley spoils its inhabitants and guests year round with excellent produce, premium wines and masterfully prepared rustic dishes. A particular highlight of the gastronomy in the area around Novia Gorica is the radicchio from Goriška (sukénski régut in the local dialect) which is ripe and ready in stiff winter, adding a tangy twist to the local cuisine. Outstanding restaurants, inns and agritourism farms in and around Nova Gorica provide gastronomic delights galore. The town is literally a foodie central.
Information and guided tours: TIC Nova Gorica: +386 (0)5 330 46 00; +386 (0)41 460 217; firstname.lastname@example.org