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Novigrad, Istria

There was an ancient city in the broad area of what is now Novigrad (Aemona). In the 5th-6th centuries it was called Neapolis. From the early Middle Ages and right up until 1828 it was the seat of the Bishopric, from 1270 it was under the Venetians until their fall, and it suffered a good deal of damage from the Turks in 1687. The old city centre is situated on a peninsula. The triple-naved basilica of St. Pelagius dates from the 8th century, and the present church was built on the foundations of the old basilica in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Beneath the presbytery there is a late Romanesque crypt. In the sacristy of the present parish church, the former basilica, 15th century antiphonaries are kept with their simple and beautiful initials. Novigrad has retained its medieval structure and layout, with narrow, winding streets and small shops. The fortifications belong to the medieval era: the town wall still stands with its battlements and two round towers. There are examples of secular architecture from the time of the Venetian empire, such as the town loggia and several houses built in Venetian Gothic style. The collection of stone monuments was founded in 1897 beside the cathedral. Since 1964 it has been housed in the Rigo Palace, which belongs to the Urizio family. On the first floor there is a collection of ancient gravestones and secular monuments from Novigrad and the surrounding area. There is a valuable collection of Byzantine and medieval fragments and woven ornamentation, as well as the remains of stone church furniture and decorative carvings. Particularly important are the remains of a stone pyx engraved with the name of Bishop Mauricia (about 780) and pictures of mythological animals. In the courtyard of the palace there is a private collection of stone monuments, from various sources, which belonged to the Urizio family.
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