Herceg Novi Old Town

Herceg Novi, Montenegro

Herceg Novi was founded (on a former small fishing village, existing since Roman Empire times) as a fortress in 1382 by first Bosnian King Stjepan Tvrtko I and was called Sveti Stefan or Castelnuovo. The Turks conquered Herceg Novi in 1482, and ruled for 200 years, until 1687. However, there was a short pause between 1538 and 1539 when it was held by the Spaniards before they were defeated in the Siege of Castelnuovo. Turkey ruled again until 1687, from then until 1797, the town was ruled by the Venetian Republic.

The Herceg Novi old town is amazing. It is on a fairly steep hill that leads all the way down to the sea. Wandering through the small stairways to the various plazas and fortresses is a many hour adventure. There are both Orthodox and Catholic churches that are well worth visiting.

Herceg Novi has two town squares, including the small, stone-paved Belavista (nice view), which is easy to get to from the main town square, Trg Nikole Đurkovića, once referred to as Salt Square, by walking up the stairs that lead through the town’s clock tower. Here, old stone buildings encircle the delightful church St. Arhangel Mihailo, a building unique in its architecture. This Orthodox Church is neo-Byzantine styled with Gothic and Romanesque details.

The Kanli Kula fortress dominating the old town doubles as an open-air theatre and is worth visiting mainly for the splendid views of the town and the Kotor bay.

The Spanjola fortress located higher up the mountain dates back to 16th century. Take a small street going upwards across from the Kanli Kula fortress.

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4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Karol-Julien WILD (4 months ago)
Great old town, I think I could live there! The atmosphere is exceptional. I think it’s a must see destination!!!
Poli Max (5 months ago)
Clean, staff and personal friendly and candly. A lot of opportunity for traveling. Good and tasty food. Large room. Supermarket and shops nearby.
Vladimir Verkhovetskiy (5 months ago)
Good place to walk! Old town, cool church, nice view! Very good.
Sanja Pesic (6 months ago)
The only thing i didn't like is the way how they did lights on the Tower. Everything else was nice and pleasent. Crowded, with music in the background, sea smell in the air...must visit if you are near around.
Chris Baughman (PaxGalaxy) (9 months ago)
Wonderful shops and great food! The atmosphere is so relaxed and the local residents are very friendly and willing to help anyone.
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Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

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Lorca Castle

Castle of Lorca (Castillo de Lorca) is a fortress of medieval origin constructed between the 9th and 15th centuries. It consists of a series of defensive structures that, during the Middle Ages, made the town and the fortress an impregnable point in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula. Lorca Castle was a key strategic point of contention between Christians and Muslims during the Reconquista.

Archaeological excavations have revealed that the site of the castle has been inhabited since Neolithic times.

Muslim Era

It has not been determined exactly when a castle or fortress was first built on the hill. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir). During Muslim rule, Lorca Castle was an impregnable fortress and its interior was divided into two sections by the Espaldón Wall. In the western part, there was an area used to protect livestock and grain in times of danger. The eastern part had a neighbourhood called the barrio de Alcalá.

After Reconquista

Lorca was conquered by the Castilian Infante Don Alfonso, the future Alfonso X, in 1244, and the fortress became a key defensive point against the Kingdom of Granada. For 250 years, Lorca Castle was a watchpoint on the border between the Christian kingdom of Murcia and the Muslim state of Granada.

Alfonso X ordered the construction of the towers known as the Alfonsina and Espolón Towers, and strengthened and fixed the walls. Hardly a trace of the Muslim fortress remained due to this reconstruction. Muslim traces remain in the foundation stones and the wall known as the muro del Espaldón.

The Jewish Quarter was found within the alcazaba, the Moorish fortification, separated from the rest of the city by its walls. The physical separation had the purpose of protecting the Jewish people in the town from harm, but also had the result of keeping Christians and Jews separate, with the Christians inhabiting the lower part of town.

The remains of the Jewish Quarter extended over an area of 5,700 square m, and 12 homes and a synagogue have been found; the synagogue dates from the 14th century and is the only one found in the Murcia. The streets of the town had an irregular layout, adapted to the landscape, and is divided into four terraces. The synagogue was in the central location, and around it were the homes. The homes were of rectangular shape, with various compartmentalized rooms. The living quarters were elevated and a common feature was benches attached to the walls, kitchens, stand for earthenware jars, or cupboards.

Modern history

With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. In 1931 Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument.

Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.