The Slovenian Gorica
Nova Gorica (literally "New Gorica") is a small town in Slovenia (around 21.000 inhabitants) located along the border with Italy very close to the old (now Italian) town Gorizia (Gorica). This is one of the youngest towns in Slovenia. After the WWII, Gorizia/Gorica came under Italy and the Slovenian population, who is predominant in the area, lost it's natural cultural and economic center, that's why the government of Yugoslavia (Slovenia was a federal republic in that country) decided to build a new Gorizia on the other side of the border. 1948 is the birth of the Slovenian Nova Gorica, which became an important center of that part of Western Slovenia (source).
✰ The beginnings of the town
Nova Gorica is by all means not a beautiful town, because it lacks centuries of history and does not have a historic old center. It was designed by one of the famous Slovenian architects Edvard Ravnikar, who had revolutionary concepts for a town, that would outshine the old Gorica. But unfortunately, that didn't happen due to lack of money and lack of real interest by the local leaders. He wanted to have a big 80m wide and 2km long avenue in the middle of the town, which would be the center of all public life. He wanted Nova Gorica to be a "garden town", a new type of a Mediterranean town designed for the people, that would offer a big quality of life. Today's Nova Gorica lacks a real center, it's pretty clustered and it looks like one big residential area or a big suburb of the Italian Gorizia. Of course some locals would disagree with that, but that was my impression, when I walked and drove around Nova Gorica on that hot August day.
✰ Developments and random
Nova Gorica has one historic building and that's the old railway station. Another noteworthy building is the municipality seat and the modern library. But in recent years Nova Gorica developed in the center of the gambling industry in Slovenia. It is the seat of many casinos, one of the most famous is Perla. Many Italians come to gamble here, the gambling has made the town wealthier. And the proximity to Italy also attracts many Italians to shop here. When my girlfriend and I went to a shopping mall, I saw many Slovenian clerks speaking Italian with customers.
Most people in Slovenia call Nova Gorica simply Gorica, while the original Gorica (Gorizia) is called Stara Gorica (Old Gorica). The abbreviation for Nova Gorica is "GO". Even though Nova Gorica is not a beautiful old town, it's known for very friendly and hospitable people. And the girls are said to be very pretty there. And although it's not located near the sea, it still has a very Mediterranean climate with hot summers and mild winters.
✰ Our short visit
My girlfriend and I didn't walk around Nova Gorica at all, we were so tired, so we decided to find a shopping mall and take a break. It was inhumanely hot that day, we needed to cool off. So we went to Qlandia, a lovely new shopping mall found at one of Nova Gorica's suburbs.
Apparently taking photos inside the mall wasn't allowed, but we were in such a touristy mode, I just took some naturally. A security guy came after me, when I headed for the toilet to tell me not to take photos. Interestingly, I saw some other people taking them and he did not do anything (shrugs). I guess a big DSLR scares people, doesn't it?
An hour later we headed towards Kanal ob Soči.
My rating of Nova Gorica:
Great place for photos ✰✰✰✰✰
Great place for photos ✰✰✰✰✰
Well preserved and clean ✰✰✰✰✰
Toilets, parking, souvenirs ✰✰✰✰✰