Herceg Novi History

Herceg Novi was founded 600 years ago (in 1382 year). The fortification facilities in the town – fortresses from the Turkish, Venetian, Spanish, and Austrian period- testify about those long gone days.

According to the most relevant historical data Herceg Novi was founded by the Bosnian King Tvrtko I Kotromanic, in the spring of 1382. Tvrtko I was also “the King of Serbs, Bosnia and the coast and west sides”. Herceg Novi, was established in the former district Dracevica, in the Topalj bay (a part of the present day area Topla near Herceg Novi), and its former name was Sveti Stefan (ST. STEFAN). Except the present day name (Herceg Novi), the town was also known by the names NOVI, CASTRUM NOVUM, CASTEL NUOVO…

The present day name the town got during the reign of Herceg Stjepan Vukcic Kosaca, better known by the name Herceg Stjepan, and the wider area with which he ruled was know as Herzegovina. In that period (XV century) Herceg Novi experiences the greatest development and bloom.

The town was conquered by the Turks in the 1482, and they ruled Herceg Novi for almost 200 years. More specifically, Turkish reign in Herceg Novi ends in 1687 year. From 1687 to 1797 Herceg Novi is being ruled by Venetia.

Historical data testify of the short Spanish interruption of the Turkish reign of the town. According to those data, Spaniards rule Herceg Novi from 1538 to 1539.

Except the Turks and the Spaniards, Herceg Novi is being ruled by other great conquerors, and the historical circumstances have made that on the territory of Herceg Novi many people and many civilianization have reverted leaving great marks on the history, culture and economical development of the town and the surrounding.

Herceg Novi is also being conquered by the Venetians, who ruled the town until the final ruin of the Venetian Republic in 1797 year. The period after that is marked by often changes of the administrations which are governing the town. In the year 1797 the first Austrian administration was established in Herceg Novi which lasted until 1806.

For a year (1806 – 1807) Herceg Novi is being ruled by the Russians. The period from 1807 to 1815 in Herceg Novi is characterized by the French government under the authority of Napoleon. In a very short interval from 1813 to 1814, Herceg Novi is being taken over by the temporary government of Montenegro and Boka Kotorska, which are already replaced by the Austro – Hungarian government in 1815. From 1815 to 1918 we have the second Austro – Hungarian reign over the town.

With the crash of the Austro – Hungarian state in 1918, in Herceg Novi Serbian army has arrived. At that time the town enters the former Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians, or as from 1929 it was called Kingdom Yugoslavia. In 1941 Herceg Novi is being occupied by the fascists, first the Italians (1941 – 1943), and then the Germans (1943 – 1944). The town is being liberated by the partisan troupes at the end of October 1944.


Herceg Novi is a town which is situated at the very end of the bay of Boka Kotorska. The appearance of the town, as the experts say, is the most interesting mixture of the Romanic, Byzantine, and oriental style which is harmonized into a Mediterranean look of the town. Herceg Novi today is the town of flowers, a real greenhouse in the open. On the slopes of its hills there used to pass Turkish caravans, and in the foothill of the slopes there used to be held duels, combats, and there were also performed public punishments of the subjected citizenship by the Turkish conquerors. Still, many people belonged to this town for centuries. It was loved by the emperors, kings enjoyed in it; many army commanders have passed on their warrior glory in it. Many stories today authentically testify of those ages, of the foundation of Herceg Novi’s islands, fortresses, places, churches, capes etc…

We will on an interesting way tell you a story about the origin of the cape Kobila (MARE), which is situated nearby the town. A long time ago on Lustica (today a peninsula which is located at the entrance in Bay of Boka Kotorska on the right side) there used to live a boy and a girl who loved each other very much. One day they decided to go shopping in Herceg Novi. Tired from a long walk they finally reached Novi, and got some rest. As in those days it was preferable to go back home during the same day, they started quickly to observe what is being sold on the market. At that time the town was ruled by the Turks, and one could see them everywhere. The girl was very pretty, so she was noticed on the market by a Turkish aga (despot) who liked her a lot. Aga decided to kidnap the girl and he made arrangements about that with his tyrants. The soldiers sneaked up on the girl and kidnapped her. When the boy noticed that, he started fighting with the Turks. Still, the Turks managed to control the boy easily, and soon after they executed him, and took the girl with them. From that day on, no one from her close family knew what exactly has happened to her, or where is she. Still, one day the girl showed up in her birth town, on Lustica, but she was pregnant. People from Lustica claimed that she was carrying aga’s child, and that she has failed to respect the man she was supposed to marry, who was killed by the Turks on the market. When the girl died on giving birth to her child, the boy that she gave birth to was taken care of a little bit by everyone. Everyone’s and no one’s – the child was grown up at the mercy of the village, but in time he became very rebellious and brave men. In his youth he mastered handling the weapons, he hated the Turks and he seriously craved to clear his mother’s name. When he grew up, he founded a highway company. He often invaded Novi (today Herceg Novi) with his company. He kidnapped their wives, and ran away with lots of gold and silver on Lustica. He ran over the places: Sutorina, Njivice, all the way to the place called Rose, where he had mares waiting for him, which were especially prepared for loadings with treasure and kidnapped Turkish women. Loaded with all of that, he would come on Lustica. Still, on one occasion Turks managed to turn tables on to him, and they killed him. However, even after his death the mares have continued to faithfully wait fro him on the same spot for days, years and even centuries. That place got the name cape Kobila (MARE) by that legend.

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