STA, 10 May 2019 - Novo Mesto, an idyllic town in the south-east, has joined an ever longer list of places in Slovenia closing their centres to traffic. Following nearly two years of renovation that revealed numerous archaeological artefacts, the Main Square was reopened in a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday.
Ahead of the ceremony, Environment and Spatial Planning Minister Simon Zajc said that the country would see more similar projects in the future. These will give "towns a new and more beautiful image and inspire a new way of life".
He praised the new traffic regime, which only allows pedestrians and bicyclers to the Main Square, while cars and other vehicles will only be permitted during limited delivery periods.
Back to the future. Postcard of the square in 1919. Source: Wikipedia, public domain
The renovation cost nearly EUR 7 million, with EUR 4.6 million coming from the EU cohesion funds.
A month ago, the Novo Mesto-based Dolenjska Museum opened an exhibition dedicated to the archaeological finds uncovered during renovation works.
The excavations that preceded the renovation works found proof of settlement in the Novo Mesto city centre dating back as far as prehistory.
Archaeologists found ceramics and the remnants of a road from prehistoric times. Cobble stones from the 17th and 18th centuries were uncovered, as well as remnants of a paved road from the Roman era.
The excavations also produced four Celtic and Roman coins, amphora fragments, Roman building remains, as well as several bronze fibulea from the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C.