The route: Slovenia

Caporetto


Caporetto (Kobarid) is a small Slovenian town on the Isonzo. It was the scene of many battles that were fought along the Karst between Italians and Austrians and is tragically famous for...

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Caporetto


Caporetto (Kobarid) is a small Slovenian town on the Isonzo. It was the scene of many battles that were fought along the Karst between Italians and Austrians and is tragically famous for the WWI conflict that was fought in these areas on October 1917, and ended with the famous defeat of Italian troops who had to withdraw to river Piave. The remains of the Isonzo front, which are still almost intact, on the nearby mountain ranges, are silent witnesses of those tragic events.
The Kobariškj Muzej illustrates the events of the Great War on the Isonzo Front, offering a detailed representation of the twelfth offensive, known to history as the "Battle of Caporetto."
The exhibition is divided into thematic rooms. On the first floor there’s a portrayal of the complex local history, of the battles’ chronology, of the war in the mountains, logistics, military life in the trenches, and finally a reflection on the physical and moral consequences caused by the conflict.
On the second floor a large model of the Upper Soča represents the trends of the front on the eve of the Austro-German breakthrough, in the same room, sheltered by a fake, narrow cavern, an alpino writes a letter to his father. The vision of vintage films fills every lack in the knowledge of the most impressive military confrontation that took place in mountainous territory. For its establishment and the quality of its exhibition, the museum received, in 1992, a Valvasor Award, the highest Slovenian award for museums, and in the following year the award given by the European Council to the best European museum in 1993.

A paved road departing from the village takes to theGradič Italian Shrine, which is surmounted by a church consecrated to Saint Antony in 1696.
The shrine has an eight-sided shape and is made up of three concentric steps degrading upwards. In the ossuary were transported 7.014 corpses, coming from the nearby war cemeteries.
Their names, grade and decorations are engraved in green serpentine slabs. At the sides of the central staircase, two niches contain the remains of 1,748 unknown soldiers. Built by the Italian State, which back then owned the region, the shrine was completed in September 1938 and inaugurated by Benito Mussolini. On the inauguration day, a young man coming from Bovec, belonging to the secret Slovenian organization TIGR, planned to attack and kill Mussolini but was eventually discovered and arrested.
From the ossuary visitors can follow the route to the fortified hill of Tonocov grad: the trail passes next to some trenches and fortifications that were built to defend the crossing points of the river Isonzo.
n a dominant position you can see a machine gun and a military observatory. Not far from there, leaning against the mountain side, opens an equipped cave that one of the many shelters arranged in the circular defensive system.


Komen


Komen (Comeno in Italian), a small town in western Slovenia, is located in the heart of Karst on the border with Italy, that has owned...

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Komen


Komen (Comeno in Italian), a small town in western Slovenia, is located in the heart of Karst on the border with Italy, that has owned the land from 1919 to 1947, before it was annexed to Yugoslavia and then to Slovenia. All its territory was harshly hit in the First World War. During WW2, on February 15, 1944, Komen was burned to the ground by German troops and the inhabitants were deported in Bavaria.
In the hamlet of Gorjansko (Goriano in Italian) there’s the largest Austro-Hungarian cemetery in the area of the Isonzo front. As a matter of fact, more than 10,000 soldiers of different nationalities are buried there.
In the majestic cemetery, burials are disposed, on different levels, with a deft use, by the designer, of sinkholes and small depressions on the ground. Each is marked by small concrete stone on which is engraved, on a galvanized iron plate, the soldier’s name, grade and date of decease. Mass graves are topped with a simple cross. The chapel, enclosed by an iron gate, is located on top of a short staircase leading to the driveway running up the field.

Another military cemetery of smaller size, is located in the village of Brje pri Komnu (Boriano in Italian), a small town that, during the Great War, was part of the Austrian defensive rear line on the Isonzo front. Although not directly involved in the battles, the town was the first to be evacuated and then occupied by the Austro-Hungarian troops.


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