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An Imperial and Royal Army officer stands on the relics of World War I

Photo: Srdjan Živulović/BOBO

During World War I, there were eleven major battles on the Isonzo (Soča) Front along the River Soča, one of the most beautiful rivers in Europe, where Ernest Hemingway was awarded a Silver Medal of Bravery. Today, this is a Path of Peace.

Memories of the First World War are present in every corner of the Upper Soča Valley , Brda and the wider Goriška area , the Vipava Valley  and the Karst . 

The ninety-kilometre section of the front line running along the Soča/Isonzo from Mt Rombon to the Adriatic was the Isonzo Front. In 29 months of fighting, from May 1915 to October 1917, twelve offensives were launched in this area. Eleven were carried out by the Italians and the twelfth and last by Austro-Hungarian and German troops. More than 300,000 soldiers of various nationalities lost their lives on the Isonzo Front. The front between Italy and Austria-Hungary was the theatre of one of the biggest conflicts in a mountain area in the entire history of humanity. The 11th and 12th Battles of the Isonzo are the largest military engagements ever to have taken place in Slovenia.

Fighting ended here in October 1917, but many historical signs of the conflict remain. Memorials, shelters, trenches, fortifications and cemeteries now represent cultural and historical heritage. They remind us of the suffering, sacrifice and death of thousands of young men of many different nations. The war was also a bitter experience for the civilian population of the towns and villages along the front. 

Since 30 June 2007, the area's open-air museums and the most important remains and memorials of the Isonzo Front in the Upper Soča Valley have been connected together as the  Walk of Peace . This commemorative path winds along the Soča, between the Alps and Adriatic, connecting not only the heritage of the Isonzo Front but also the natural beauty of the Alpine, pre-Alpine and karst landscapes and cultural monuments, military cemeteries, ossuaries and private museum collections.  

Text by Tanja Glogovčan