100 years since WWI

The Walk of Peace from the Alps to the Adriatic

During the Soča Front battles, the front line was eventually established in the direct vicinity of the Kluže fortress. Photo: Srdjan Živulović/BOBO

There are indelible reminders of World War I in each corner of the Upper Soča valley, Brda, Goriška, the Vipava valley and Karst regions. Each cavern, fortress, trench, church, pathway, mulatiera, hill, mountain, ossuary, cemetery or museum can tell a story to those who can listen, observe, understand and respect. Today, this heritage forms the basis for the Walk of Peace from the Alps to the Adriatic, which is organised under the auspices of the "Walk of Peace in the Soča Region Foundation " based in Kobarid.

The Walk of Peace from the Alps to the Adriatic connects regions, people, institutions and a rich cultural and natural heritage along the former territory of the Soča Front (1915–1917), stretching from Rombon to Devin, from the source of the Soča river to its estuary. The Soča Front battles were a series of 12 battles between the armies of Italy and the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, and the scene of one of the cruellest conflicts to have ever taken place in a mountainous area in human history. Particularly the 11th and the 12th battle were the largest military conflicts to have ever occurred in Slovenia.

Peace and cross-border cooperation

The Europe Square, facing the Nova Gorica train station, half of which lies in Slovenia and the other half in Italy, is a symbol of the coexistence of the two Gorica cities. Photo: Jurij Paljk/STA

The walk along the European historic heritage is dedicated to the memory of all those, who suffered during World War I, and serves as a reminder that wars should never happen again. Most importantly, it promotes the values of peace, mutual respect and cross-border cooperation, as well as the development of the Primorska region (Slovenia) and the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region (Italy).

In geographical sense, the Walk of Peace stretches from the Alps to the Adriatic region and is organised as part of the cross-border project of the Walk of Peace / Via di pace. This is set to connect the Walk of Peace in the Upper Soča valley, the museums of Kobarid and Tolmin, Kanalski Kolovrat, Korado, Sabotin, Vodice, Škabrijel, Sveta Gora, the Goriška museum, the Trg Evrope square/Transalpina, Cerje, the walk of peace of the Karst region, Grmada/Ermada, the regional museum of Gorica/Musei Provinciali di Gorizia, the historic pathway of Brestovec/Percorso storico del Brestovec, Debela Griža/Monte San Michele, Doberdob/Doberdo, the Italian ossiaries in Oslavje/Oslavia and Sredipolje/Redipuglia and the Tržič Theme Park/Parco Tematico Grande Guerra di Monfalcone.

The Walk of Peace also connects natural beauties

The Sabotin hill was a strategically important bridgehead for the Austro-Hungarian army on the right bank of the river. During the 6th battle of the Soča Front, in August 1916, the Italian army captured Sabotin, thus paving the way for the siege of Gorica. Photo: The Walk of Peace Foundation

It winds along the Soča river and, apart from preserving the heritage of the Battles of the Soča Front, it also brings together the natural beauties of the Alpine, Pre-Alpine and Karst areas, as well as vivid mountains, cultural monuments, military cemeteries and ossuaries, private collections, tourist information centres and numerous other tourist offers where visitors can relax, taste good home-made food or enjoy a chat with the local people. On top of it, visitors can enjoy the peace, calmness and the panorama offered by this unique cross-border region.

All these destinations are reachable on foot or with a bicycle and, of course, many of them may well be visited by car or bus. Well-trained Slovenian and foreign tourist guides can recount abundant stories from the past and modern eras and provide recollections of the characters of ordinary soldiers and other famous persons who shaped the period of the Soča Front.  

Fulfilling a mission

Photo: The Walk of Peace Foundation

Walk of Peace in the Soča Region Foundation is engaged in studying and researching, in renovating and exhibiting the cultural heritage of World War I, in publishing and collecting professional and promotional publications, and in developing history tourism. In fulfilling its mission, the Foundation is assisted by the Government of the Republic of Slovenia through the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport and the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities.

The most important projects which the foundation plans to carry out in the following years are the Walk of Peace from the Alps to the Adriatic, establishing a list of the fallen Italian and Austro-Hungarian soldiers in the Gorica and Karst regions (one such list for the Upper Soča valley already exists), establishing a list of the fallen Slovenian soldiers in World War I, expanding the Walk of Peace from the Alps to the Adriatic to include the Carinthia and Tyrol regions of Austria, completing the Walk of Peace Information Centre, expanding the cross-border outdoor museum in Kolovrat, and promoting the European commitment to peace.

Walk of Peace in the Soča Region Foundation is an important member of the National Committee for the Commemoration of World War I Anniversaries, founded by the Government of the Republic of Slovenia and headed by the Minister of Defence.