Nova Gorica is one of the rare cities in Slovenia which can boast of having such a large, preserved and interesting forest with numerous domestic and foreign tree species in the direct vicinity of the town.
The Panovec forest lies between Kromberk and Rožna Dolina right at the southern edge of Nova Gorica. It is in the direct vicinity of the town, and of a suitable diversity. Paths and trails that run all around the forest attract a great number of visitors to the forest in all seasons of the year. Lovers of peace and nature, joggers, cyclists, riders, walkers, mushroom pickers and researchers meet each other in the Panovec forest.
The forest was owned by the Counts of Gorica until the time of the death of the last Count of Gorica in 1500 when it came under the ownership of the Habsburg Dynasty following the provisions of feudal legislation.
The first records of the Panovec forest are found in the legal documents of the Court dated in 1470. Under the Habsburg Dynasty the Panovec forest was given special protection and care and it was managed by the Forest Service of Gorica under the direct leadership of the Emperor’s administration. Many disputes were created among the nobles of Gorica and the forest caretaker owing to the exploitation of the wood, which is why there are several records of interventions of the highest level of administration of the Emperor in Vienna. The forest kept its intact nature also after 1785 when the ownership issue was regulated by means of a cadastre. After the abolition of feudal ownership the forest became state-owned which has continued up to the present time. In the middle of the 19th century, a forester, Jožef Ressel, understood the need for an expert management of the Panovec forest. Jožef Ressel is also known as an inventor of the propeller and many other inventions and designs (agricultural machinery, road network, plans in the field of forest management).
The Panovec forest lost its original shape during the First World War since the first battle line of the war was positioned running across it. The Second World War also left severe damage particularly during the period when there was no control over the forest (upon Italy’s capitulation). Many people then used the opportunity to cut trees near the paths without any proper control over preservation.
The vicinity of the administration centre of Gorica has had an impact on technical and scientific engagement in the Panovec forest since various tree species test areas were already sited here at the time that forest science became important as a discipline in the last third of the last century and when the planting of various foreign tree species was favoured. As a result both the Mediterranean as well as mountainous tree species thrive. The animal world is also at home in this forest, finding shelter in the bushes and climber species and nests in dried-up old tree trunks.