Did you ever want to see the Alps and the Adriatic at the same time? Have you ever walked along the emerald Soča River from its spring in the Triglav National Park to its mouth at the nature reserve in the Bay of Trieste? Experience Slovenia and Italy on the Walk of Peace that connects the heritage of the First World War from the Alps to the Adriatic. 2014 marks 100 years from the beginning of The Great War, in which more than 17 nations fought for the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. At the upcoming anniversaries of the Isonzo Front, the largest hand to hand combat battle in high-ranging mountains, Slovenia will remember the hundreds of thousands of men and boys in trenches and ditches built with their own hands. The events on the Isonzo Front were also described in the novel A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway, who was a reporter and rescue vehicle driver during the war.
Even though the First World War had ruined the region along the Soča river a century ago, the divided families returned home. The Walk of Peace now connects places and people, natural and cultural heritage. Months ago a cross-border network of local providers who live with the stories of the Isonzo Front was established in this region. They try to show the visitors the history, nature and cuisine of the region. The historical heritage of European importance nests in the midst of diverse natural surroundings and picturesque villages in the regions of Bovec, Kobarid, Tolmin, Nova Gorica, Goriška Brda and Slovenian-Italian Karst.
The Soča River inspires people with the feelings of boundlessness between mountains and the sea. The heart of the Walk of Peace beats in Kobarid. The Kobarid Museum, which received the Museum award of the Council of Europe in 1993, is one of the most visited Slovenian museum collections. It presents historic events along the Soča River from the First World War. The largest part of the permanent exhibition is intended to tell the story of mountain battles in the Julian Alps and the 12th and last Soča battle, also called the Kobarid Battle. The battle between hundreds of thousands of soldiers of the Austro-Hungarian and Italian armies began on 24 October 1917 by the Soča River and finished 17 days later on the banks of the Piave River. For Erwin Rommel, this battle represented an important milestone in his glamorous military career.
In the cross-border outdoor museums, such as Kolovrat, the legacy of the Isonzo Front remains preserved in its initial environment with caverns, nets of shooting trenches, commander spots and artillery and machine gun positions. The most remarkable Slovenian monument to the First World War, bearing a European heritage mark, is on Javorca, where the Austro-Hungarian soldiers built the Holy Ghost Church dedicated to all nations and religions.
The Southern part of the Walk of Peace runs from the Alps to the Adriatic across the Goriška region and following the Slovenian-Italian Karst. Gorica delineated the Isonzo Front to the mountainous northern and Karst-like southern part. Sabotin, the key point of the Austro-Hungarian defence, where nowadays the Peace Park is located, was drilled by soldiers in all directions as a hive. In Monfalcone there is also an interesting First World War thematic park that reveals stories about family trees, connected by Slovenian, Italian and Austro-Hungarian roots.
The Walk of Peace information centre is the crossroads of all experiences from the Alps to the Adriatic. In the premises of the centre there is a register of fallen soldiers and a multimedia exhibition. Guides and advisers are always available for planning trips, guiding and providing information on private collections. For visitors, the Walk of Peace not only represents a journey through the storm of history, but also to the shelter of nature and hospitable locals. Get to know them in the Soča, Do Tell brochure.