IDRIJA UNESCO GLOBAL GEOPARK
Political and social changes left their marks on the immovable heritage in the Idrija region. This is especially true for the First and the Second World War that have left war trails, frontier forts, cemeteries, etc. that remind us of the painful recent past.
An assemblage of wooden cabins serving as a kitchen, engine room, composing room and bindery. Built in 1944. The printing shop has its own power station. During the eight months of its operation in wartime, the Slovenia Printing Shop printed 313 various prints in more than 1.3 million copies. The Partisan Daily was the only daily newspaper to be printed by a resistance movement in Europe.
During the Second World War, bomber squadrons of Allied forces often flew across Slovenian sky.
On the fatal 16 December 1944, the Fifteenth Air Force with 600 B-17 and B-24 bombers flew towards several targets in Germany. The attack encountered no difficulties as the day was cloudy and they managed to almost completely avoid Flaks and anti-aircraft grenades. The only plane that was hit above the target was the plane that later ended its road close to Dole. The German counterstrike managed to perforate the fuel system in several places; the leakage was too substantial, and after crossing the Alps, the motors of the plane stalled.
All 11 crew members jumped out of the plane before it crashed. They were kept in captivity until the end of the war and then they returned home safely.
The war museum holds more than 2000 pieces of military equipment and remnants from the First World War with the emphasis on the rear and the narrow-gauge railway. The title of the exhibition “Not to Forget” wishes to preserve our heritage, show the senselessness of war, and warn our generations from letting history repeat itself.
Italy conditioned its involvement in the First World War on the side of the Triple Entente with areas of South Tyrol, former Austrian Littoral, and Dalmatia that were to become Italian in case of victory. This was granted with the Treaty of London, while it gained the right to occupy with the armistice signed between Italy and Austria-Hungary on 3 November 1918. Along with the Littoral, Italy also occupied parts of Carinthia and Carniola and did not retreat from several smaller areas until the Treaty of Rapallo was signed on 12 November 1920. This moved the 250-km international border between the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later Yugoslavia) and the Kingdom of Italy on the ridgeline between the Black Sea and the Adriatic Sea, dividing the Slovenian nation and its territory. The border was only officially moved to the edge of the Po Valley when the Paris Peace Treaty in 1947 was signed.
In the 1920s and 1930s, Italy began systematically designing and building defence works along its entire land border and officially began reinforcing the Alpine Wall in 1931. Since 1924, military barracks were being constructed in every major town and, in 1933, they also began building underground fortifications to close passage towards the mainland. The defence system became operative after 1936, it was being upgraded until 1943, and used until well after the Second World War, until 1991.
In the area of the Idrija and Cerkno municipalities, there are several defence groups of the Alpine Wall with the common task of preventing the passage across Hrušica and the Trnovo Forest towards the Vipava Valley, or via the Idrijca River Valley to the Isonzo River Valley. The defence groups were positioned at Godovič, Črni Vrh nad Idrijo, Zadlog, Podroteja near the Wild Lake, Idrija, Spodnja Idrija, Želin, around Cerkno, and on Mount Porezen, while the space between them was filled with various temporary defence works and permanent rear artillery positions that are most well preserved in Idrijske Krnice. The majority of the defence groups were named twice – first after the near-by places, and second after fallen Italian soldiers and officers of the First World War. Directly on the border line, there was also a system of small barracks connected by numerous new roads that enabled the army to move around the area uninterrupted.
With the Italian occupation and the confirmation of the new border, Idrija became one of the commanding centres and its barracks was among those with the highest number of soldiers on the Rapallo Border. Today, the Costantino Brighenti barracks that was officially opened in 1933 houses the Idrija Psychiatric Hospital, while the town itself features several buildings that were once headquarters of other border- and state services. The defence group on the Nikova creek was composed of three underground fortifications and closed the valley passage towards Vojsko. In case of a combat, Idrija would be destroyed as the attacker would have to advance through the town centre to reach the fortifications. The defence group was named after Valentino Cudrig, a Slovenian from Italy.
Just like in Idrija, Spodnja Idrija had a defence group of three underground fortifications located close to the barracks – today’s industrial zone – that defended passage up the Kanomljica Valley towards Oblakov Vrh, Dolenja Trebuša, and Most na Soči. In the rear of the defence group, the road forks to the central permanent artillery battery in Idrijske Krnice. The defence group here was named after Luigi Bevilacqua – posthumously decorated second lieutenant engineer who died in February 1918 close to San Dona on the Piava River.
Although Jelenk is quite remote, the royal Italian army used its hight and views to its advantage. In late 1930s, it positioned an artillery battery of the border patrol units (GAF), while its pre-prepared artillery positions, shelters, underground depots and artillerists’ housing are still visible today.