The Walk of Peace: Europe’s Alps-to-Adriatic hiking path

Tucked in a valley high higher than the Tolminka River and surrounded by the steep peaks of the Rdeči rob and Tolmin mountain chains, the solitary wooden church honours the 2,564 Austro-Hungarian soldiers who misplaced their life in 1916 on the close by Tolmin battlefield as component of the Isonzo Front in Entire world War A person. The 90km-extended entrance ran from the Alps to the Adriatic Sea alongside the Isonzo River close to the historic border that the moment divided Italy and Austria. It experienced been shaped a yr previously when Italy joined the Allies and declared war on Austria-Hungary. Two and a fifty percent several years of positional warfare followed, and in all, the Isonzo represented a single of the bloodiest frontlines in WWI, with far more than 1.5 million troopers killed, wounded or captured in the 12 battles that took spot here among 1915 and 1917. 

Right now, most of the valley belongs to Slovenia, the Isonzo River is now acknowledged as the Soča, and the slopes all over the church are overgrown with dense forest. But 100 years in the past, the region was totally bare since locals used it as pasture for livestock. 

“In wintertime, when the peaks ended up lined with up to 6m [of] thick snow, avalanches [killed] quite a few soldiers on the Austro-Hungarian side. Desperate thanks to mass losses and an difficult condition they were being in, the surviving troopers determined to erect a monument to the fallen comrades-in-arms,” defined Rovšček. The shrine was created by soldiers though resting following extended battles, and as Rovšček led us inside of, we observed that the adult men experienced burnt the names of their 2,564 fallen brothers into oak panels – a poignant reminder of the horrors that took put in this now image-excellent environment. 

Today, the lone church stands as a “memorial of reconciliation”, and is a person of 230 WWI monuments, trenches, caverns, cemeteries and forts in the Soča Valley that make up the Wander of Peace mountaineering path: a residing museum that reminds travellers of this valley’s great importance in the war, though also revealing how the distinctive rural lifestyle of its citizens has endured.

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