Did you know that Bovec has, besides all the natural beauties a very sad history from World War I? Battles of the Insonzo (or Soška fronta) took place between June 1915 and November 1917. There were a series of 12 battles between the Italian and Austro-Hungarian armies, mostly on the territory of Slovenia. Because of the harsh terrain of the battles, they are considered to be some of the toughest battles of World War I.
In order to protect and consolidate their battle stations, soldiers built and carved caverns and also dug trenches. These alterations have been left as a permanent reminder in the landscape of the rocky mountains.
Are you keen on visiting these historical places? If the answer is YES, you should definitely check out the places bellow!
FORT KLUŽE AND FORT HERMAN
Fortress Kluže is located 4 km from Bovec towards the Italian border. The first wooden fortress was built in the 15th Century and was used for protection from the Turks. During the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte it was burned and demolished. The latest version of the fortress was built by Austro-Hungarians in 1881-1882. It was designed as a control point between Bovec valley and pass Predel. Today it serves as a museum with permanent and temporary exhibitions it also serves as a place for summer events.
In the complex of buildings of Bovec obstruction is also so called ”Upper fortress” or Fort Herman. You reach it by following the trail through the tunnel besides the car park at Fort Kluže. Fort Herman was built between 1897-1900. Its primary role was to control the Bovec valley with their heavy guns.
There is a circular route which leads around the museum, within a relatively small area there are many remains. Besides the fighting and connecting trenches you will also find caverns, bunkers, machine-gun emplacements and barracks. You will find the remains besides the main road Bovec-Predel/Vršič pass before the intersection.
OUTDOOR MUSEUM ČELO The main part of the fort is 200m long shooting trench that connects two altilery positions with an observatory. The fort is part of Bovec obstruction and its main purpose was to defense from an Italian attack. The museum is accessible from Kal Koritnica village located 4km from Bovec in direction towards Vršič pass.
AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN MILITARY CEMENTERY
You reach the cemetery if you follow the main road from Bovec to pass Predel or Vršič. It is located on the first intersection in this direction. The cemetery was expanded and renovated several times after World War I. Records show that there are approximately 700 Austro-Hungarian soldiers buried here.
Behind the church of St. Štefan in Log pod Mangartom is located another military cemetery of Austro-Hungarian soldiers and is known to be one of the most beautiful ones. There are buried around 800 soldiers, most of the soldiers were Muslim Bosniaks. Their graves aren’t marked with iron cross, but with muslim grave stones known as nišani.
Did you know? The only mosque ever built in Slovenia was located in Log pod Mangartom, but it hasn’t perserved. It was built in 1916 by the Muslim Bosniaks who were known as one of the most fearless soldiers in WWI.