History & culture
The Isonzo Front, World War One in Bovec and Soča valley:
The front line between the Italian and Austro-Hungarian armies crossed the Bovec area and the Soča valley. After years of vicious fighting, the areas of Rombon, the Bovec basin, Ravelnik, Slatenik, the Krn mountains and the mountains around the Tolmin basin and Kobarid were left riddled with fortifications, caverns, fire trenches, the remains of military equipment and cemeteries; today, these reminders of the war are linked together by the Walk of Peace. Between June 1915 and November 1917, twelve battles took place on the Isonzo Front. The final battle, known as The Miracle at Kobarid, started in the Bovec basin and saw the Austro-Hungarian and German armies launch a poison gas attack, taking the Italian defence by surprise. Bosnian, Czech and Hungarian soldiers also fought on the front line.
Bovec has suffered frequent natural disasters, the most recent of which include three major earthquakes (in 1976, 1998 and 2004) and a landslide in Log pod Mangartom (2000), which thoroughly altered the appearance of the landscape.
Historical tourist attractions and experiences in Bovec and the surrounding area:
- discovering the Isonzo Front on the Walk of Peace: visit the Ravelnik and Čelo open-air museums;
- see a Društvo 1313 performance and the permanent exhibition in the Kluže fort;
- see the private collections of the Isonzo Front collectors;
- visit the permanent exhibition on Bovec in the Stergulc House;
- visit the Trenta Museum.
The Kluže fort
This majestic fort above the Koritnica gorge is one of the most visited cultural sights in the Soča valley. It is an important monument to the defence against Turkish invasions, Napoleon's army and attacks during World War One. Today the fort serves as a historically important object housing permanent exhibitions and a cultural centre that hosts the Kluže festival, a festival of ambient theatre arts.
Experiences in the Kluže fort:
- expert guided tour of the fort with a local guide;
- Društvo 1313 performance about the daily lives of soldiers on the Isonzo Front;
- walk the Walk of Peace and see Fort Hermann.
Stergulc House Stories
Regardless of all the devastation that was caused by the war and the influence of various rulers, the Bovec region has preserved its status as an important borderline and strategic region, while its people have preserved their national identity and their typical Bovec dialect throughout history.
Subjects covered in the Strgulc House Stories museum collection:
the Bovec area as a strategic and border territory;
Andrej Strgulc (1927-2002), the first mayor of the Bovec municipality in the independent Slovenia and an amateur local historian;
•pictures of Bovec houses (old postcards and photographs of Bovec through the ages);
•stories of some Bovec families, personal items, certificates, furniture;
•Bovec dialect, audio recordings of storytellers telling folk stories from the Bovec area in the local dialect;
•stories about events from the period between the wars;
•people of note from Bovec: Mihael Štrukelj, Ivo Juvančič, Ida Kravanja – Ita Rina, Anton Ocvirk.
The Čelo open-air museum (650 m)
Now an important monument of the Isonzo Font and a part of the Walk of Peace with views over the Bovec basin, this former artillery fortification was built in late 1914 by the Austro-Hungarian army.
This 200 m fire trench with two artillery positions, a kitchen, two dwelling places, an observation post, a shelter and firing lines played an important role just before the 12th Isonzo battle, when a formidable artillery attack was launched from Čelo on the Italian positions between Bovec and Čezsoča. The museum is open all year round. Admission is free.
The Ravelnik open-air museum
A part of the Austro-Hungarian defence line that saw fierce fighting during the Isonzo Front is linked by a short circular trail that contains part of the Walk of Peace. Visitors can see a number of fire and linking trenches, caverns, bunkers and restored huts. We recommend a guided tour of the museum with a uniformed soldier from Društvo 1313 or guides from the Walk of Peace Foundation. The museum is open all year round. Admission is free.
Military cemetery at Bovec
This cemetery for Austro-Hungarian soldiers killed during the Isonzo Front on Rombon and Čukla comprises uniform concrete gravestones, each bearing a Greek cross in a circle. In the nearby intersection is a cut stone obelisk commemorating the fallen soldiers. Access to the military cemetery in Bovec: The cemetery is situated at the intersection for Trenta and Predel, about 1 km out of Bovec.
The Bovec folklore trail - The trail links various folkloric characteristics and features of Bovec with a special focus on important events through history. There are 11 information panels along the way: Development of the Bovec settlement, Ancient history and the Antique period, Old town centre, Gastronomy and taverns, Stone troughs and the Bovec house, Culture and education and Alpe Adria project. More