The south-western front of the First World War, which was held on the border between Italy and Austro-Hungary, has plunged many European nations into the turmoil of battle and had a terrible impact on our region, too. After almost a century a dense network of forest paths, military roads, the remains of rail tracks, as well as trenches, caverns, forts, strategic artillery positions and cemeteries remind us of battlefields that have extended from the Alpine Ortler to the Adriatic Sea.
Some thirty years ago a group of enthusiasts, who later on established the “Dolomitenfreunde” association, decided to restore all former military paths that led across the battlefields of the First World War and represented a division between European nations. Today, these roads and paths bring European nations closer together. They have also decided to restore all battlefields that faced destruction and overgrowing and that saw the death of soldiers of different nationalities, in order to preserve the memory of their unspeakable suffering. When following these paths, which are now referred to as “the paths of peace”, people meet and remember the absurdity of all atrocities that a war can bring.
At the same time the municipality of Miren-Kostanjevica adopted a decision to restore and tidy the paths of peace at the former battlefield in the Karst region, which represented the far south part of the Isonzo front. The municipality introduced a project entitled “The paths of peace in the Karst” that includes the restoration of paths for hikers and cyclists in order to preserve and present the sights of historical heritage of the First World War and others, mainly natural heritage sights that are typical of the Karst region. By restoring these paths the municipality aims to invigorate tourist activities and ensure sustainable development of both the Karst area of the municipality and the area of the Vipava river valley. The municipality has obtained financial aid for the realisation of the project from the Phare programme for cross-border cooperation between Italy and Slovenia , since the planning and the restoration of paths is being carried out in cooperation with our principal Italian partner, the Region of Gorizia. There will be several information centres with museums and theme hiking paths on both sides of the border. Each centre will represent one of the characteristics of the Karst battlefields ranging from areas of direct combat involving trenches and caverns to the areas that provided backing and supplies for the soldier fighting on the front. These centres will be interlinked by footpaths and cycling paths. First such centre on the Slovenian side of the border was set in the town of Lokvica , which holds a presentation of the characteristics of direct combat. The second information centre will be organised in the area of Temenica, where the characteristics of backing and supply activities will be presented.
A cavern is a man-made cave-like shelter that was used by soldiers in the WW1.