World War I
Škarbijel (646m), Skalnica – Sveta Gora (681m) and Sabotin (609m) are a trio of hills above Nova Gorica which do not belong in the history of climbing but thousands have died to conquer these peaks. When after Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary on 23 May 1915, the latter withdrew from the border in the plain area and fortified its defence positions on peaks above the Soča River – the Soča Front commenced during which eleven battles were triggered by Italians, and the twelfth, by a breakthrough in Kobarid (Battle of Caporetto), by the united units of the Austro-Hungarian and German army.
There are numerous paths leading to these peaks, today a popular excursion destination point. Some are directed through former ditches and caverns which is why, in addition to trekking shoes, suitable equipment is advisable (a helmet, head torch).
Škabrijel is the peak closest to the city. The ascent across the pass Vratca (403m) runs partly through a supply ditch where we are greeted by a book cut into the stone, a work of an unknown soldier. At the top there is a memorial dedicated to all soldiers who fell on this hill and a lookout tower. It was the worst on Škabrijel during the Eleventh Battle (17 August – 15 September 1917) when a record number of guns poured fire onto the top, and long-lasting cannonading was followed by the charges of storm troops, the “Arditi”. However, all attacks were in vain. Of the defenders, among these, the soldiers of the 87th infantry regiment (from Celje) particularly distinguished hemselves, the war historians wrote that they survived the hardest battle which had ever been fought by any Austrian Army.
The ascent to Sabotin is maybe the most beautiful one owing to the diversity of the flora and fauna, rich outlooks, and slopes with precipices above the canyon of the Soča River. This is where the Alps, the Dinaric Karst and the Mediterranean meet. The ruins of the former church of St. Valentine on the south hillside of the top ridge remind us of the once popular pilgrimage path. The entire area has been proclaimed a cross-border Park of Peace. In a mountain shelter and war veteran’s house (once a frontier barrack of the JLA – Yugoslav National Army), it is possible to eat a snack at weekends, and there are also some war exhibits from the First and the Second World War and the Independence War put on display. The most detailed description is given to the Sixth Battle (6th to 17th August 1916), fatal for Sabotin, when Italian soldiers broke through the defence circle of the Austro-Hungary Army and conquered the top.
Sveta Gora (Monte Santo in Italian), once Skalnica (Rocky Mountain), is mainly the hill with the pilgrimage route but also an extended point of the Slovenian Mountain Transversal. The basilica of the Assumption of Mary was built on a place where Mary holding Jesus in her arms was shown to the shepherd-girl Urška Ferligoj in 1539 and asked her “to tell the people to build a house for her here and ask her for mercy”. The present church is at least the fourth one on the same place, constructed in neo-baroque style in the period from 1924-28 upon the plans of the architect Silvan Barich (in Italian – Baresi; 1884-1958), by birth from Podgrad in Istria.
In Solkan, at Pirjevčeva Street 5, there is a small private museum of the First World War, which has been created by Rok and Jordan Boltar. Years ago, many people from the locality collected the remains of arms to sell as scrap material, but today, gathering such items has become a passion for many collectors.
Tourist information center Nova Gorica - Turistični informacijski center Nova Gorica
Delpinova ulica 18 b, 5000 Nova Gorica
t: +386 5 330 46 00
Regional museum Goriški muzej - Goriški muzej Kromberk - Nova Gorica
Pod vinogradi 2, 5250 Solkan
t: +386 5 335 98 11
f: +386 5 335 98 20
Hut and war exhibit on Sabotin
m: +386 (0)40 253 234
Association »Isonzo Front« from Nova Gorica - Društvo soška fronta Nova Gorica
Ulica Nikole Tesle 19, 5290 Šempeter pri Gorici
General information about Isonzo Front:
Fondation »Walks of Peace« Ustanova »Fundacija Poti miru v Posočju«
Gregorčičeva 8, 5222 Kobarid
t: +386 (0)5 38 90 167