Fort Hensel

Hiking Researchers
Medium | 1.5 hrs

On a rocky hill on the east side of the village Malborghetto/Naborjet/Malborgeth, the Austrians began building a fort in 1808 which, however, had not been completed by the arrival of the Napoleonic troops in May 1809. It was captured and burned by the French on 17 May, and most of the Austrian defenders were killed, including Captain Friedrich Hensel. Only a few managed to escape. The French continued their march from Malborghetto towards Carinthia, while part of them headed towards the fort below Predel, where Captain Johann Hermann von Hermannsdorf was still holding back French troops that were advancing towards Carinthia along the Soča Valley.
Because the border with the Kingdom of Italy was very close and because of increasing tensions, the Austrians built a new Hensel Fort In Malborghetto in 1866 and modernized it in 1881‒1884. This fort was of strategic importance to the Austrians, as it not only defended the passage to Carinthia, but also protected the railway in Tarvisio/Trbiž/Tarvis, which proved to be very important during World War I.
At the outbreak of World War I, the Hensel Fort, which was part of the Carinthian Forts, was already out-of-date. Knowing that the Italians would shell it from the Val Dogna area, the Austrians removed, one by one, their guns from the fort. The first explosion took place on 12 June 1915, when a construction shed with 800 shells was hit by the Italians. The fort proper was not damaged at the time, but there was a huge explosion and a forest fire which the Austrians had to fight for several hours. The shelling intensified. In the first eight days, the Austrians counted up 1,000 explosions of Italian shells. By mid-August 1915, more than 4,500 shells had been fired at the fort, about 200 of which had hit the facility. On 26 March 1916, the Austrians removed the last gun from the fort.
In the 1930s, the Italians caved the Alpine Wall forts into the rock under the ruins of the fort. After World War II, they were modernized for the purposes of NATO and finally abandoned at the end of the 20th century.

Photos: Paolo da Pozzo, PromoTurismoFVG

Access and useful info


From the A23 motorway, take the Pontebba exit and continue along the SS13 state road towards Tarvisio/Trbiž/Tarvis. After Malborghetto/Naborjet/Malborgeth, leave your car on the parking lot on the left, soon after the “Forte” tunnel.


Tarvisio Infopoint
Via Roma, 14
I–33018 Tarvisio (UD)
+39 0428 2135

Hiking Researchers
Medium | 1.5 hrs


1.5 hrs

GPS coordinates

46.507231, 13.454157


820 m

Best time of year



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