After Italy had declared war on Austria-Hungary, the popular pilgrimage basilica on Mt. Sveta Gora (681 m), was in the direct vicinity of the front line that ran across the neighbouring Mt. Sabotin. During the fights on the Isonzo Front the basilica was completely destroyed.
In the period 1915–1917, the Austro-Hungarian Army drilled numerous caves into the ridge of Mt. Sveta Gora; they provided shelter to infantry squads and also a safe place for some artillery batteries. On the northern slope in the rear they built cabin settlements and made numerous minor caves where various commands were placed as well as medical stations. In the spring of 1917, a cargo ropeway also reached this place which made the supply to the battlefield easier. For the purpose of this they drilled a longer tunnel through the mountain ridge to connect the trenches of the first front line with the rear.
The guided tour starts on Sveta Gora, which offers splendid views over the wider surroundings, and the possibility to visit Basilica of St. Mary and the St. Mary’s museum. The Walk of Peace trail then takes us down to the X station of the Via Crucis, where we enter a longer underground shaft – tunnel that during the war connected the Austro-Hungarian positions on the South-western slopes of Mt. Sveta Gora with their rear areas on the North-eastern part. We continue through the tunnel to the other side of the hill, ascending to the higher part of the tunnel, using a steel cable for help, and passing an underground well. From there we follow the former connecting shaft to the location of a former Austro-Hungarian camp where amid the remains of military quarters still stands the monument to the 2nd Battalion of the 22nd Infantry Regiment. Only a short climb separates you from the statue of St. Francis of Assisi which stands on the spot where, after the war, stood a monument dedicated to the fallen Italian soldiers. We conclude the circle at our starting point, in the parking area under Mt. Sveta Gora.
Price: 35 €/h for groups of up to 10 people
Free of charge for children up to the age of 10 in the company of a grown-up.
Visit to the underground tunnel is not suitable for children under the age of 6 and people suffering from claustrophobia.
The programme can be combined with the programme Underground Labyrinth on Mt. Vodice.
Assembly point: parking area below the pilgrimage basilica on Sveta Gora.