Sunday, August 28, 2011

Church of St. Anthony of Padua - Dolina Soce

As the finest monument to the First World War in the territory of Slovenia, in 2007 the church was classed as a historical monument bearing the European Cultural Heritage sign.

The largest ossuary (ossuary means any receptacle for the burial of human bones) of Italian soldiers killed during World War I in Slovenia is arranged at the Church of St. Anthony of Padua (sv. Anton Padovanski), on a slope below the sanctuary at Grič above Kobarid. On two terraces in individual sections there are niches with the posthumous remains of fallen Italian soldiers. They are sealed by slabs of green marble, engraved with the name, military rank and any medals of each individual fallen soldier.
The ossuary originates from the years of the systematic Italian arrangement of military cemeteries and is the only one in Slovenia; the Italians moved all the other posthumous remains to the ossuary of Sredpolje (Redipuglia) and Oslavje. The ossuary was designed by the architect Giovanni Greppi, and the sculptures were made by the sculptor Giannino Castiglioni. The ceremonious opening on 18th September 1938 was attended by Benito Mussolini. In the ossuary lie the posthumous remains of 7760 (7014 - inscription on the left side of the parking place) soldiers (of those, 2748 unknown). The fallen were transported from military cemeteries in the Posočje area (Drežnica, Drežniške Ravne, Gabrje, Kamno, Smast, Bovec). The remains of unknown soldiers are clustered in groups of 500 and arranged under the arches on both sides under the central staircases. This wonderful FDC was given to me by my dear friend Maria.

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