|Traditional region||Slovenian Littoral|
|• Total||4.6 km2 (1.8 sq mi)|
|Elevation||235.3 m (772.0 ft)|
Kobarid (pronounced [kɔbaˈɾiːt]; Italian: Caporetto, Friulian: Cjaurêt, German: Karfreit) is a town in the Upper Soča Valley of western Slovenia, near the Italian border. It is the seat of the Municipality of Kobarid.
Kobarid is known for the Battle of Caporetto, where the Italian retreat was documented by Ernest Hemingway in his novel A Farewell to Arms. The battle is well documented in the museum in the centre of Kobarid. The museum won a Council of Europe award in 1993.
Kobarid was attested in written sources as Kauoretum in 1184 (and as de Cavoreto in 1258, Caboret in 1291, and de Chiavoretto in 1343). The Slovenian name is derived from *Koboridъ, borrowed from Old Friulian *Kaborệdu. The original Romance form of the name, *Cap(o)rētum, is probably derived from Latin caper 'goat' and refers to a place where there are goats. The town is known as Cjaurêt in Friulian, Karfreit in German, and Caporetto in Italian.2
Kobarid has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Archaeological remains from the Hallstatt period have been found in the area. The nearby Tonocov Grad archaeological site has remains of 5th-century Roman buildings.3 In the 6th century, it was settled by Slavic tribes, ancestors of the modern Slovenes. During the Middle Ages, it was first part of the Patriarchate of Aquileia, and later of Tolmin County, before being included in the Habsburg Monarchy in the 15th century, like the majority of Slovene-speaking territories.
With the exception of a brief period between 1809 and 1813, when it was included under the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy, Kobarid remained under Austrian rule until 1918. In the mid-19th century, the town became an important center of the Slovene national revival.
At the outset of World War I, the area saw one of the first victims of the conflict: countess Lucy Christalnigg, killed by Landsturmer guards during a mission for the Red Cross.4
During World War I, the whole area was the theatre of the Battles of the Isonzo, fought between Italy and Austria-Hungary. The town was almost completely destroyed between 1915 and 1917. After the end of the war in 1918, it was occupied by the Italian Army, and in 1920 it was officially annexed to Italy, and included in the Julian March region. Kobarid was a comune of the Province of Gorizia (as Caporetto), except during the period between 1924 and 1927, when the Province of Gorizia was abolished and annexed to the Province of Udine. Between 1922 and 1943, Kobarid was submitted to a policy of violent Fascist Italianization. Many locals emigrated to the neighbouring Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The town became one of the crucial centres of recruitment and activity of the militant anti-fascist organization TIGR, which carried out an underground fight against the Italian Fascist regime. During the Italian administration, Kobarid also became an important symbolic place of the Fascist regime because of its role in World War I. An Italian military ossuary was built on the hill above the town, and Benito Mussolini visited Kobarid in 1938.
Immediately after the Italian armistice in September 1943, Kobarid was liberated by a Partisan uprising, and became the center of large liberated area of around 2,500 square kilometers, known as the Kobarid Republic, administered by the Liberation Front of the Slovenian People. During this period, almost all Italian families that settled in Kobarid during the 25 years of Italian administration left the town. In early November 1943, Nazi German forces took over the town and established their rule until May 1945, when the town was finally liberated by the Yugoslav People's Army.
In early June 1945, Kobarid came under joint British–U.S. occupation and placed under Allied temporary military administration until the establishment of a final border between Italy and Yugoslavia. The Morgan Line, which divided the Allied military occupation zone from the Yugoslav one, ran just eastwards of the town, along the Soča River.
In September 1947, the Paris Peace Treaties gave the town to Yugoslavia. Several hundred inhabitants, especially from the Breginj area, chose emigration to Italy rather than become citizens of a Communist state.
Kobarid was the site of a mass grave from the Second World War. The Cemetery Mass Grave (Slovene: Grobišče na pokopališču) was located in the town cemetery, right of the entrance, between the first and second rows of graves. It contained the remains of 11 German soldiers that fell at Kolovrat in April 1945. Unlike most mass graves in Slovenia, the graves were well maintained during the communist era. The remains were exhumed in 2000 and reinterred in a common grave at the Žale Cemetery in Ljubljana.5
In the 1960s and 1970s, Kobarid emerged as an important tourist center. Light industry also developed.
With the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1991, Kobarid became part of independent Slovenia.
Notable people that were born or lived in Kobarid include:
- Andrej Manfreda (1908–1943), anti-Fascist resistance fighter, member of TIGR
- Izidor Pagliaruzzi (a.k.a. "Pinč," 1820–1884), beekeeper6
- Josip Pagliaruzzi (1859–1885), poet
- Andrej Uršič (1908–?), journalist, political activist
- Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia
- Snoj, Marko. 2009. Etimološki slovar slovenskih zemljepisnih imen. Ljubljana: Modrijan and Založba ZRC, pp. 191–192.
- Kobarid Museum site
- L'ultima estate, Nello Cristianini, 2014 - ISBN 978-1495363924
- Cemetery Mass Grave on Geopedia (Slovene)
- Bokal, Ljudmila, ed. 2008. Čebelarski terminološki slovar. Ljubljana: Založba ZRC, ZRC SAZU and Lukovica: Čebelarska zveza Slovenije, p. 256.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kobarid.|
- Kobarid on Geopedia
- Kobarid municipal site (Slovene) (English) (Italian) (German)
- Museum of World War I, Kobarid (Slovene) (English)
- LTO Sotočje, local tourist board - tourist info about the area: lodgings, natural features (Slovene) (English) (Italian) (German)
- The Walks of Peace in the Soča Region Foundation. The Foundation preserves, restores, and presents the historical and cultural heritage of the First World War in the area of the Isonzo Front for research, tourism, and educational purposes. (Slovene) (English) (Italian) (German)
- World War I Museum, Kobarid