Walk of Peace in the Soča Region Foundation
In order to preserve, restore and present the historical and cultural heritage of the First World War in the Soča Region, the Slovenian Government adopted a ten-year programme in 2000. On its initiative, a foundation to implement the programme was established. The non-profit Walks of Peace in the Soča Region Foundation was established on 1 December 2002. Its founders are: Zdravko Likar, Željko Cimprič, Prof. Anton Jeglič and Academy Member Prof. Robert Blinc. Besides the founders, the other Management Board members are Dr.. Petra Svoljšak and Miloš Bizjak. Since its establishment, the Foundation has not only fully implemented the Government's programme, but also surpassed expectations in many respects. It has received numerous domestic and foreign prizes and awards.
The Foundation is engaged in study and research work, restoration and presenting the historical and cultural heritage of the First World War, publishing professional and promotional documents and developing historical tourism. It cooperates with many different public and private organisations in Slovenia and Europe.
The Walk of Peace from the Bovec Mountains to the Tolmin Basin opened in 2007. It stretches over more than a hundred kilometres, and allows visitors to admire the beauties of the Upper Soča Valley and also encourages them to try to comprehend the suffering of the young men caught in the maelstrom of war. Numerous military cemeteries, monuments, churches and chapels, caves and hundreds of kilometres of trenches stand as silent witnesses to the bloodshed. The Foundation has set up six outdoor museums and restored approximately 30 memorials along the Walk of Peace in the Upper Soča Valley. It has also prepared a register of 21,000 Italian and Austro-Hungarian soldiers killed on the Isonzo Front as a permanent monument to them. It has arranged a rich historical library and opened an information centre. The Foundation has educated approximately 30 guides to walk visitors along the historic paths of the Soča Valley. The Foundation is one of the key Slovenian institutions maintaining cooperation with the Slovenian national community in the Friuli–Venezia Giulia Region.
In 2011, the Government adopted a new five-year programme related to evaluating the historical and cultural heritage of the First World War. The most important projects to be carried out in this period are: the Walk of Peace from the Alps to the Adriatic, the register of Italian and Austro–Hungarian soldiers killed in the Goriška and Kras regions, the register of Slovenian soldiers killed in the First World War, the extension of the Walk of Peace from the Alps to the Adriatic to the Austrian federal states of Carinthia and Tyrol, the completion of the Walk of Peace Information Centre, the expansion of the cross-border outdoor museum on the Kolovrat range and the European commitment to peace.
The programme is funded by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities and the Municipalities of Bovec, Kobarid and Tolmin. Activities have increasingly been carried out through cross-border projects, funds under calls for proposals and also funds generated by the activities of the programme.
In addition to information on the Walks of Peace, the Isonzo Front heritage, museums, private collections and guides, the Information Centre also offers visitors souvenirs and historical and tourist literature. A permanent interactive presentation of the Walks of Peace has been created; an exhibition on aviation on the Isonzo Front was opened in 2014.