Karst’s world is hiding numerous natural Karst caves. Some of them were in the time of Soča front (1915-1917) arranged for military purposes by the members of the cave-construction department of VII. Corps of Austria-Hungary army. One of these caves, which was later named Russian cave, was at the beginning used for storage of ammunition, later they held Russian prisoners in it, where they lived in impossible conditions.
During First World War was in the territory of Slovenia, according to the estimation by historians, around 40 thousand Russian prisoners, who were captured on the eastern front, of which 15 to 20 thousand were settled in the wider area of Karst. Forced labor of prisoners was used by Austria-Hungary authorities to do heavy physical work, like the construction of roads, railways, plumbing, ammunition depots.
In the immediate hinterland of Soča front, the Russian prisoners had to repair the damage on for the front important road Kostanjevica-Lokvica (Erzherzog Josef Strasse). Malnutrition, diseases, bombardment, exhaustion from work and torment – all this caused among Russian prisoners high mortality. Their names and burial grounds are unknown for now. Their fates are still waiting for their researchers.
In 10th Soča front (12.5.-5.6.1917), the Italian army occupied this area and rearranged the cave for their own needs. The occupation did not last for long, as the Italian army had to, after a few months (between 12th Soča battle, 24.10.-28.10.1917), withdraw.
INSIDE THE CAVE
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Kostanjevica na Krasu
Kostanjevica na Krasu (en. Kostanjevica on Karst) is a smaller settlement located on Komen Karst, in municipality Miren – Kostanjevica. Kostanjevica is known as a birth place of academic painter Jože Spacal and writer Igor Torkar. The settlement Kostanjevica na Krasu developed on a steep slope. [_Read more_]