|Traditional region||Slovenian Littoral|
|• Total||25.22 km2 (9.74 sq mi)|
|Elevation||453.5 m (1,487.9 ft)|
|• Density||82/km2 (210/sq mi)|
Bovec (Italian: Plezzo, German: Flitsch, Friulian: Plèz) is a town in the Littoral region in northwestern Slovenia. It is the central settlement of the Municipality of Bovec. It has been traditionally part of the historic Gorizia region, but nowadays only a minority of locals share this identity, preferring to identify with the wider region of the Slovenian Littoral.
Bovec is located in northwestern Slovenia, close to border with Italy, 136 kilometres (85 mi) from the capital Ljubljana, at an elevation of 434 m (1,424 ft). The settlement lies in the Bovec Basin of the Soča (Italian: Isonzo) Valley, below the eastern slopes of Mount Kanin in the Julian Alps.
Bovec was attested in written sources in 1070 as Plecium and Pletium (and as Vlicez in 1181–96, Plezio in 1257, and Pleç in 1377). During the 12th and 13th centuries, the name designated not only the settlement itself, but also the wider Upper Soča region, including the Trenta Valley. The Slovene name is derived from the Slavic form *Blьcь, but this itself is of pre-Slavic origin. The Friulian and German names indicate that the names may be derived from *Plitium or *Pletium, which could possibly be connected with the oronym Phligadia mentioned by Strabo or the place name Phlygades. Less likely possibilities include a connection to the ancient place names Ampletium and Planta. In the local dialect, the settlement is known as Bec.
In ancient times, the area on the Roman road leading to the Predil Pass was part of the northeastern Venetia et Histria region of the Italia province. It was incorporated into the Carolingian march of Friuli, after Charlemagne had conquered the Italian Kingdom of the Lombards in 774. With the medieval Kingdom of Italy, it came under the rule of King Otto I of Germany in 952 and part of the Imperial March of Verona.
Bovec itself was first mentioned in 1192, when it belonged to the Patriarchate of Aquileia. Initially, it was part of Tolmin (Tolmein) County, which was conquered by the Republic of Venice in 1420 and incorporated into the Domini di Terraferma. The lands on the upper Soča River were finally included in the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy under Emperor Maximilian I upon the War of the League of Cambrai in 1509 and added to the lands of Görz (Gorizia) in the south, which Maximilian had inherited in 1500.
Elevated to the Principality of Gorizia and Gradisca, the majority of Slovene-speaking territories of the province, with the exception of a brief period between 1809 and 1813, when it was included under the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy, remained under Austrian rule until 1918. During the last Austro-Hungarian period, the town was included in the larger Austrian Littoral province of Cisleithania, part of the Tolmein district (one of the 11 districts within Küstenland) Slovene completely replaced German as the language of everyday communication in 19th century.
First World War
During the First World War, the area was the theatre of the bloody Battles of the Isonzo, fought between the Austro-Hungarian and the Italian Army between June 1915 and November 1917, which devastated the region almost completely. After the war, the military cemetery east of Bovec was expanded and the remains of Austro-Hungarian and Italian soldiers were transferred to the cemetery from surrounding cemeteries. The remains of the Italian soldiers were exhumed and transferred to the Italian military ossuary outside Kobarid in 1938. Over 600 soldiers are buried in the cemetery; the graves cover the entire cemetery area, although only the south quarter has concrete grave markers. There are no names on the grave markers.
The Fascist Italianization period
In 1918, with the Treaty of Rapallo, it was occupied by Italy and in 1920 officially annexed to the Kingdom of Italy. Between 1922 and 1943, Bovec and the neighbouring villages, which had an exclusively Slovene-speaking population, were submitted to a policy of forced Fascist Italianization.
Numerous locals joined the underground militant anti-fascist organization TIGR, which fought against the Italian Fascist regime, while many others emigrated to the neighbouring Kingdom of Yugoslavia (among them, the renowned literary scholar Anton Ocvirk).
World War II
Between 1943 and 1945, the area was occupied by Nazi German forces, and units of Slovene partisans were active in the area. After the liberation by the Yugoslav People's Army in May 1945, Bovec came under joint British-U.S. occupation. Between June 1945 and September 1947, Bovec and the entire right bank of the Soča River was included in Zone A of the Julian March, which was under Allied military administration, with the demarcation line with the Yugoslav occupation zone running just a few kilometers east of the town.
Bovec is the site of a mass grave associated with the Second World War. The Cemetery Mass Grave (Slovene: Grobišče na pokopališču) is located next to the entrance to the town cemetery. It contained the remains of 11 German soldiers killed between 1941 and 1945. The names of all of them are known. The grave was exhumed in 2000 and the remains were transferred to Žale Cemetery in Ljubljana. Unlike most mass graves in Slovenia, the grave was well maintained during the communist era with funds provided by the German War Graves Commission. The mass grave is marked by a plaque in Slovene and German.
Bovec was heavily damaged by the 1976 Friuli earthquake. Another moderate quake with a magnitude of 5.6 on the Richter scale shook the town in April 1998, and a weaker one occurred in July 2004, with a 4.9 magnitude.
In 2007, part of the movie Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian was shot close to Bovec.
On 22 June 2012 the Bovec Local Tourist Organisation gained attention for having a pictogram "no homosexuals wanted" placed on their accommodation catalogue. It was a mistake, because the Bovec tourist organisation wanted to use the pictogram "homosexuals welcome". The catalogue has been removed from the circulation and the pictogram blackened. It has also been removed from the organisation's web page.
Notable people that were born or lived in Bovec include:
- "Bovec, Bovec". Place Names. Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
- Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia
- Kos, Franc, & Milko Kos. 1911. Gradivo za zgodovino Slovencev v srednjem veku, vol. 3. Ljubljana: Leonova družba, p. 259.
- Snoj, Marko. 2009. Etimološki slovar slovenskih zemljepisnih imen. Ljubljana: Modrijan and Založba ZRC, pp. 72–73.
- Die postalischen Abstempelungen auf den österreichischen Postwertzeichen-Ausgaben 1867, 1883 und 1890, Wilhelm KLEIN, 1967
- Branko Marušič, Pregled politične zgodovine Slovencev na Goriškem, 1848-1899 (Goriški muzej, 2005)
- Information sign at the Bovec Military Cemetery.
- Cemetery Mass Grave on Geopedia (Slovene)
- "Homoseksualci v Bovcu pomotoma nezaželeni" [Homosexuals in Bovec Mistakenly Unwanted]. MMC RTV Slovenija (in Slovene) (RTV Slovenija). ISSN 1581-372X.
- "V Bovcu nekateri prepovedali homoseksualne obiskovalce" [Some Have Forbidden Homosexual Visitors in Bovec]. Slovenskenovice.si (in Slovene). 22 June 2012.
- Občina Bovec: dr. Vasja Klavora (Slovene)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bovec.|
- Bovec on Geopedia
- Joffitours - accommodation in Bovec
- Bovec.Travel website about travelling to and visting Bovec