||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (February 2012)|
A bridge over the Reka at the outskirt of Ilirska Bistrica
|Traditional region||Inner Carniola|
|Statistical region||Littoral–Inner Carniola|
|• Total||34.8 km2 (13.4 sq mi)|
|Elevation||421.2 m (1,381.9 ft)|
Ilirska Bistrica (pronounced [iˈliːrska ˈbiːstritsa]; Italian: Villa del Nevoso (before 1927 Bisterza), German: Illyrisch Feistritz) is a town in Slovenia. It is the seat of the Municipality of Ilirska Bistrica. It belongs to the traditional region of Inner Carniola.
The name Ilirska Bistrica has its origin during the times of the Austrian Empire, in which the adjective Ilirska (in German: Illyrisch) was added to the old name Bistrica (German: Feistritz) to differentiate it from other towns in the empire that had the same name, such as Banská Bystrica in modern-day Slovakia. The name Ilirska Bistrica thus means 'Illyrian Bistrica', referring to the Kingdom of Illyria, an administrative unit of the Austrian Empire between 1816 and 1849.
Coat of arms
The town's coat of arms represents the history of the region, recalling the pre-Slavic Ilyrian people that once populated the area, along with their shipbuilding past. The town's current coat of arms was adopted in the mid-19th century and is only a slight modification of the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Illyria.
The town's history has been primarily shaped by the nations that have occupied it. Within the last 100 years, it has been under the control of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Italy, Yugoslavia, and Slovenia. Remnants of this can still be seen in numerous monuments, the Ilirska Bistrica railway station, and the Italian barracks from the Second World War.
Ilirska Bistrica is the site of two known mass graves from the Second World War. The Stražica Mass Grave (Slovene: Grobišče pod Stražico), also known as the Black Fields Mass Grave (Grobišče Črne njive) is located north of the town, about 170 m north of the summit of Stražica Hill. It contained the remains of German soldiers from the 97th Corps that fell at the beginning of May 1945. The grave has been exhumed. The Cemetery Mass Grave (Grobišče pod pokopališčem) is located next to the town cemetery. It contains the remains of 82 German soldiers buried in a former firing trench. An asphalt road and parking lot were laid over the grave when the cemetery was expanded.
The town is used by tourists and trekkers as a starting point for travelling to the top of the Snežnik plateau, a day-long round trip from Ilirska Bistrica. At 1,796 m (5,892 ft), the plateau's highest peak, Big Mount Snežnik (Slovene: Veliki Snežnik), is the highest non-Alpine peak in Slovenia.
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