Fort Kluže

The Kluže Fort served as an important barrier at the entry of the Koritnica River into the Bovec basin. Already its location above the Koritnica gorge is exceptional. According to the historian Simon Rutar of Tolmin, the Bovec fort was built as a Venetian defense against the Turks. Turkish incursions into the Bovec area were described in a document dating to 1471. Rutar believes that the fortress was initially wooden.

The fort regained its significance during the Venetian-Hapsburg war that started in 1508. The Hapsburgs occupied it and had the fort built of stone and reinforced, on account of the Carinthian States. The first substantive major works on the building were carried out towards the end of the 16th century.

During the beginning of the 17th century the Bovec governor Georg Philipp von Gera (Bovec governor from 1609-1647) commissioned designs to be drawn up for the reconstruction and improvement of the fort's armament. Two illustrations depict the fort as it was during the first half of the 18th century. These reveal that it was not intended only for defense. The building was again renewed in 1797, as the French threat drew closer. The French suffered severe losses in their attempt to occupy the fort; nonetheless, they finally took it by stratagem and burnt it down in revenge. The ruins of the fort thus stood abandoned for some time.

A new road was cut and built through the rock during the second half of the 19th century. Thus the location of the fort again gained in significance. A new and larger fort, which still stands, was built at the same location in 1881/1882.

A second fort was built above the road at the end of the 19th century; initially it was named Fort Rombon and later Fort Hermann. Both played essential roles during WWI. The upper one covered the Bovec basin with its cannons, while the other housed the garrison immediately behind the front line. The upper one was soon bombed and severely damaged, while the lower one remained undamaged until 1945, when the architectural element of the special barrier along the western side had to be demolished in order to widen the road.

Fortress Kluže currently has a new content. The Tolminski muzej (The Tolmin museum) has prepared with external colleagues permanent exhibitions: From the Twilight of the Centuries, Archaeological Sites in the Bovec Region, Isonzo front 1915-1917, Natural Features in the Bovec Region.


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