Between two fires – Rupnik Defence Line and Alpine Wall

Žiri is a peaceful place, safely hidden in its valley “at the end of the world”. Nevertheless, it wasn’t always like that. Between the two wars, Žiri was a place along the national border. In the years before the outbreak of World War II, conditions on the border began to intensify and both countries started to build their own defensive lines. The Italian defensive line was called Vallo Alpino (the Alpine Wall), and to counter its construction, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia responded with an even more reinforced Rupnik Line – named as such later after general Leon Rupnik, commander of fortification works. At that time, in the Žiri area, Italians built many barracks dug into the ground, the so-called “caverns”, though the fortified barracks for Finance Guard units and other smaller barracks had already existed there. In addition to a large number of bunkers ("battle blocks"), the Yugoslav Army was building three underground fortifications, which were among the largest ones along the entire Rapallo border. The largest fortress of the Rupnik defence line would have been under Vrh Svetih Treh Kraljev, but it was never finished since the construction stopped soon after it had begun and the fortress remained a torso. However, the other two fortresses on the Goli and Žirovski vrh hills were almost completed. We suggest that after visiting the Žiri Museum you also visit the nearby military fortifications. Welcome, fortress lovers!