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The plain at the confluence of the Soca and Vipava rivers. In the foreground, Miren Castle and the village of Bilje. Mirenskigrad1.jpg
The plain at the confluence of the Soča and Vipava rivers. In the foreground, Miren Castle and the village of Bilje.

Goriška is a historical region in western Slovenia on the border with Italy. It comprises the northern part of the wider traditional region of the Slovenian Littoral (Primorska). The name Goriška is an adjective referring to the city of Gorizia, [1] [2] its historical and cultural centre.

Historical regions are geographic areas which at some point in time had a cultural, ethnic, linguistic or political basis, regardless of present-day borders. They are used as delimitations for studying and analysing social development of period-specific cultures without any reference to contemporary political, economic or social organisations.

The fundamental principle underlying this view is that older political and mental structures exist which exercise greater influence on the spatial-social identity of individuals than is understood by the contemporary world, bound to and often blinded by its own worldview - e.g. the focus on the nation-state.

Slovenia republic in Central Europe

Slovenia, officially the Republic of Slovenia, is a sovereign state located in southern Central Europe at a crossroads of important European cultural and trade routes. It is bordered by Italy to the west, Austria to the north, Hungary to the northeast, Croatia to the southeast, and the Adriatic Sea to the southwest. It covers 20,273 square kilometers (7,827 sq mi) and has a population of 2.07 million. One of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, Slovenia is a parliamentary republic and a member of the United Nations, of the European Union, and of NATO. The capital and largest city is Ljubljana.

Italy republic in Southern Europe

Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a country in Southern Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and has a largely temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe.



The region stretches from the Julian Alps (Mt. Triglav) in the north down the Soča River to Nova Gorica and the Karst Plateau in the hinterland of Trieste. It encompasses the following municipalities (from north to south):

Julian Alps mountain range

The Julian Alps are a mountain range of the Southern Limestone Alps that stretch from northeastern Italy to Slovenia, where they rise to 2,864 m at Mount Triglav, the highest peak in Slovenia and of the former Yugoslavia. They are named after Julius Caesar, who founded the municipium of Cividale del Friuli at the foot of the mountains. A large part of the Julian Alps is included in Triglav National Park. The second highest peak of the range, the 2,775 m high Jôf di Montasio, lies in Italy.

Soča river flows through western Slovenia and northeastern Italy

The Soča or Isonzo is a 138-kilometre (86 mi) long river that flows through western Slovenia and northeastern Italy.

Municipality of Brda Municipality in Slovenia

The Municipality of Brda is a municipality in western Slovenia. It is located in the Slovenian Littoral region, extending from the Italian border to the Soča River. It is bounded by Sabotin Hill to the east and Korada Hill to the north.

Nova Gorica Town and Municipality in Slovenia

Nova Gorica is a town and a municipality in western Slovenia, on the border with Italy. Nova Gorica is a planned town, built according to the principles of modernist architecture after 1947, when the Paris Peace Treaty established a new border between Yugoslavia and Italy, leaving nearby Gorizia outside the borders of Yugoslavia and thus cutting off the Soča Valley, the Vipava Valley, the Gorizia Hills and the northwestern Karst Plateau from their traditional regional urban centre. Since 1948, Nova Gorica has replaced Gorizia as the principal urban centre of the Goriška or Gorizia region, as the northern part of the Slovenian Littoral has been traditionally called.

Municipality of Šempeter-Vrtojba Municipality in Slovenia

The Municipality of Šempeter-Vrtojba is a municipality in Slovenia. The municipality comprises the town of Šempeter pri Gorici and the adjacent village of Vrtojba.

It is entirely included in the Gorizia Statistical Region, except for the southernmost municipalities of Komen and Sežana, which are part of the Coastal–Karst Statistical Region.

Gorizia Statistical Region Statistical region

The Gorizia Statistical Region is a statistical region in western Slovenia, along the border with Italy. It is named after the Italian town of Gorizia. The Julian Alps, the Soča River, and the Vipava Valley are the most prominent natural features of this region. It contributed just over 5% to total national GDP in 2012, but in terms of GDP per capita it ranked fourth in the country. In the same year, disposable income per capita in the region the highest, in second place behind the Central Slovenia Statistical Region. Housing stock estimates indicate that at the end of 2013 the region had the highest share of dwellings with three or more rooms. The share of single-room dwellings was less than 10%. Dwellings here are larger than the Slovenian average, with 37 m² of usable floor space per person on average. The number of cars per 1,000 population is also the highest in Slovenia, with an average of 100 cars more per 1,000 people than in the Central Sava Statistical Region. However, the cars here and in the Lower Sava Statistical Region are also the oldest.

Coastal–Karst Statistical Region Statistical region

The Coastal–Karst Statistical Region is a statistical region in southwest Slovenia. It covers the traditional and historical regions of Slovenian Istria and most of the Karst Plateau, which traditionally belonged to the County of Gorizia and Gradisca. The region has a sub-Mediterranean climate and is Slovenia's only statistical region bordering the sea. Its natural features enable the development of tourism, transport, and special agricultural crops. More than two-thirds of gross value added are generated by services ; most was generated by activities at the Port of Koper and through seaside and spa tourism. The region recorded almost a quarter of all tourist nights in the country in 2013; slightly less than half by domestic tourists. Among foreign tourists, Italians, Austrians, and Germans predominated. In 2012 the region was one of four regions with a positive annual population growth rate (8.1‰). However, the age structure of the population was less favourable: in mid-2013 the ageing index was 133.3, which means that for every 100 inhabitants under 15 there were 133 inhabitants 65 or older. The farms in this region are among the smallest in Slovenia in terms of average utilised agricultural area per farm and in terms of the number of livestock on farms.

Goriška borders on Upper Carniola in the northeast and Inner Carniola in the east. In the south, it is confined by Slovenian Istria and the Trieste city limits. Together with the adjacent Italian provinces of Gorizia, Udine and Pordenone in the west, it may be considered part of the larger Friuli region.

Upper Carniola

Upper Carniola is a traditional region of Slovenia, the northern mountainous part of the larger Carniola region. The centre of the region is Kranj, while other urban centers include Jesenice, Tržič, Škofja Loka, Kamnik, and Domžale. It has around 300,000 inhabitants or 14% of the population of Slovenia.

Inner Carniola historical province of Slovenia

Inner Carniola is a traditional region of Slovenia, the southwestern part of the larger Carniola region. It comprises the Hrušica karst plateau up to Postojna Gate, bordering the Slovenian Littoral in the west. Its administrative and economic center of the region is Postojna, and other minor centers include Logatec, Cerknica, Pivka, and Ilirska Bistrica.

Province of Gorizia Province in Friuli–Venezia Giulia, Italy

The Province of Gorizia was a province in the autonomous Friuli–Venezia Giulia region of Italy, which was disbanded on 30 September 2017.


Upon the Slavic settlement of the Eastern Alps from about 600, Slavic tribes in contact with the neighbouring principality of Carantania moved into the Karst Plateau into the eastern Bassa Friulana, then part of the Lombard Duchy of Friuli. After Charlemagne had defeated the Kingdom of the Lombards at the 774 Siege of Pavia, the territory was incorporated into the Carolingian frontier March of Friuli. Margrave Berengar had himself crowned King of Italy in 888, while the adjacent marches of Carinthia (former Carantania) and Carniola had become part of East Francia upon the 843 Treaty of Verdun. When in 951 the East Frankish king Otto I of Germany invaded Italy, he seized the Friulan lands as part of the larger March of Verona, ruled by the Bavarian, later Carinthian dukes.

The settlement of the Eastern Alps region by early Slavs took place during the 6th to 8th centuries. It is part of the southward expansion of the early Slavs which would result in the characterization of the South Slavic group, and would ultimately result in the ethnogenesis of the modern Slovene people. The Eastern Alpine territories concerned comprise modern-day Slovenia, Eastern Friul and large parts of modern Austria.

Slavs Indo-European ethno-linguistic group living in Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia

Slavs are an Indo-European ethno-linguistic group who speak the various Slavic languages of the larger Balto-Slavic linguistic group. They are native to Eurasia, stretching from Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe all the way north and eastwards to Northeast Europe, Northern Asia (Siberia), the Caucasus, and Central Asia, as well as historically in Western Europe and Western Asia. From the early 6th century they spread to inhabit the majority of Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe. Today, there is a large Slavic diaspora throughout North America, particularly in the United States and Canada as a result of immigration.

Carantania former country

Carantania, also known as Carentania, was a Slavic principality that emerged in the second half of the 7th century, in the territory of present-day southern Austria and north-eastern Slovenia. It was the predecessor of the March of Carinthia, created within the Carolingian Empire in 889.

In 1077 King Henry IV of Germany enfeoffed the Patriarchs of Aquileia with Friuli; the town of Gorizia (Görz) became the power base of their ministeriales from the comital Meinhardiner dynasty. They were able to acquire and consolidate an immediate home territory, the County of Görz, which they retained even after the Friulan territory of Aquileia was conquered by the Republic of Venice in 1420 and incorporated into the Domini di Terraferma . When the House of Gorizia became extinct in 1500, their county fell to the House of Habsburg; with neighbouring Carinthia and Carniola it was administrated within Inner Austria.

Goriska, Inner Carniola and Slovene Istria territories annexed by Italy according to the Treaty of Rapallo Treaty of Rapallo.png
Goriška, Inner Carniola and Slovene Istria territories annexed by Italy according to the Treaty of Rapallo

From 1754 onwards, the region belonged to the Princely County of Gorizia and Gradisca, a crown land of the Habsburg Monarchy. When in 1809 Napoleon created the short-lived French Illyrian Provinces, he drew the border with the re-established Kingdom of Italy in the west along the Soča/Isonzo River. After the 1815 Congress of Vienna, the entire crown land of Gorizia and Gradisca with Trieste and the March of Istria as well as Carinthia and Carniola formed the Austrian Kingdom of Illyria with its capital at Ljubljana (Laibach).

Part of the Austrian Littoral from 1849, the Soča Valley was the site of the fierce Battles of the Isonzo on the Italian front of Austria-Hungary during World War I. According to the 1919 Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, the whole Littoral region passed to the Kingdom of Italy. Together with the adjacent Inner Carniolan and Istrian lands, it was incorporated into the Julian March administrative region. The border with the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was confirmed in the 1920 Treaty of Rapallo. During the Fascist regime the Slovene minority was submitted to a violent policy of Italianization, against the resistance of the TIGR movement.

After World War II, the present borders were established: most of the Slovene-inhabited areas were ceded to the newly established Yugoslav republic of Slovenia, while the town of Gorizia itself with Gradisca and the territory downstream the Isonzo River to the Adriatic coast were left to Italy.

Notable people

Well-known people from the region include

See also

Related Research Articles

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Friuli-Venezia Giulia Autonomous region of Italy

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Friuli Historical region in Italy

Friuli is an area of Northeast Italy with its own particular cultural and historical identity containing 600,000 Friulians. It comprises the major part of the autonomous region Friuli-Venezia Giulia, i.e. the administrative provinces of Udine, Pordenone, and Gorizia, excluding Trieste.

Province of Trieste Former Province in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy

The Province of Trieste was a province in the autonomous Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of Italy. Its capital is the city of Trieste. It had an area of 212 square kilometres (82 sq mi) and a total population of 234,668. It had a coastal length of 48.1 kilometres (29.9 mi). There were 6 communes in the province.

Julian March Region

The Julian March or Julian Venetia is an area of southeastern Europe which is divided among Croatia, Italy and Slovenia. The term was coined in 1863 by Italian linguist Graziadio Isaia Ascoli to demonstrate that the Austrian Littoral, Veneto, Friuli and Trentino had a common Italian linguistic identity. Ascoli emphasized the Augustan partition of Roman Italy at the beginning of the Empire, when Venetia et Histria was Regio X.

Duchy of Carniola

The Duchy of Carniola was a State of the Holy Roman Empire, established under Habsburg rule on the territory of the former East Frankish March of Carniola in 1364. A hereditary land of the Habsburg Monarchy, it became a constituent land of the Austrian Empire in 1804 and part of the Kingdom of Illyria until 1849. A separate crown land from 1849, it was incorporated into the Cisleithanian territories of Austria-Hungary from 1867 until the state's dissolution in 1918. Its capital was Ljubljana.

Bovec Place in Slovenian Littoral, Slovenia

Bovec is a town in the Littoral region in northwestern Slovenia, close to the border with Italy. It is the central settlement of the Municipality of Bovec.

Austrian Littoral former country

The Austrian Littoral was a crown land (Kronland) of the Austrian Empire, established in 1849. It consisted of three regions: the Istria peninsula, Gorizia and Gradisca, and the Imperial Free City of Trieste. Throughout history, the region has been frequently contested, with parts of it controlled at various times by the Republic of Venice, Austria-Hungary, Italy, and Yugoslavia among others.

Kingdom of Illyria Wikimedia disambiguation page

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Slovene Littoral

The Slovene Littoral is one of the five traditional regions of Slovenia. Its name recalls the former Austrian Littoral, the Habsburg possessions on the upper Adriatic coast, which the Slovene Littoral was part of.

Princely County of Gorizia and Gradisca Crown land of the empire of Austria

The Princely County of Gorizia and Gradisca was a crown land of the Habsburg dynasty within the Austrian Littoral on the Adriatic Sea, in what is now a multilingual border area of Italy and Slovenia. It was named for its two major urban centers, Gorizia and Gradisca d'Isonzo.

Doberdò del Lago Comune in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy

Doberdò del Lago is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Gorizia in the Italian region Friuli-Venezia Giulia, located about 30 kilometres (19 mi) northwest of Trieste and about 11 kilometres (7 mi) southwest of Gorizia, and borders the following municipalities: Duino-Aurisina, Fogliano Redipuglia, Komen (Slovenia), Miren-Kostanjevica (Slovenia), Monfalcone, Ronchi dei Legionari, Sagrado, and Savogna d'Isonzo. It is located in the westernmost part of the Karst Plateau.

County of Gorizia former state 1127–1747

The County of Gorizia, from 1365 Princely County of Gorizia, was a State of the Holy Roman Empire. Originally mediate Vogts of the Patriarchs of Aquileia, the Counts of Gorizia (Meinhardiner) ruled over several fiefs in the area of Lienz and in the Friuli region of northeastern Italy with their residence at Gorizia (Görz).

Vipava Valley valley in Slovenia

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Predil Pass alpin pass on the frontier Italy-Slovenia

The Predil Pass or Predel Pass is a high mountain pass on the border between Italy and Slovenia.

Simon Rutar Slovenian historian

Simon Rutar was a Slovene historian and geographer. He wrote primarily on the history and geography of the areas that are now part of the Slovenian Littoral, the Italian region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia and the Croatian counties of Istria and Primorsko-Goranska.

Šempeter pri Gorici Place in Littoral, Slovenia

Šempeter pri Gorici is a town and the administrative centre of the Municipality of Šempeter-Vrtojba in the Slovene Littoral region of Slovenia. There is a border crossing into the Italian town of Gorizia. The crossing is known as San Pietro di Gorizia in Italian.

Slovene minority in Italy, also known as Slovenes in Italy is the name given to Italian citizens who belong to the autochthonous Slovene ethnic and linguistic minority living in the Italian autonomous region of Friuli – Venezia Giulia. The vast majority of members of the Slovene ethnic minority live in the Provinces of Trieste, Gorizia, and Udine. Estimates of their number vary significantly; the official figures show 24.706 Slovenian speakers in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, as per the 1971 Census, but Slovenian estimates speak of 83,000 to 100,000 people.

Municipality of Kobarid Municipality in Slovenia

The Municipality of Kobarid is a municipality in the Upper Soča Valley in western Slovenia, near the Italian border. The seat of the municipality is the town of Kobarid. The municipality was established on 3 October 1994, when the former larger Municipality of Tolmin was subdivided into the municipalities of Bovec, Kobarid, and Tolmin.


  1. Snoj, Marko. 2009. Etimološki slovar slovenskih zemljepisnih imen. Ljubljana: Modrijan and Založba ZRC, p. 144.
  2. Merkù, Pavle. 1999. Slovenska krajevna imena v Italiji. Priročnik. Trieste: Mladika, p. 33.

Coordinates: 45°57′19.06″N13°38′5.36″E / 45.9552944°N 13.6348222°E / 45.9552944; 13.6348222