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Ljubljana, Slovenia
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The Trail of Remembrance and Comradeship (Slovene: Pot spominov in tovaristva, POT) is a cultural and historical monument constituted of ordered nature - a 32.5km hiking trail around Ljubljana following the perimeter of fortified barbed wire which surrounded the city between 1942 and 1945. The wire obstacle was installed by the Fascist armed forces in order to isolate the resistance movement in the city and prevent it from establishing contact with the surroundings. The defence ring comprised 206 bunkers, fortified sentry boxes, stations, and blocks. The POT, in places lined with trees, leads through residential neighbourhoods, fields and meadows, and through a forest across hill Golovec. Ljubljana holds a special place in the history of World War 2 as there were not many cities which were turned into mass prisons. Wounded fighters, Partisans, and Liberation Front agents passed illegally through the fortified and heavily guarded ring using secret passages. The trail along the former wire fence is thus a monument to the population's rebellion against the occupiers and its desire for freedom, and as such comparable to the Berlin Wall. The perimeter of the former wire fence was marked out in 1957 by architect Vlasto Kopac. According to his designs, six stone obelisks with relief work by sculptor Bozo Pengov were erected at the checkpoints by the arterial roads in 1959. By 1962, 102 inscribed memorial stone columns were installed at the sites of demolished bunkers. Between 1972 and 1985, hiking trail development and tree planting as designed by architects Mitja Omersa, Franc Kastelic, and Joze Stoka took place. In 1985, a comprehensive regulation of the POT by architect Janez Kozelj and his collaborators included the erection of memorial masts, installation of signposts and information plaques, the reconstruction of the remains of bunkers, and the installation of a memorial to the first laying of the wire obstacle. The Trail of Remembrance and Comradeship is a group project of the largest historical monument on the city. This is also a major factor in its distinction as the people of Ljubljana mostly built it themselves by means of voluntary labour. Through the years, the former wartime memorial was transformed into a public good - a unique space for socialising and recreation in greenery, accessible to everyone. The POT is a living project that is forever unfinished, which is why the hiking trail, the greenery, the equipment, and the facilities by the trail are maintained and continuously renovated: some elements of the POT are more durable than others, some materials require more maintenance and some less, and not even all species of trees are equally resilient and have different life spans. Furthermore, the POT is augmented by new layouts, rest areas, playgrounds, and sporting areas - its potential is limitless. Preserving and maintaining the contiguous green ring is vital in order for the monument to be able to perform its social and environmental function in the green system of the city, accounting as it does for a quarter of all of its park surfaces.

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bostjan, October 25th, 2019
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