Javorca Memorial Church

The EHL Site

The Church of Holy Spirit in Javorca was built in 1916 by Austro-Hungarian soldiers, masters of various crafts. It was designed by Remigius Geyling, Viennese scenographer, painter and architect who was a member of Austro-Hungarian soldiers that fought nearby.

The exterior is adorned with coats of arms of the twenty lands, which formed Austria-Hungary. There is a bell tower with a solar clock, the coat of arms of the monarchy and the inscription PAX (peace) above the entrance.

The interior is designed as a three-nave church with wooden pillars, decorated in art nouveau style and oak panels, which symbolise pages of a memorial book, with 2,565 names of fallen Austro-Hungarian soldiers who died in the nearby battlefields. Their names were burnt into wood according to the system of the military hierarchy.

European dimension

The Memorial Church of the Holy Spirit in Javorca is recognised as an exceptional cultural monument in Europe as a unique place to remember fallen soldiers regardless of their origin and culture. It expresses the call for peace, reconciliation and symbolise the unifying power of collaborative artistic creation and construction.

These values are al expressed in a sonnet, written in 2021 by slovenian poet Leon Oblak, and translated by Gašper Kvartič below.

Just time for all things – war, and peace, and recollection.
Absurd years. Yield they shan’t to memory’s damnation!
Veiled prayer now harbours calls for reconciliation,
O‘er stillness flies a shriek – the horror’s own reflection.
Reason can’t even grasp the depths of human folly.
Could hate be easier than love in God’s creation?
Afford the gift of wisdom, Spirit Thou most Holy.

The organization

Tolmin Municipality is the owner of the protected site and is, together with Tolmin Museum and Institute for tourism Soča Valley, in charge of its maintenance and presentation; it organises various events to underline the significance of Javorca as the Place of Remembrance. Javorca lies within Triglav National Park and was designated cultural monument of national importance, hence its protection is stipulated in municipal spatial planning documents. Owner’s budget allocates funds for maintenance and necessary restoration works. The site is easily accessible to general public; the handicapped can use SUV transport. Information is available to visitors in various forms and several languages. Guided visits to the site are led by qualified staff. Pre-school children: free entrance; elementary-school children: reduced entrance fee. Youth can use diverse printed materials and website contents and can hire bikes to reach the site.