A ray of sunlight enters the cave/shelter creating an explosion of light in the underground world of the “Hermada Stronghold”. (Photo: Roberto Giurastante)
The Hermada, unconquered stronghold of the Austrian-Hungarian defense line in World War I is like an island that emerges in the southern part of the Karst plateau that descends into the Adriatic Sea, blocking the passage to Trieste.
The Hermada “stronghold” protects, in its bowels, hundreds of caves that were used as scelte by the Austrian protectors. Caves of all dimensione that include the huge caves that halted whole regiment, with power stations, ammunition depots, field hospitals, housing for heavy artillery.
Deep in the undergrounds of the Hermada, exploring this fortified citadel and its dedalus of connected tunnels, is really thrilling. In this sacral place, you breath history, this is for Trieste what river Piave is to Italy. [Italians call Piave “the river of our Motherland” and to Triestines, mountain Hermada is “the stronghold of out Motherland” – translation note.]
And it is right on the fortifications of this powerful defense line that in 1947, after the end of World War II, the border of State between Italy and the newly established Free Territory of Trieste was marked. Maybe to remind the world that the sacrifice of the thousand of soldiers of all ethnic groups of Austria-Hungary defended Trieste, the pearl of the Empire, is not forgotten.