The Middle Ages


The name of Gorizia was first recorded in a document dating AD April 28, 1001, in which the Holy Roman Emperor Otto III donated the castle and village of Gorizia to the Patriarch of Aquileia John II and Count Verihen Eppenstein of Friuli. The document referred to Gorizia as "The village, known in the language of the Slavs as Goriza”.
From the 12th century to the early 16th century the town served as the political and administrative centre of the essentially independent County of Gorizia.

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The County of Gorizia

The County of Gorizia was located around the town of Gorizia in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, current north-eastern Italy. The first count of Gorizia, Meinhard I, is mentioned as early as 1127. The borders of the county changed frequently in the following four centuries, due to frequent wars with the nearby Patriarchate of Aquileia and other counties. The Counts also controlled the March of Treviso (Marca Trevigiana), though only for a short while. After the death of Albert's son, Henry III, who was assassinated in 1323, the county suffered a steep decline under the power of their neighbours, the Republic of Venice and the Austrian Empire.
In 1500 the last count of Gorizia, Leonhard, died and according to a contract of inheritance the county fell to Maximilian I of Habsburg. Until 1747 Gorizia formed a County of the Holy Roman Empire ruled by the Inner Austrian Archdukes as part of the Austrian Circle. It was governed by a "capitano". Its territory included the upper valley of the Isonzo River as far as Aquileia, the area of Cormons and Duino, and the former Venetian fortress of Gradisca. It was occupied by the Venetians from 1508 until 1509, and in 1511 the County of Gradisca was separated from it by the Habsburgs. In 1747, it ceased to be a separate county and was merged with nearby Gradisca to form the Princely County of Gorizia and Gradisca.

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The Napoleonic Period
Palazzo Coronini, One of the symbols of Gorizia as the “Austrian Nice”

During the Napoleonic Wars, Gorizia was incorporated to the French Illyrian provinces between 1809 and 1813. After the restoration of the Austrian , Gorizia and its County were incorporated in the administrative unit known as the Kingdom of Illyria until 1849 when it was made a part of the Austrian Litoral along with Trieste and Istria. In 1861, the territory was reorganized as the Princely County of Gorizia and Gradisca and granted a large degree of regional autonomy. During Austrian rule, Gorizia became known as the "Austrian Nice", since it emerged as a popular summer residence of the Austro-Hungarian nobility.
Members of the former French ruling Bourbon family, deposed by the July Revolution of 1830, also settled in the town, including the last Bourbon monarch Charles X who died in Gorizia.
At the time, Gorizia was a multiethnic town: Italian
and Venetian, Slovene, Friulian and German were spoken in the town centre, while in the suburbs, Slovene and Friulian prevailed. Although some tensions between the Italian-Friulian and the Slovene population were felt, the town continued to maintain a relatively tolerant climate until World War I, in which both Slovene and Italian-Friulian culture flourished.

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from World War I to 2007

Italy entered World War I on the Allied side and conflict began with Austria-Hungary on 24 May 1915 with Italy soon taking Gorizia. Gorizia was seriously damaged and changed hands again in 1916 as the front line ran in its area for two years with several battles fought nearby until the Battle of Caporetto in late 1917, when the Central Powers pushed the Italians back to the Piave River.
After the battle of Caporetto the political life in Austria-Hungary resumed and Gorizia became the center of three competing political camps: the Slovenes, who united to demand an autonomous Yugoslav state within Austria-Hungary, the Friulian Conservatives who demanded a separate and autonomous East Friulian County, and the underground Italian irredentist, who wished the unification with Italy. At the end of World war I, in late October 1918, the Slovenes unilaterally declared their independence within the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs, while the Friulians continued to demand an autonomous region under Habsburg rule. Gorizia became a contested town. By early November 1918, the town was occupied by Italian troops again, which dissolved the two competing authorities.

At first, Gorizia was included in the Governorate of Venezia Giulia (1918-1919). In 1920, the town and the whole region became officially part of Italy. The eutnomous County of Gorizia and Gradisca was dissolved in 1922, and in 1924 it was annexed to the Province of Udine (then called the Province of Friuli). In 1927 Gorizia became a provincial capital within Venezia Giulia. During the fascist regime, all Slovenian organizations were dissolved and the public use of Slovenian language was prohibited. Illegal Slovenian organizations, with an anti-fascist and often irredentist agenda, such as the TIGR, emerged as a result. Many Slovenes emigrated to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and to South America, especially to Argentina.
After the italian armistice in September 1943, the town was shortly occupied by the slovene partisan resistance, but soon fell under Nazi German administration. Between 1943 and 1945 it was incorporated into the Operational Zone Adriatic Littoral. After a brief occupation by the Yugoslav partisans in May and June 1945, the administration was transferred to the Allies until September 1947, when it was fully incorporated into Italy again. Several peripherical districts of the Gorizia municipality Solkan, Pristava & Kromberk were handed over to the Socialist Yugoslavia, together with much of the
The central Post office: an example of fascist architecture
The central Post office: an example of fascist architecture
Province of Gorizia's territory.The national border was thus drawn just off the town centre, putting Gorizia into a peripheral zone. The Yugoslav Slovenian authorities (with president Tito's special support) built a new town called Nova Gorica ("New Gorizia") from 1948 on, on their side of the border.
Though a border city, Gorizia was not crossed by the border with Yugoslavia as often erroneously claimed. This image stems mainly from the presence in Yugoslav territory of old buildings once belonging to Gorizia: these include the old railway station of the line that connected the town of Gorizia to the Austro- Hungarian capital Vienna. Although the situation in Gorizia was often compared with that of Berlin during the Cold War Italy and Yugoslavia had good relations regarding Gorizia. These included cultural and sporting events that favoured the spirit of harmonious coexistence that still exists today.
With the breakup of Yugoslavia, the frontier remained as the division between Italy and Slovenia until the implementation of the Schengen Agreement by Slovenia on 21 December 2007.

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Culture and education

Gorizia is an important center of Friulian and Slovene culture.
Before 1918, the tri-lingual Gorizia Grammar School was one of the most important educational institutions in the Slovene Lands and for the Italians in the Austrian Litoral.
Nowadays, Gorizia hosts several important scientific and educational institutions. Both the University of Trieste and the University of Udine have part of their campuses and faculties located here.
Gorizia is also the site of one of the most important choral competitions, the "C. A. Seghizzi" International Choir Competition, which is a member of the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing.
Other institutes of international fame of Gorizia are the:

  • Institute of International Sociology Gorizia.
  • Institute for Central European Cultural Encounters.
  • International University Instiute for European Studies.
  • Association "La Dante Alighieri".


The majority of the population of Gorizia is of Roman Catholic denomination.
The town is the seat of the Archbishops of Gorizia, who were one of the three legal descentants of


the Patriarchate of Aquileia . Between mid 18th century and 1920 Gorizia was thus the center of a Metropolitan bishopric that comprised the Dioceses of Ljubljana, Trieste, Poreč-Pula and Krk.
There are many important Roman Catholic sacral buildings in the area, among them the sancturies of Sveta Gora ("Holy Mountain") and the monastery of Kostanjevica, both of which are now located in Slovenia.
Until 1943, Gorizia was also home of a small but significant Jewish minority. Most of its members however perished in the Holocaust. An important Evangelical community also exists in Gorizia.


The Jewish community in Gorizia

Gorizia was the seat of an important Jewish community.
The presence of Jews in Gorizia dates back to XVI century. Morpurgo's family and Pincherle's family were employed in loan activities. In 1698 the Ghetto was founded . The forced residence didn't harm the demographic devolpment of the community that passed from 256 people in 1764 to 270 in 1788 people and in 1850 became 314. The Jewish component, in prevalence ashkenazita,
which is of German origins, has left many signs and donated to the city famous people: Charles Michelstaedter (1887-1910), Graziadio Isaia Ascoli (1887-1910) and others. It was essentially linked to the Italian component of the city, many Jews were fervent patriot Italians, for example Caroline Luzzatto and Ascoli himself. The vital Jewish community in Gorizia was erased by the deportation and extermination between '43 and '44. The youngest deportee, Bruno Farber, is remembered with the naming of the garden adjacent to the synagogue: he was three months old. An evidence of the Jewish presence in Gorizia is also the ancient cimitery of Valdirose (now in Slovenia, in Nova Gorica). The census of 1876 counted 692 graves, the oldest of which dates to 1371. Today, many of them have been lost or are illegible. Although the complete disappearance of a Jewish presence in town, what remains of the old ghetto was restored after the war, with the recovery of the local synagogue. In it, took place in April 2009, after more than sixty years, the first marriage between two Israeli citizens, including one originating in Gorizia.
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The Synagogue


The synagogue of Gorizia is located in Via Ascoli and dates back to the eighteen century.
It is recognized by the characteristic high yellow wall, a double arched entry wooden portals , with on top the Star of David. Built in 1756, subsequently restored by the engineer Emilio Luzzatto in 1894, the temple was used by the Jewish community until the sixties: in fact there were few Jews left after the Holocaust and the community is close to that of Trieste.

In 1998 the modern Jewish Museum titled "Jerusalem on Isonzo" can be visited on the ground floor of the building : it illustrates the history of the people of Israel from biblical times to the diaspora with the description of the rites and traditions.
A section of the museum is devoted to the history of the Jewish community of Gorizia from the oldest Jewish settlement in the Middle Ages, to the seventeenth-century emergence of the ghetto, and the social and economic life of an important group of city life to the drama of the deportations.

(as from wikipedia)