Franja Partisan Hospital

Top choice in The Julian Alps

This clandestine hospital, hidden in a canyon near Dolenji Novaki, about 5km northeast of Cerkno, treated wounded Partisan soldiers from Yugoslavia and other countries from late 1943 until the end of WWII. A memorial to humanity and self-sacrifice, it had more than a dozen wooden cabins, including treatment huts, operating theatres, X-ray rooms and huts for convalescence. Some 578 wounded were treated here, and of these only 78 died.

The complex, hidden in a ravine by a stream, had an abundance of fresh water, which was also used to power a hydroelectric generator. Local farmers and Partisan groups provided food, which was lowered down the steep cliffs by rope; medical supplies were diverted from hospitals in occupied areas or later air-dropped by the Allies. The hospital came under attack by the Germans twice but it was never taken.

The hospital was almost entirely destroyed by flood in 2007, and has been completely reconstructed. It's extremely well done, with detailed information panels in both English and Slovene in each building; access is via a lovely 500m stream-side walking path.

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