Slovenia Revealed
The bridge in the town of Kanal is a common site on brochures and websites promoting the beauties of the Soča River Valley. Foto: MMC RTV SLO
The bridge has become Kanal’s most recognizable landmark. And every summer, people from around the world gather in the town to jump from the bridge into the Soča River 17 meters below. Foto: BoBo

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Bridging the Centuries

Slovenia Revealed
27. August 2018 ob 09:29
Ljubljana - MMC RTV SLO

The bridge in the town of Kanal is a common site on brochures and websites promoting the beauties of the Soča River Valley. It is also the sight of one of Slovenia’s most picturesque annual events – and has been a part of the town’s fabric for generations.

The first bridge on the spot was built by the Ancient Romans. Over the years, a waked town emerged on the banks of the turquoise Soča River. Records indicate that a wooden bridge was constructed in 1580, but it was destroyed and rebuilt several times over the years.

When Napoleon’s troops invaded the Slovenian Lands in the early 19th century, they demolished the strategic bridge; later, Napoleon spent the night in Kanal on his victorious tour of his newly conquered territories. The bridge was soon rebuilt, thanks in part to the efforts of a local priest and editor named Valentin Stanič, but its military significance once again sealed its fate during World War I. When that conflict broke out, Kanal was emptied due to its proximity to the Isonzo front and the bridge was once again demolished. Today’s bridge dates back to 1920. Its distinctive arch enables water to pass safely under the bridge even when floods cause the Soča to rise far above its usual level.

The bridge has become Kanal’s most recognizable landmark. And every summer, people from around the world gather in the town to jump from the bridge into the Soča River 17 meters below. The event is not a competition – the jumps aren’t scored – but it has become a highlight of the local tourist season. Even when no jumps take place, visitors and locals alike enjoy spending their days on a small swimming beach below the scenic bridge that has made Kanal famous across Slovenia – and beyond.

Jaka Bartolj
TV & Radio
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