LJUBLJANA: PST – PATH OF REMEMBRANCE AND COMRADESHIP
The PST cycling route runs around and through Ljubljana, leading through those urban areas of Ljubljana that are rarely visited by tourists, but it mostly gives the opportunity to truly appreciate the city’s greenery. On this relatively easy path with a few ascents, visitors are able to enjoy a different view of Ljubljana, which involves not only the spatial but also the historical perspective.
Soon after the outbreak of World War II, Ljubljana was occupied by Italy. As the largest urban centre in the region, it served as a central point to resistance, so in 1942 Italian Army fenced Ljubljana off with barbed wire to separate the city from the surrounding areas. There were 206 guard towers and bunkers erected along the fence, which was guarded by approximately 1,300 soldiers and 400 policemen, who checked the IDs of everyone who entered or left the city. After the capitulation of Italy in 1943, the German army took control of the fence. The Liberation Army marched into Ljubljana on 9 May 1945 – 1,170 days after the fence had been set up.
The construction of the path along the former fence was started soon after the war. The annual recreational hike, which runs on the path in honour of the Victory Day on 9 May every year, an European holiday commemorating the victory over fascism, has a long standing tradition. Coincidentally, May 9 is also the exact day Ljubljana was liberated. Although the commemoration path was completed in 1985, it has been constantly upgraded as the city’s largest park, the longest row of trees and generally as one of the largest green areas, and the annual recreational day has become a popular running event.
Today, this long walkway, which is mostly paved with gravel, is called the Path of Remembrance and Comradeship (Slovenian acronym: PST), with about seven thousand trees found along the way, as well as information boards, sign posts and metal road marks. The path, which is 33 km long and for most of the part 4 meters wide, is used every day by many locals for running, dog walking or simple walks. Cycling is permitted, of course, but the cyclists are not allowed to obstruct or endanger other users of the path.
As Ljubljana kept expanding, some parts of the path have come to run through the city. Some sections are more or less secluded, while others can get very busy, depending on the season, time of the day and weather. Some parts feature many interesting places where one can stop at and go sightseeing, while others are just perfect for simply enjoying the ride.
Note: The PST cycling tour starts in the city centre, where one can find no “original” Path of Remembrance and Comradeship; some parts of the tour do not exactly overlap with the PST path as the original route is sometimes unsuitable for cyclists. Below is a list of some interesting points to visit on a trip.