A Roman fort hidden behind the trees


Along one of those magnificent Slovenian roads for a bike ride stands an ancient Roman fort. It can easily be reached by bike, but not many of the cyclists who pass here stop. Not many even know of the existence of this piece of Slovenian heritage. Fort Lanišče had a long history but deserves a better future.

Slovenian road 621 is a quiet road and a beautiful one, that winds its way up and down through the forests, starting in the Alpine climate around the settlement Kalce and ending in the mediterrean climate on the other side of mountain Col. The 621 is not a small road, it’s rather wide, like a main road, although it seems to go from nowhere to nowhere.

Almost on the course of the current 621 was once the Roman road that connected Emona (Ljubljana) with Aquilea (a big Roman city on the location of the present-day village Aquilea in East-Italy). In those days of the Roman Empire fortifications were erected on several places along the route to defend the empire against attacks from the East. In the fourth century a fort was built about four kilometers from the start of the 621 from Kalce.

Fort Lanišče is still there. It stands next to the 621. It’s not completely original. The fort is a reconstruction, based on archaeological findings on the exact same location. Lanišče is the only reconstructed fort of the huge Roman defense system Claustra Alpium Iuliarum which ran through Slovenia from north to south.

In a corner of the road a sign points to Lanišče. The fort is hidden behind the trees. It measures 20 x 20 metres. It doesn’t have a roof. The fort consists of four thick walls. Inside the grass stands high. In the middle are the remains of a fire. It’s something, but it’s not much. Information tables tell the story about the fort and the Roman defense line it was part of. The Slovenian version is easy to read. For English you have to stand in weed and bushes that have overgrown the tables. The fort looks abandoned and forgotten. Standing there I can’t help feeling that it deserves better.