Avče (pronounced [ˈaːu̯tʃɛ], Italian: Auzza) is a settlement on the left bank of the Soča River in the Municipality of Kanal ob Soči in the Littoral region of Slovenia. It includes the hamlets of Dolnji Avšček, Gor(e)nji Avšček, and Langa along Avšček Creek southeast of the main settlement, Nadavče to the west, and Spodnji Log and Vrtače to the north along the railroad.
|Municipality||Kanal ob Soči|
|• Total||10.23 km2 (3.95 sq mi)|
|Elevation||172 m (564 ft)|
Avče was first attested in written sources in 1389 as Als (and as Alis in 1523, and Auzha and Auza in 1763–87). The name is derived from *Alьčь, probably related to the Friulian hydronym Auzza or Aussa, which is of pre-Romance origin. It may ultimately be derived from Celtic *alika 'wild service tree' or from some other pre-Romance root meaning 'spring'.
Renovation of Saint Martin's Church has revealed artifacts from the Roman era, testifying to early settlement of the site.
On 31 March 1908, the first confirmed meteorite in the area of the modern Slovenia fell near the village of Avče. Its name is Avce. It weighs 1,230 grams (43 oz) and is a hexahedrite, composed primarily of iron. It is kept at the Vienna Natural History Museum.
Avče was partially destroyed during the First World War during the Italian advance to the western part of the Banjšice Plateau. There is an Austrian memorial plaque in Podlajša dedicated to the Austro-Hungarian units that served there, and in the Avče cemetery there is a dilapidated Italian war memorial.
During the Second World War, an Italian (and later German) military post was located in Avče to protect the railroad from Jesenice to Gorizia. The post was attached by the Partisans on 26 October 1943 and the entire contingent stationed there was captured. There were further attacks in January and June 1944, and the bridges across Avšček and Avščica creeks were destroyed. The Partisans had a base on the Osojnica Ridge south of the settlement, from which they carried out attacks on German positions. On 28 March 1944 the Germans captured Jožef Škodnik, a leader in the communist-led resistance, and hanged him in the middle of the village. A memorial plaque on the Škodnik house commemorates the event.
A second church above the village in the hamlet of Nadavče is dedicated to Our Lady of the Snows. It contains frescos painted by Jernej of Loka. It is a pilgrimage church and was first mentioned in written sources in 1497. The construction of the church began in the late 15th century, and the chancel was vaulted in 1515. It has a Baroque marble altar with three sculptures dating to circa 1520, and also three gilded altars. The free-standing bell tower of the church is believed to be a Roman tower, and a key to the bell tower dating from 1515 has been preserved.
Notable people that were born or lived in Avče include:
- Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia
- Spezialortsrepertorium der österreichischen Länder. Bearbeitet auf Grund der Ergebnisse der Volkszählung vom 31. Dezember 1910, vol. 7: Österreichisch-Illyrisches Küstenland. Vienna: K. k. Hof- und Staatsdruckerei. 1918. p. 7.
- Kanal ob Soči municipal site
- Savnik, Roman, ed. 1968. Krajevni leksikon Slovenije, vol. 1. Ljubljana: Državna založba Slovenije, pp. 195–196.
- Snoj, Marko. 2009. Etimološki slovar slovenskih zemljepisnih imen. Ljubljana: Modrijan and Založba ZRC, p. 49.
- Bezlaj, France. 1955. "J. Hubschmid: Alpenwörter romanischen und vorromanisciien Ursprungs, J. Hubschmid: Pyrenäenwörter vorromanischen Ursprungs und das vorromanische Substrat der Alpen" (book review). Slavistična revija: časopis za jezikoslovje in literarne vede 8(1/2): 132–138, p. 135. (in Slovene)
- Božič, Dragan; Zoran Božič; Miran Lola Božič (October 2007). "Meteor ali topova kroglja" [Meteor or Cannonball] (PDF). Življenje in tehnika (in Slovenian) (10).
- Roman Catholic Diocese of Koper List of Churches May 2008 Archived 6 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine
- Slovenian Ministry of Culture register of national heritage Archived 21 January 2016 at the Wayback Machine reference number ešd 3555
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