dimarts, 14 d’abril de 2009

Visualizing European unity: Gorizia/Nova Gorica

Everyone knows about the Berlin wall, but for decades there was another divided city in Europe, and by divided I mean, literally, traversed by a wall. After WWII ended, Italy had to surrender some territories of what now are Slovenia and Croatia to the newly created Yugoslavia. Italy managed to retain most of the city of Gorizia, but the train station and its surrounding area went to Yugoslavia, that started to develop a new city, Nova Gorica, that mirrored the Italian one across the border. Although Yugoslavia was officially a non-aligned country, the wall that separated both cities was a physical barrier between the communist East and the Western world. The wall run next to people's houses and through gardens and the magnificent entrance of the station, in Yugoslavia, was facing anything but the wall, giving the situation a surreal touch.

Fortunately, this is now over. Slovenia joined the EU in 2004, with Italian and Slovenian prime ministers meeting in the center of the station square to celebrate the event.

When I visited the station, there was no activity whatsoever and by looking at the wooden interiors, it seemed that the time had stopped in 1947. It is now possible to walk but not drive across the square, as a marking stone, some flowers and a low-lying fence still act as barriers and demarcate the line. A monument in the center of the square, just where the border lies, commemorates the end of the division .

In this blog(in Spanish)there are some interesting pictures.