Thousands join Ljubljana WWII memorial hike
Thousands of hikers and runners took part in the 65th Walk along the Wire in Ljubljana in a culmination of a three-day event in memory of the barbed wire that kept the city under the lockout during the Second World War.
The hugely popular annual event got under way on 4 May as almost 6,000 kids from Ljubljana's kindergartens walked short sections of the 35-kilometre gravel path around the city.
The next day about 13,000 school children took part, and on 6 May more than 13,000 hikers joined in the walk and close to 4,000 runners competed in the run of three member teams, according to the organizers.
"Today we had an estimated 10,000 hikers who walked the entire route and about 3,000 taking the shorter distance," said Barbara Železnik, director of Timing Ljubljana, which organizes the event together with the Ljubljana municipality.
A total of 1,265 trios took part in the Run of Trios at distances of 3.5, 12.5 and 29 kilometres, all of which finished in Congress Square in the city centre.
Primož Kobe, a member of the Blue Racers, the male team that won the 12.5 km run, told the STA the magic of the Run of Trios was that you never knew where the other trio was. "Some are doing better running uphill, some downhill and some prefer a flat terrain, so it's interesting all the way to the finish line," he said.
The festival wrapped up with a musical programme featuring a Partisan choir and Ljubljana school choirs.
The barbed wire around Ljubljana was put up in 1942 by the Italian occupying forces in order to stop supplies to the Partisan resistance.
Ljubljana was the only European capital at the time to be locked out in such a way, a regime lasting for 1,170 days until the end of WWII in 1945. Ljubljana was liberated on 9 May.
Erected within three days in the length of almost 30 kilometres, the wire was lined with bunkers and minefields and patrolled by 2,500 troops.
In 2016, the Walk Along the Wire was included in the register of living cultural heritage.