AR app launched to enhance Russian Chapel experience

Kranjska Gora – A new augmented reality app is ready to enhance the experience of those visiting the Russian Chapel, a site that honours Russian POWs killed during WWI and that has become one of the key symbols of Slovenian-Russian friendship.

The QR codes-based app will familiarise visitors with the stories related to the chapel, built below the Vršič mountain pass in north-western Slovenia in memory of Russian WWI POWs who were killed by an avalanche while building the pass.

The app was developed by Turizem Kranjska Gora in cooperation with IT company Escapebox and includes augmented reality presentations of six stories behind the tragic event at Slovenia’s highest mountain pass, built for supply purposes related to the Isonzo Front, one of the bloodiest theatres of war.

“We wish that the stories, presented in an innovative way, familiarise visitors again with remote and half forgotten history and remind them of how lucky we are to be living in peace. The young men resting at Vršič did not die in vain. Their message is: Never again,” Turizmu Kranjska Gora wrote.

Several thousand of about 12,000 Russian POWs who built the road in 1915 and 1916 perished, including over 300 who were killed when a snow avalanche swept through the construction site on 8 March 1916.

Their surviving colleagues built a wooden chapel in the autumn of 1916 in Russian Orthodox style, as a place of memory for the fallen colleagues as well as a place of prayer for the survivors.

Since 1992 the Russian Embassy in Ljubljana, the Slovenia-Russia Association and the Kranjska Gora municipality have been organising an annual memorial there on the last Sunday of July.

In recent years the event has drawn thousands, among them members of the clergy, senior officials, the diplomatic corps, artists and businessmen from Russia and Slovenia.