The exhibition "The Great War in the Adriatic", usually located at the Gallerion Museum in Cittanova, now also present in the halls of the Brtonigla Museum.
At the official headquarters of the Gallerion Museum, he exhibited the exhibition about the birth and development of the Austro-Hungarian Navy until the beginning of the First World War, while in the Brtonigla Town Museum with 180 photographic panels and numerous original finds, for the first time in history will be presented in chronological order the naval war in the Adriatic Sea.
It could have all ended up diff erently. The tourist season of 1914 had been the best until then. Economy was bursting.
Everyone expected an improvement in the living standards of the lowest social classes in the Monarchy. Instead, the worst possible option, the war, was chosen. The character of the confl ict is well described by its name – the Great War. It lasted four years and left behind 17 million dead and more than 20 million injured without reaching any of the goals set. It happened what nobody among those who had begun it expected. Four big empires have collapsed; the German, the Astro-Hungarian, the Russian and the Turkish. They dissolved into a number of new national states. Some of them were unsustainable geopolitical entities such as newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, predecessor of recently dissolved Yugoslavia that also ended its existence with a war.
This exhibition aims to present, for the fi rst time in Europe, the Great War at sea in all its aspects. Through this exhibition we are trying to faithfully convey to the public this immanent tragedy through 300 panels and 300 naval models as well as with numerous original objects and documents. The exhibition will be set up at three locations in Cittanova and Brtonigla.
Naval operations in the Mediterranean and in the Adriatic, despite the preponderance of the Triple Entente fl eet, have been conducted almost until the end of the confl ict. The Adriatic coast remained free of confl ict and has been spared from military invasion until the entry of the Italian troops after the armistice. Through the whole war, the Imperial and Royal Navy provided, in spite of all the diff iculties, including the disobedience and rebellion of sailors due to the poor living conditions, social abandonment and national disengagement, a reliable defence of the coast and off ered support to own forces at the South Eastern and on South Western theatre of war. After the dissolution of the Empire, its Navy virtually disappeared, while its fellow citizens become citizens of new state entities.
Eventually, these geopolitical, unhappy and unjust divisions of nations, new frontiers and new spheres of interest, led to a new, even greater tragedy: the Second World War.
The tradition of the Austro-Hungarian navy has been in some forms preserved in a newly formed Navy of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats then passed on through successor Yugoslavia and then eventually to its successor states. While the golden years of the Austrian presence at the sea ended in 1918, its exceptionally rich heritage has survived to this day and can be observed in various ports and port buildings, in high quality shipbuilding, maritime training, nomenclature (especially in the navy), tourism and cultural heritage (e.g. the fortification system in Pula). Ports such as Trieste, Pula and Rijeka have developed during the Austria-Hungarian period, and much of modern coastal infrastructure was built during that time. Numerous Adriatic lighthouses, these guardians and caretakers of the seaside, sailors’ friends along our coasts and islands, are particularly solemn and mystical witnesses of that era of great captains, sailors and ships, as well as of the glorious navy.
Taking into account all these circumstances, our desire and our main aim is to set up an International Naval Museum to present and preserve this rich heritage. We believe that only multinational and multi-ethnic representation and interpretation of the past events can provide solid foundation on which we can build our future.