Trieste National Hall
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Trieste National Hall

The Trieste National Hall or Slovene Cultural Centre[1][2][3] (Slovene: Narodni dom), also known as the Hotel Balkan, in Trieste was a multimodal building that served as a centre for the Slovene minority in the city. It included the Slovene theatre in Trieste, a hotel and numerous cultural associations. It is notable for having been burned in 1920 by Italian Fascists, which made it a symbol of the Italian repression of the Slovene minority in Italy.[4] The building was restored from 1988 to 1990.[5]


Such institutions were typical in Slovenian ethnic territory in the decades around 1900. It was designed by the Trieste architect Max Fabiani in 1902 as a solid brick Mediterranean building, and it was completed in 1904.[6][7] It had an ornate facade and state-of-the-art equipment, including an electric generator and central heating.[5]

Fascist attack

On 13 July 1920, as a reaction to the July 11 Split incident, the building was burned by the Fascist Blackshirts, led by Francesco Giunta.[8] The act was praised by Benito Mussolini, who had not yet assumed power, as a "masterpiece of the Triestine Fascism" (Italian: capolavoro del fascismo triestino).[4] It was part of a wider pogrom against the Slovenes and other Slavs in the very centre of Trieste and the harbinger of the ensuing violence against the Slovenes and Croats in the Julian March.[8]

On 15 May 1921, less than a year after the arson attack, the architect Fabiani became a member of the Italian Fascist movement. The reason for his joining the party and his political activity in the following years remains unclear.[9][10]


Boris Pahor's autobiographical novel Trg Oberdan[Note 1] describes how he witnessed the Fascists burning the building.

Further reading

  • Kacin Wohinz, Milica (2010): Alle origini del fascismo di confine - Gli sloveni della Venezia Giulia sotto l'occupazione italiana 1918-1921, ISBN 8890342285, Gorica, p. 307


  1. ^ Boris Pahor's novel has been translated into German under the title Piazza Oberdan.


  1. ^ Sluga, Glenda (2001). The Problem of Trieste and the Italo-Yugoslav Border: Difference, Identity, and Sovereignty in Twentieth-Century Europe. New York: State University of New York Press. p. 208.
  2. ^ Hametz, Maura Elise (2005). Making Trieste Italian, 1918-1954. Rochester, NY: Woodbridge. p. 21.
  3. ^ Kmecl, Matja?; ?nidar?i?, Joco (1987). Treasure Chest of Slovenia. Ljubljana: Cankarjeva zalo?ba. p. 316.
  4. ^ a b Sestani, Armando, ed. (10 February 2012). "Il confine orientale: una terra, molti esodi" [The Eastern Border: One Land, Multiple Exoduses]. I profugi istriani, dalmati e fiumani a Lucca [The Istrian, Dalmatian and Rijeka Refugees in Lucca] (PDF) (in Italian). Instituto storico della Resistenca e dell'Età Contemporanea in Provincia di Lucca. pp. 12-13.
  5. ^ a b "Maks Fabiani: arhitekt Anaksimandrove zakonitosti ve?nega porajanja in uni?evanja" [Max Fabiani: The Architect of the Anaximander's Law of Eternal Rising and Destruction]. MMC RTV Slovenia (in Slovenian).
  6. ^ Ro?i?, Janko (2010). "Nacionalni slog v arhitekturi" [National Style in Architecture]. 46. seminar slovenskega jezika, literature in kulture: Slovanstvo v slovenskem jeziku, literaturi in kulturi [The 46th Seminar of the Slovene Language, Literature, and Culture: Slavism in the Slovene Language, Literature, and Culture] (PDF) (in Slovenian). p. 135. ISBN 978-961-237-363-4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-06-04.
  7. ^ Pahor, Milan (2010). "90 let od po?iga Narodnega doma v Trstu" [90 Years From the Arson of National Hall in Trieste]. Primorski dnevnik [The Littoral Daily] (in Slovenian). pp. 14-15. COBISS 11683661. Retrieved 2012.
  8. ^ a b "90 let od po?iga Narodnega doma v Trstu" [90 Years From the Arson of National Hall in Trieste]. Primorski dnevnik [The Littoral Daily] (in Slovenian). 2010. pp. 14-15. COBISS 11683661. Retrieved 2012. |chapter= ignored (help)
  9. ^ "Kdo je bil Maks Fabiani" [Who Was Max Fabiani] (in Slovenian). Radio Koper. 27 February 2015.
  10. ^ Mezinec, Petra (20 February 2015). "Je bil zagrizen fa?ist ali pa so ga v to vlogo potisnili?" [Was He a Fierce Fascist or Was He Forced into This Role?]. Primorske novice (in Slovenian).

Coordinates: 45°39?17?N 13°46?29?E / 45.65472°N 13.77472°E / 45.65472; 13.77472

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