Trieste National Hall

"Narodni dom" redirects here. For the hall with this name in Celje, see National Hall, Celje.

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


Such national halls were typical of the Slovene Lands at the turn of the 19th and the 20th centuries. It was built by the plans of the Triestine architect Max Fabiani from 1902 as a Mediterranean palace from massive brick and completed in 1904.[3][4] It had a monumental façade and was very modernly equipped with an electric generator and central heating.[2]

Fascist attack

On 13 July 1920, as reaction to the July 11 Split incident the building was burnt by the Fascist Blackshirts, led by Francesco Giunta.[5] The act was praised by Benito Mussolini, who was at the time yet to become a duce, as a "masterpiece of the Triestine fascism" (Italian: capolavoro del fascismo triestino...).[1] 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.[5]

On 15 May 1921, less than a year after the burn of the arson, the architect Fabiani became member of the Italian fascist movement. The reason for him joining the party and his political activity in the following years remain unclear.[6][7]


In one of his acclaimed autobiographical novels, Trg Oberdan,[Note 1] written by Boris Pahor, his witnessing of the Fascists burning down the building is described.

Further reading


  1. Boris Pahor's novel is translated in German under the title Piazza Oberdan.


  1. 1 2 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.
  2. 1 2 "Maks Fabiani: arhitekt Anaksimandrove zakonitosti večnega porajanja in uničevanja" [Max Fabiani: The Architect of the Anaximander's Law of Eternal Rising and Destruction]. MMC RTV Slovenia (in Slovenian).
  3. Rožič, 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.
  4. Pahor, Milan (2010). "90 let od požiga 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 28 February 2012.
  5. 1 2 "90 let od požiga 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 28 February 2012. |chapter= ignored (help)
  6. "Kdo je bil Maks Fabiani" [Who Was Max Fabiani] (in Slovenian). Radio Koper. 27 February 2015.
  7. Mezinec, Petra (20 February 2015). "Je bil zagrizen fašist 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′14″N 13°46′34″E / 45.65389°N 13.77611°E / 45.65389; 13.77611

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