1906: The Opening of the Karawanks Tunnel

October 1, 1906

A major railway tunnel in the Duchy of Carinthia, a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was officially opened. The area where this tunnel was built now traverses both the southern region of the Republic of Austria and the northern section of the Republic of Slovenia. The Karawanks Tunnel owes its name to the mountain range where it is located. This tunnel specifically courses through the Rožca Saddle, a high elevation mountain pass of the Karawanks that is situated between the Austrian town of Sankt Jakob im Rosetal and the Slovenian town of Jesenice.

Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir presumptive to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, presided at the dedication ceremony for the Karawanks Tunnel. (Franz Ferdinand’s assassination in Sarajevo eight years later is widely considered to be the leading immediate cause of World War I.) The tunnel was built as a key component of the Karawanken Railway. This railway, in turn, was seen as a pivotal part of the transportation network linking Klagenfurt, the capital of the Duchy of Carinthia, with the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s strategically vital seaport of Trieste.

Long after that empire was dissolved following its defeat in World War I, the five-mile (8.1-kilometer)-long Karawanks Tunnel has continued to play an important role for freight traffic in Central Europe. This structure is the longest railway tunnel serving Slovenia and the fourth longest in Austria.

Photo Credit: Public Domain

For more information on the Karawanks Tunnel, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karawanks_Tunnel_(railway)

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