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The Soča (in Slovene) or Isonzo (in Italian) (other names Friulian: Lusinç, archaic German: Sontig, Latin: Aesontius or Sontius) is a 140 km long river that flows through western Slovenia and northeast Italy. An Alpine river in character, its source lies in the Trenta Valley in the Julian Alps in Slovenia, at an elevation of around 1,100 metres. The river runs past Slovenia's highest peak, Triglav (2,864 m) before heading south past the towns of Bovec, Kobarid, Tolmin, Kanal ob Soči, Nova Gorica (where it is crossed by the Solkan Bridge) and Gorizia, entering the Adriatic Sea close to the Italian town of Monfalcone.


Major changes in the watershed

The present course of the river is the result of several dramatic changes that occurred during the past 2,000 years. According to the Roman historian Strabo, the river named Aesontius which in Roman times flowed past Aquileia to the Adriatic Sea was essentially the Natisone and Torre river system[1]. In 585 a landslide cut off the upper part of the Natisone riverbed, causing its avulsion and subsequent stream capture by the Bontius river. The original subterrenean discharge of the Bontius into the Timavo became obstructed, and another avulsion returned the new watercourse into the bed of the lower Natisone. During the next centuries the estuary of this new river - the Soča - moved eastward until it captured the short costal river Sdobba, through which the Soča now discharges into the Adriatic Sea. The former estuary (of the Aesontius, and the early Soča/Isonzo) in the newly formed lagoon of Grado became an independent coastal rivulet[2].


Due to its emerald green water, the river is marketed as "The Emerald Beauty". It is said to be one of the rare rivers in the world that retain such a colour throughout their length.[3] Giuseppe Ungaretti one of the greatest Italian poets describes the Isonzo in the poem "The Rivers". The Soča inspired the poet Simon Gregorčič to write his best-known poem Soči (To the Soča), one of the masterpieces of Slovene poetry. This region served as a location for the 2008 Disney film Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.[4]

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