Gorz And Gradisca - Encyclopedia

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GORZ AND GRADISCA, a county and crownland of Austria, bounded E. by Carniola, S. by Istria, the Triestine territory and the Adriatic, W. by Italy and N. by Carinthia. It has an area of 1140 sq. m. The coast line, though extending for 25 m., does not present any harbour of importance. It is fringed by alluvial deposits and lagoons, which are for the most part of very modern formation, for as late as the 4th or 5th centuries Aquileia was a great seaport. The harbour of Grado is the only one accessible to the larger kind of coasting craft. On all sides, except towards the south-west where it unites with the Friulian lowland, it is surrounded by mountains, and about four-sixths of its area is occupied by mountains and hills. From the Julian Alps, which traverse the province in the north, the country descends in successive terraces towards the sea, and may roughly be divided into the upper highlands, the lower highlands, the hilly district and the lowlands. The principal peaks in the Julian Alps are the Monte Canin (8469 ft.), the Manhart (8784 ft.), the Jalouc (8708 ft.), the Krn (7367 ft.), the Matajur (5386 ft.), and the highest peak in the whole range, the Triglav or Terglou (9394 ft.). The Julian Alps are crossed by the Predil Pass (3811 ft.), through which passes the principal road from Carinthia to the Coastland. The southern part of the province belongs to the Karst region, and here are situated the famous cascades and grottoes of Sankt Kanzian, where the river Reka begins its subterranean course. The principal river of the province is the Isonzo, which rises in the Triglav, and pursues a strange zigzag course for a distance of 78 m. before it reaches the Adriatic. At Gorz the Isonzo is still 138 ft. above the sea, and it is navigable only in its lowest section, where it takes the name of the Sdobba. Its principal affluents are the Idria, the Wippach and the Torre with its tributary the Judrio, which forms for a short distance the boundary between Austria and Italy. Of special interest not only in itself but for the frequent allusions to it in classical literature is the Timavus or Timavo, which appears near Duino, and after a very short course flows into the Gulf of Trieste. In ancient times it appears, according to the well-known description of Virgil (Aen. i. 244) to have rushed from the mountain by nine separate mouths and with much noise and commotion, but at present it usually issues from only three mouths and flows quiet and still. It is strange enough, however, to see the river coming out full formed from the rock, and capable at its very source of bearing vessels on its bosom. According to a probable hypothesis it is a continuation of the above-mentioned river Reka, which is lost near Sankt Kanzian.

Agriculture, and specially viticulture, is the principal occupation of the population, and the vine is here planted not only in regular vineyards, but is introduced in long lines through the ordinary fields and carried up the hills in terraces locally called ronchi. The rearing of the silk-worm, especially in the lowlands, constitutes another great source of revenue, and furnishes the material for the only extensive industry of the country. The manufacture of silk is carried on at Gorz, and in and around the village of Haidenschaft. Gorz and Gradisca had in 1900 a population of 232,338, which is equivalent to 203 inhabitants per square mile. According to nationality about two-thirds were Slovenes, and the remainder Italians, with only about 2200 Germans. Almost the whole of the population (99.6%) belongs to the Roman Catholic Church. The local diet, of which the archbishop of Gorz is a member ex-officio, is composed of 22 members, and the crownland sends 5 deputies to the Reichsrat at Vienna. For administrative purposes the province is divided into 4 districts and an autonomous municipality, Gorz (pop. 25,432), the capital. Other principal places are Cormons (5824), Monfalcone (5536), Kirchheim (5699), Gradisca (3843) and Aquileia (2319).

Gorz first appears distinctly in history about the close of the 10th century, as part of a district bestowed by the emperor Otto III. on John, patriarch of Aquileia. In the nth century it became the seat of the Eppenstein family, who frequently bore the title of counts of Gorizia; and in the beginning of the 12th century the countship passed from them to the Lurngau family which continued to exist till the year 1500, and acquired possessions in Tirol, Carinthia, Friuli and Styria. On the death of Count Leonhard (12th April 1500) the fief reverted to the house of Habsburg. The countship of Gradisca was united with it in 1754. The province was occupied by the French in 1809, but reverted again to Austria in 1815. It formed a district of the administrative province of Trieste until 1861, when it became a separate crownland under its actual name.

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