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All set for popular memorial walk in Ljubljana

Ljubljana, 8 May - Commemorating the liberation of Ljubljana at the end of the Second World War, tens of thousands will take a walk along a marked gravel path surrounding the city on Saturday. A barbed wire used to trace the path during WWII, when Ljubljana was occupied first by Italian and then German forces.

Ljubljana
Children kick off the Walk along the Wire event.
Photo: Xinhua/STA

The 63rd Walk along the Wire event will kick off already on Thursday, when kindergarten children will set out to conquer a part of the hike, followed by primary and secondary school children on Friday.

The commemoration's highlight will be Saturday's hike as well as the run of three-member teams, which is not about winning, promoting solidarity and participation. The time of a third member or the weakest link is thus recorded as the team's finishing time.

The running event is also an opportunity for a few laughs, with last year's teams running under witty slogans, such as Turbo Snails, Rolling Stones and (Un)Tamed Shrews.

Instead of stamps the event's organisers would like to gradually introduce a mobile application tracking the teams' progress.

The three-day event is expected to attract more than 30,000 participants, even more than last year, when almost 25,000 hikers and some 5,000 runners participated in the memorial walk.

The accompanying cultural programme will kick off on Saturday morning with a performance of the Partisan choir, honouring the WWII resistance movement. Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković will then address visitors, marking Ljubljana Municipality Day, followed by a concert of the Slovenian pop singer Lea Sirk.

Unlike at the Ljubljana marathon, there will not be many roadblocks, particularly not on Thursday and Friday, with some minor ones and city traffic detours in Ljubljana's centre on Saturday.

A barbed wire was put around Ljubljana in February 1942 by the Italian occupying forces to stop supplies to the Partisan resistance movement.

Ljubljana was the only European capital at the time to be locked out in such a way, with the regime lasting 1,170 days until the end of WWII in 1945 - Ljubljana was liberated on 9 May.

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© STA, 2019