The history of Zakriž

It is very likely that the origins of the village date back to the pre-antic and the antic ages. There is an entry by the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage reading an old hamlet ’’Križ’’. The legend of an ’’old Cerkno’’ in Križ is firmly grounded in the oral tradition. The ’’old Cerkno’’ was near the Roman cargo road heading from Friuli, passing Baška Grapa, Bukovo to Orehek and Zakriž and on to Cerkno.

The first written record of Zakriž dates back in 1320, when the noblemen Speronza from Tolmin got the village as a patriarchal feudal estate. But it was the villagers who were the tenants of the land from 1336 on. The rent added up to 7 marks and 7 wethers and it was to be paid at the end of September around Saint Michael’s. This kind of ordinance was very unusual at that time because there were only a few of such cases in Slovenia.
According to Tolmin’s land register there were 10 farms in this area in 1377.
Apart from many natural disasters (earthquakes, floods, fires, wars, long and cold winters, locusts) a severe and dangerous illness struck the area in April and May of 1348 – the plague.
The mentioning of preceding church, that is today’s Saint Andrew’s church, can be found in a written source from 1515. According to oral tradition the church stood in ’’Cerkovnica’’ (a fallowing name).
The data of land register from 1591 and 1633 tell us that the lords of Tolmin still had their estate in Zakriž. The church of St. Andrew’s was mentioned in a piece of information that dates back in 1595. The records from 1767 mention and command that a cross of hard wood should be put on the very spot where churches used to stand and that the cross should be at least 6 feet tall.
This information tells us that the church of Zakriž actually stood somewhere else than it does today.
There is little known about Zarkiž during 1377 and 1912, the main reason for this is the fact that the rectory of Cerkno burnt down.

The forests of Zakriž were overgrown with exclusively deciduous trees. It wasn’t until 150years ago that coniferous trees were planted.
The first aqueduct of the Cerkljansko area was lain on in 1903. It had four troughs connected to it. The locals had difficulties paying off the aqueduct so the lords and the community had to help. Following the example of other inhabitants of the Cerkljansko area a United Creamery was founded in 1917, in which, among other things, butter and cheese were produced.

After WWI Zakriž belonged to Italy (due to the Treaty of Rapallo) and therefore the Alpine wall (Vallo Alpino) became a part of this land. In 1922 the Educational Society Zarja Zakriž was formed, only to be abolished by the Italian authority four years later. Up to 1937 people used wood chips, acetylene lamps and oil lamps for light. Afterwards they brought electricity to the village at their own expenses.

Sources state that the Italians started building two underground barracks and military bunkers in 1938. The village suffered many casualties during both wars, but also material damage during WWII. It was at this point that the national liberation movement was formed. The IX. corpus also had its headquarters here.
In years following the two wars the houses were still covered with straw, which constantly signified a possibility of fire. That is why the people established a voluntary fire brigade Zakriž in 1958.