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Trgovski Dom

A few important buildings of the city overlook the Public Gardens, which were built in 1860: the old Town Hall, the public baths, and the Trgovski Dom (House of Trade), which was commissioned by the Commercial and Industrial Consortium of the Slovenian community to be designed by the architect Max Fabiani (1865-1962), between 1903 and 1905. Fabiani, who trained at the Realschule (Royal School) in Ljubljana and at the Technische Hochschule (Polytechnic institute) in Vienna, and who subsequently became a collaborator to Otto Wagner, was working on the development of a similar building in Trieste at the time, the Narodni Dom.

The Gorizian building, which featured an innovative style and internal organisation of spaces, remained property of the Commercial and Industrial Consortium until the 1920's. In the intentions of the commissioners, the Trgovski Dom, situated in the centre of the city, was to develop into a place that would be representative of the Slovenian community of Gorizia, becoming the driving force of political, commercial, cultural and recreational activities. The building housed a few important economic and cultural institutions, professional practices, shops, but also a small theatre, a library and conference rooms.

In 1927 the Trgovski Dom was set on fire by the fascists who, by doing so, intended to hit the Slovenians symbolically and physically, in an attempt to 'italianise' the area. The building was then expropriated and turned into a Casa del Fascio (House of the Fascist Party), which housed office and administrative centres of the regime, thus retaining the polyfunctional vocation of the building.

In 1945 the sign 'Ljudski Dom' (House of the People) appeared on the ledge: from the liberation of the city and the following period of Yugoslav administration, the building once again housed the political and cultural Slovenian organisations. During the period of allied administration, the House was often the stage for the struggles for the national affiliation of the city. In 1947, it was expropriated again by the Italian government and chosen as the location of public government offices. From the 1950s to the 1980s, the theatre was rented at the symbolic amount of 10 liras to the National League, who organised meetings, dancing evenings, and sporting events.

During the last years, in compliance with the tutelary laws concerning the Slovenian language and culture, processes have begun in order to 'return' the building to the city: especially to the Slovenian Associations and the Isontine Public Library.