Hallstatt-Dachstein Salzkammergut Cultural Landscape
Commercial and mining town.
Location and siteSituated in the Salzkammergut region in the Eastern Alps, Hallstatt Dachstein is enclosed by the Upper Austrian provinces of Styria and Salzburg. The town of Hallstatt is the cultural centre of this landscape, spread out along the foothills of the Dachstein Mountains and the shores of Lake Hallstatt (“the Hallstattsee” ).
The town of Hallstatt stretches along a narrow strip of land between the foot of the Salzburg mountain and the shores of Lake Hallstatt. From the Muhlbach side the slag heaps that have accumulated over the centuries have been transformed into artificial headlands extending into the lake. The triangular shaped market place, which is surrounded by late Gothic style houses, marks the centre of old Hallstatt, along with the Catholic parish church of Saint Mary which was relatively unscathed by the fire of 1750.
In contrast, the southern part of the town - “in der Lahn” - dates mainly from the eighteenth century, most of it having been built after 1750 in the late Baroque style. Typical Hallstatt houses, which are tall and narrow, are adapted to the limited space available and the layout of the town. Some exceptional buildings from the end of the medieval era can still be seen such as the “Rudolfsturm” which was built at the end of the thirteenth century to protect the subterranean salt mine installations.
The Alpine region of Hallstatt-Dachstein/Salzkammergut is an exceptional example of a cultural landscape of tremendous beauty and great scientific interest ( criterion iv ); it exemplifies a fundamental economic activity (criterion iii ); and the various aspects of its history manage to blend into a harmonious whole.
- An abundance of archeological discoveries in the Salzburg Valley, which is situated above the current town of Hallstatt, has revealed signs of human habitation as far back as 2000 BC. As a result of the salt mining industry the region enjoyed economic prosperity from very early in its history, as can be seen from the exceptional quality of numerous architectural and artistic remains.
- The richness of this archeological site has resulted in “Hallstatt Culture” being designated as the initial phase of the European Iron Age.
- With authorisation from the Crown of Austria to establish markets in the fourteenth century, the town of Hallstatt experienced a period of economic renewal. Special status was accorded to those citizens known as the “ Salzfertiger,” or salt producers. Their houses, the “ Salzfertigerhhauser “ are an excellent example of early medieval traditional architecture.
- In 1750 a disastrous fire destroyed most of Hallstatt’s medieval town centre. The reconstruction was strongly influenced by the late Baroque period, which still characterises the town today.
- At the beginning of the nineteenth century the salt industry rallied for a final period of prosperity associated with the war against Napoleonic France. Once peace was re-established, however, there was a rapid and final decline.
- In spite of technological innovations following the industrial revolution the salt mine was permanently abandoned in 1965.
- The region’s aesthetic, cultural and natural qualities began to be recognised just as the industrial site began falling into decline. From the middle of the nineteenth century Hallstatt began to attract writers, artists, and painters, as well as tourists who enjoy the public salt water baths.
|Mr. Peter Scheutz|
Mayor of Hallstatt
A-4830 Hallstatt, Austria