The history of the Dachstein:

The history of a natural wonder.

From Alpine economy to World Heritage region 
The World Heritage region in Dachstein with its clear lake, fertile meadows and locations tucked into the cliff sides offers the perfect conditions for settlement. Humans settled here during the Ice Age, as proven by the discovery of a cave bear bone in the ice cave which has been artistically bored through.

There are also finds dating from the Neolithic era which suggest that people were already aware of the hidden ‘white gold’ treasure concealed here – salt.

Pre-historic Alpine life on the Dachstein 
The first settlers discovered the salt deposits here in around 2,500 BC and began the industrial extraction of this salt for their own use shortly after. The first proof of the Alpine economy on the Dachstein dates back to this era. Pollen from meadow plants, discoveries of everyday objects and pre-historic relics indicate that the artificially deforested meadows were a key economic basis for farmers in Salzkammergut.

During the earlier Ice Age, now known as the Hallstatt era thanks to excavations in the cemetery area, this small resort on the Hallstättersee lake had its heyday. The key raw material, salt, and good transport options over the river Traun brought the people of Hallstatt into contact with cultures across the world as it was known at that time and back then, the settlement was even wealthier than Rome. 

The salt metropolis as the ‘state within a state’ 
During the years that followed, Hallstatt retained its position as the salt metropolis and is now one of the few landscapes of Austria to have been populated consistently from the early Stone Age to Roman tomes.

Later, during the reign of the Habsburgs, Salzkammergut achieved special status. Managed by the chamber of the imperial court, it formed a small state within a state and was frequently visited by the rulers.

Inspiration for artists and researchers
But it’s not just salt which has made the Inner Salzkammergut region so famous. The varied magnificent landscape has caused many painters, authors and art creators to recognise the uniqueness of the region. The Hallstättersee lake is credited with being the birthplace of the Vienna Biedermeier painting movement and transformed Adalbert Stifter from a landscape painter to a landscape author of international renown. Researchers such as Alexander von Humbolt and Friedrich Simony found the ideal conditions for their nature studies here. And the transportation of salt became a ‘technical pacesetter’ for the continental railway network. The first overland rail network on the continent connected Gmunden with Budweis and was used to transport salt.

The discovery of the Dachstein Ice cave
In 1910, the first ice sections of the Dachstein giant Ice cave were discovered. Tourist access began 2 years later. At the same time, endless cave researchers from the Austrian Hungarian monarchy arrived to explore this natural wonder further. The biggest tourism change took place in 1951 with the construction and opening of the Dachstein cable car to the Schönbergalm. Since then, visitor numbers have totalled 80,000 to 180,000 per year.

During the Summer season of 2007, the Dachstein world of caves and hiking entered a new era with a comprehensive range of projects and installations. The University of Art in Linz, the Institute for Space and Design Strategy, completely re-staged the 3 show caves. The large-scale renovation of the first two sections of the Dachstein World Heritage cable cars and improvement in the look of the valley station – intermediate station area was completed in May 2008.

NEW: Weather information Dachstein Krippenstein

Krippenstein weather information

Get the latest weather data (wind, snow, temperature, web cam etc.) from Dachstein Krippenstein on our new weather information page!  

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