UNESCO World Heritage Hallstatt-Dachstein/Salzkammergut
World Heritage and its many aspects
World heritage in the Inner Salzkammergut is no museum piece. It is a living space which arose geologically from the primeval seas and is culturally significant due to more than 7000 years in the history of salt. As nature has evolved, salt, ammonites and gigantic caves in the mountains have been left behind. The cultural history of the region is reflected in the numerous historical sites of interest and archaeological finds. The local people are the preservers of their World Heritage. They have carried it with them into modern times and preserved it.
Historical Ground in the Dachstein Salzkammergut
As early as prehistoric times, the people of Hallstatt used simple “hatchets” made from deer antlers to extract salt which, far away from the sea, was extremely valuable and considered to be “white gold”. During the Bronze Age, tools from the “Hallstatt Age” were used to construct an impressive network of mining galleries in the mountainside. After the Celts came the Romans who were followed by the”Salzfürsten” or “Salt Princes”. The thousands of years in the history of salt and the people who worked hard to develop the salt mining industry and were responsible for shaping the region, establishing its customs and traditions and developing its architecture and ways of life.
Getting up close with the World Heritage
For those who wish to explore the numerous sites of historical interest and local finds, we recommend tours of the oldest salt mine in the world, a stroll along the salt pipeline and visits to excavations, museums and many other sites of interest which are scattered across the region. Other aspects of local World Heritage can be discovered by visiting our many “magical places” such as the Dachstein Krippenstein, the Gosaukamm, the area around Lake Hallstatt and theLakes in Gosau. The World Heritage communities Bad Goisern at Lake Hallstatt, Hallstatt, Obertraun and Gosau at Dachstein each have their own special charms as well as time-honoured traditions and customs.
Customs and traditions
How have customs and traditions retained their authenticity? Warum das Brauchtum so unverfälscht ist? The somewhat isolated valley developed throughout the centuries relatively independently and consequently, unique customs and traditions were developed. Local people are devoted to these practices which have been handed down from generation to generation, and traditional handicrafts are still being carried out today. Traditional folk events have a fixed place on the social calendar each year. The world Heritage Region is also home to authentic, Austrian folk music. For local people, there is nothing more natural in the world than coming together to sing, to make music and to dance.
The Fuhr at Lake Hallstatt - intangible cultural heritage
The traditional wooden ferries, called "Fuhr", "Zille" or "Plaette", have a history that dates back to the 13th century. Because in this time it was necessary to transport goods and also people over the waters of the Inner Salzkammergut, the Lake Hallstatt and the Traun. During this time the salt mine in Hallstatt was put back into operation.
The "Fuhr" is made only by hand and mainly from the wood of spruce, fir and also larch. It is an elongated boat with little draught, so that the goods could be transported both downstream and upstream.
Traditional dress: Dirndl & Leather Trousers
The typical national costume - Dirndl for women and leather trousers for men is, of course, still worn nowadays in our World Heritage Region, especially on feast days. The communities of the Dachstein Salzkammergut Holiday Region are proud of their “costume” which has not been influenced by tourism. This has also become a major part of the region over the last 100 years
Post Script: Show your appreciation
Local people are eager to share the beauty of their World Heritage region, and are renowned for their outstanding hospitality. The preservation of nature and the local environment have, of course, always been of upmost importance. * Enjoy the surrounding World Heritage and get close to nature, cultural treasures and the living space of the local people. Show your appreciation. You will be thanked for it.
The Alpine Region Hallstatt/Dachstein Salzkammergut is an extraordinary example of a natural landscape of outstanding beauty and special scientific significance, which also bears witness to early and continuous human, economic and cultural activity.
– UNESCO COMMITTEE: December 1997