The historic Rudolfsturm Tower once was a fortification to defend the mining area against invaders and served as the home of the director of the mines. The tower still offers a gorgeous view over the village of Hallstatt and its lake, while the restaurant provides a variety of delicious local dishes as well as a cup of good coffee and a piece of home-made cake.
Those looking for a bit of excitement and want to enjoy the breath-taking Alpine panorama of the UNESCO World Heritage region of Hallstatt Dachstein Salzkammergut, then the impressive viewing platform on the Salzberg is just right. The so called ‘World Heritage View’ hovers 350 meters above the roofs of Hallstatt and offers a unique panoramic view over Lake Hallstatt and the impressive mountain scenery. The new visitor attraction is located directly below the former defence tower on the Hallstatt Salzberg (salt mountain).
Standing at the entrance to the Salzberg high valley above Hallstatt, Austria, the original structure of the Rudolfsturm (Rudolf’s Tower) was a medieval defence tower dating back to the late 13th century. From that time until 1954, the tower served as a residence for the respective mining operations manager. The architectural history of the Rudolfsturm – which was known as the "Ruedolfstain" in the 16th century – has been thoroughly examined in the literature; an article written by Georg Heilingsetzer is particularly noteworthy in this regard. 1284 is the year most often specified as its construction date, and when this is cited, Dicklberger (1817) is the source named. But there are also sources giving the construction date as 1294.
An arbour was added in the southwest corner of the annex in 1903, but it was not preserved. Its design reflected the rustic style of the bourgeois pastime of taking summer holidays, which was popular in that period, featuring cut planks near the parapet and large areas of glass installed in its mullioned structure. The structural interventions on the Rudolfsturm that were carried out between 1910-1955 are illustrated in the description of the building complex written by the Hallstatt salt mine administration in 1908.
The subsequent conversion of the Rudolfsturm into a restaurant preserved the utility value of the property and guarantees its continued existence. The tourism boom in the 1960s necessitated an expansion of the available space, which was accomplished through the additional construction of a "hall" directly adjacent to the northeast side of the tower. Typical of this period, this annex was equipped with large windows on three sides, and the two doors aligned with the structure’s axis unpretentiously integrate a passing-through motif – the link between the salt mines and the market. Snow pressure caused this addition to collapse in 2006 and its remnants were razed. The Rudolfsturm was renovated for the 2008 Upper Austrian Regional Exhibition and supplemented with an extra annex on the side facing the mountain.
Ride up on the Salt mine funicular, calm and safe taking only 3 minutes to reach the Hallstatt upper valley (838m) high. Where the famous prehistoric burial ground can be found. . The panoramic view of the UNESCO region of Dachstein over the Hallstatt Lake is spectacular in good weather and (taking the Hallstatt Salt mine funicular?) makes a wonderful (memorable) outing, whether you want to hike, or walk in the Hallstatt upper valley or just to have and extensive view of the region. The Salt mine funicular will take you to the start of the Brine Pipeline trail which is the oldest pipeline in the world. The upper valley is a good the starting point for a hike along the world heritage pipeline trail. down memory lane along the salt route, beware of puddles and ditches.
7,000 years of salt mining in Hallstatt. The "Man in Salt" accompanies the visitors on their journey through time at the Salzwelten Hallstatt.Since 2002, the "Man in Salt" is the central theme of the re-designed Salzwelten mines. In 1734, a corpse preserved in salt was discovered right in a salt deposit, a contemporary chronicle describing it as "pressed flat and tightly grown into the rock. Clothing and tools were quite strange but well preserved."
The Dachstein-Hallstättersee region has been appointed UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage. This honour is certainly closely connected to the salt mining history of Hallstatt that goes back 7,000 years. In the olden days, the miners lived on the elevated plain that you will reach comfortably with the cable-car in a few minutes. The story of the "Man in Salt" is true and we are certain that there still is the chance to find another "Man in Salt" any day. A two-way ride on the funicular is available from EUR 8.50 per adult! Children under 4 years of age accompanied by a parent are free on the funicular.
Some 64 metres of sliding fun on Europe's longest wooden slide are a major attraction at the Salzwelten Hallstatt. We do not only take a photograph of our visitors during the ride, we also measure their speed by Radar. At the end of the guided tour, you may acquire your personal souvenir photo. And for those who don't want to ride down the shoot there's a comfortable staircase nearby. There are two slides at the Salzwelten Hallstatt just like the ones the miners used for moving from one level of galleries to the one beneath.
We are right within the salt deposit in a disused leaching chamber called "Edlersberg". In the background you hear the rustle of the sea to remind you that all the salt in the world comes from the sea. Some 50 millions of millions of tons of salt are dissolved in the seas. Salt has many uses, and the world population consumes about 150 million tons per year.
Until the early Middle Ages, salt was mined exclusively as rock salt. Then, solution mining took over. Its principle is simple: fresh water is introduced into the saliferous mountain, the water will dissolve the salt while the non-soluble parts will sink to the ground of the leaching chamber. The saturated brine, i.e., the water containing about 26% of salt, is then conveyed out of the mountain.
Originally, the brine was scooped from the leaching chamber with buckets by the aid of a winch. Later, an outlet box was used to control the flow of the brine to the gallery level underneath. Nowadays, the brine is pumped upwards. Until 1964, further processing took place in Hallstatt's own brine coppers, since then the brine has been worked in the modern salt plant at Ebensee.
Sepp, the miner: We do some eavesdropping on Sepp the miner, who tells us the story of how the "Man preserved in the salt" was found in 1734. In the archaeological part of our tour, a walk of a mere 100 metres takes you back thousands of years into the Bronze and Iron Age and shows you traces of the past, such as the so-called "Heathens' Rock" and an original find from the 80th century B.C.