UNESCO World Heritage Site
Hallstatt-Dachstein / Salzkammergut Cultural Landscape
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
Type Cultural
Criteria iii, iv
Reference 806
UNESCO region Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 1997 (21st Session)

The Salzkammergut (Central Bavarian: Soizkaumaguad) is a resort area located in Austria. It stretches from the City of Salzburg eastwards along the Austrian Alpine Foreland and the Northern Limestone Alps to the peaks of the Dachstein Mountains, spanning the federal states of Upper Austria, Salzburg, and Styria. The main river of the region is the Traun, a right tributary of the Danube. The name Salzkammergut literally means "Estate of the Salt Chamber" and derives from the Imperial Salt Chamber, the authority charged with running the precious salt mines of the Habsburg Monarchy.[1] It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. [2]


The lands on the shore of the Traun River comprise numerous glacial lakes and raised bogs, and the Salzkammergut Mountains and the adjacent Dachstein Mountains, the Totes Gebirge and the Upper Austrian Prealps with prominent Mt. Traunstein in the east. The towering mountain slopes are characterized by bright limestone (karst) and flysch rocks.

With its numerous lakes and mountains, the Salzkammergut offers many opportunities to take part in water sports, bathing, hiking, cycling, caving, golf and relaxing around lakes such as the Grundlsee or Toplitzsee. The Katrinalm, an alpine pasture, is found near Bad Ischl. Typical Salzkammergut culinary specialities include dishes such as Kaiserschmarrn (cut-up and sugared pancake with raisins), Krapfen (similar to doughnuts) or Lebkuchen (gingerbread).

Parts of the region around Hallstatt were listed as a World Heritage Site in 1997, with the description: "Human activity in the magnificent natural landscape of the Salzkammergut began in prehistoric times, with the salt deposits being exploited as early as the 2nd millennium B.C. This resource formed the basis of the area's prosperity up to the middle of the 20th century, a prosperity that is reflected in the fine architecture of the town of Hallstatt." The World Heritage Site includes the towns Hallstatt, Obertraun, Gosau and Bad Goisern[3]


Wolfgangsee with St. Gilgen in the foreground
View of the Lake Altaussee and Altaussee, in the background the Hoher Dachstein

Today the Salzkammergut tourism region comprises 52 municipalities which are part of three Austrian federal states. The biggest part (72%) is in the state of Upper Austria (Oberösterreich), located in the southern Gmunden and Vöcklabruck districts. About 16%, mainly the area around Lake Altaussee (Ausseerland-Region), are part of the province of Styria (district of Liezen – political branch district of Bad Aussee). The smallest part (12%) is in the state of Salzburg, within the Salzburg-Umgebung District (Flachgau).

The Salzkammergut consists of ten regions around several lakes:


Archaeological findings in the area date back to the Neolithic era, especially the stilt houses of the Mondsee group culture, who settled the region from about 3800 BC onwards. The Germanic name hall of several settlements refers to the region's numerous salt mine, which had been in use at least since the days of the Celtic Hallstatt culture, centered at the mining town of Hallstatt. These operation were continued by the Romans, after the area had been incorporated into the Noricum province in 15 BC. A Roman settlement and salt evaporation pond at Hallstatt is documented about 100, affected by several Germanic invasions after the Marcomannic Wars, until the province was finally evacuated at the behest of the Italian king Odoacer in 488.

From about 530, Bavarii tribes settled the region from the west, they met with Alpine Slavs who had moved northwards through the Enns Valley and across the Dachstein Mountains. From 900 salt trade is again documented along the Traun River, when the area was part of the Traungau region of the German stem duchy of Bavaria, held by the comital dynasty of the Otakars, who from 1056 also ruled over the neighbouring March of Styria. While most of the Traungau fell to the Babenberg duchy of Austria upon the deposition of the Bavarian duke Henry the Lion in 1180, the southeastern Ausseerland remained with the newly established Duchy of Styria, which nevertheless from 1192 was held in personal union by the Austrian Babenbergs.

In 1278 King Rudolph I of Germany, a scion of the Sawabian House of Habsburg, finally seized both duchies from King Ottokar II of Bohemia, whom he defeated in the Battle on the Marchfeld. Rudolph's son King Albert I of Germany defended his hegemony against the rivaling Prince-Archbishops of Salzburg in the west and in 1298 made the lands of Ischl a present to his wife Countess Elisabeth of Gorizia-Tyrol. The Habsburg officials resided at Wildenstein Castle near Ischl and the surrounding estates were called Kammergut, as first documented in a 1656 deed. The salt mines were immediate domains of the Habsburg King of the Romans and mining part of his princely regalia. They were administrated by the financial aulic chamber at Vienna, represented by the salt chamber (Salzamt) in Gmunden. Emperor Maximilian I added to the territory the estates of Mondsee Abbey in 1506.


Salzkammergut Tourismus-Marketing GmbH
Limited liability company
(Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung)
Industry Marketing of tourism for the Salzkammergut region
Founded 2002 (2002)
Headquarters Bad Ischl
Key people
Ronald Felder

Since 2002 this tourism region has marketed itself with the Salzkammergut Tourismus-Marketing GmbH,[4] a holding company of the 54 municipalities of the Salzkammergut that are entitled to use the name “Salzkammergut” as a brand according to the tourism regulations of the three provinces.

The Salzkammergut area is predominantly a tourist area and has been so for over a century. Emperor Franz Joseph I spent his summer holidays in Bad Ischl in the Kaiservilla, from which he governed his empire in the warmer months. This was also where he signed the declaration of war with Serbia that started World War I.

Recreational facilities include swimming and water sports at the many lakes, mountaineering, cycling and horse riding holidays, winter sports and cultural events. The region owes its reputation as a recreational area not only to its landscape and climate but also to its many spas.

There used to be a salt mining industry but it is today relatively minor contributor to the local economy. More important is the forest industry. Industrial sites include Ebensee, Gmunden, Laakirchen and Steyrermühl. The Salzkammergut also profits from its tradition of small businesses and trade companies, many of which originated due to the salt mining.

The unemployment rate was approximately 4.8% in 2005, compared to an overall figure of 7.3% for Austria.[5]

A well-known narrow-gauge railway [6] formerly ran from Salzburg to Bad Ischl, but it closed in 1957.

Towns and municipalities

Town Elevation (m) Population Additional information
Altaussee 712 - 2093 1897 Designated climatic spa
Altmünster 433 9485
Attersee 469 1500
Aurach am Hongar 498 1585
Bad Aussee 650 - 1500 5037
Bad Goisern 504 8462
Bad Ischl 468 16680 Summer residence of Emperor Franz Joseph
Bad Mitterndorf 812 3035 Location of the largest natural ski-jump, Kulm
Bad Wimsbach-Neydharting 385 2300
Ebenau 607 1352
Ebensee 425 8734
Faistenau 786 2900
Frankenmarkt 536 3500
Fuschl am See 670 1323
Gmunden 425 15075
Gosau 767 2000
Grünau 528 2100
Grundlsee 712 1218
Gschwandt 523 2500
Hallstatt 508 950 World Heritage Site
Hintersee 746 460
Hof bei Salzburg 730 3600
Innerschwand 520 1046
Koppl 750 3044
Laakirchen 441 9133 A natural preserve and mud spa is here, the Moorbad Gmös
Mondsee 481 3100 Hosts a museum dedicated to the Salzkammergut Lokalbahn narrow gauge railway.[7]
Nussdorf am Attersee 500 1120
Oberhofen am Irrsee 573 1335
Obertraun 514 764
Oberwang 572 1572
Pichl-Kainisch 803 782
Pinsdorf 493 3585
Scharnstein 501 4876
Schörfling am Attersee 510 3163
Schwanenstadt 389 4330
Seewalchen am Attersee 495 4977
Steinbach am Attersee 509 1003
Sankt Georgen im Attergau 540 6546
Sankt Lorenz 486 2008
St. Gilgen 542 3706 Mozart's mother was born here (and the birth house has been preserved), and his sister also lived here.
Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl used to spend his summer holidays here.
There is now an international boarding school in the village center called St. Gilgen International School, which attracts students from around the world.
Sankt Konrad 585 1033
Straß im Attergau 579 1498
Strobl 542 3466
St. Wolfgang 540 2797 The real "Im Weißen Rössl", (the "White Horse Inn"), that inspired the famous "operetta" of Ralph Benatzky, is here.
Tauplitz 900 - 2000 1005
Thalgau 545 5200
Tiefgraben 550 2950
Traunkirchen 422 1775
Unterach am Attersee 468 1500
Vöcklabruck 433 12000 The Gateway to the Salzkammergut
Vöcklamarkt 488 5000
Weyregg am Attersee 482 1503
Zell am Moos 573 1400

See also


  1. Speakman, Fleur; Colin Speakman (1989). Walking in the Salzkammergut: Holiday Rambles in Austria's Lake District. Cicerone Press Limited. p. 11.
  2. "21 World Heritage Sites you have probably never heard of". Daily Telegraph.
  3. Homepage of the Permanent Delegation to UNESCO in Austria - Description Hallstatt-Dachstein / Salzkammergut Cultural Landscape
  4. Salzkammergut Tourismus-Marketing GmbH.
  5. Beschäftigung und Arbeitslosigkeit "Arbeitsmarktservice Oberösterreich. Nach" Check |url= value (help). OÖ. Technologie- und Marketinggesellschaft m.b.H. Standort-und Innovationsagentur des Landes Oberösterreich. 2006-11-26.
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Coordinates: 47°33′34″N 13°38′47″E / 47.5594444544°N 13.6463888989°E / 47.5594444544; 13.6463888989

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