Hallstatt, Austria - EUROPE - Marvelous City

Hallstatt is a charming, small alpine village located between step cliffs and Salzburg shore of lake in Austria (Europe).  Main attraction of Hallstatt is it's unique combination of nature, archaeology, folk traditions and the special architecture of the houses where you can find all the possible styles of romance, Gothic and Baroque until  modern styles.
150 years ago Hallstatt had no roads that would lead to this small town. It could be approached only from the lake or by challenging mountain roads. On this way the Habsburgs were protecting their greatest source of wealth from curious people - their salt mines. Despite it's remoteness and absence of the road, Hallstatt is one of the oldest human settlements in Europe; because of salt deposits. Salt was extracted about 5500 B.C., which has been proven by stone ax that was used for digging.
The former hunters have noticed that the wild animals are coming much more frequently withe individual streams. They were attracted by salted water. Following the stream to it's source, the hunters found salt shoots above the present Hallstatt.

Salt has always been a valuable supplies and valuable item in the trade, and this region with its salt mine was always plentiful.

The best evidence is an iron sword which was found in a grave that had a handle carved from African ivory decorated with amber from the Baltic.Salt was the only preservative in that time. Salt has so successfully kept the organic substances that in the 1734th, body was found fully preserved in salt.
The salt in the form of brine (water saturated with salt), from 1595 year, was transported by the pipeline  to 40 km away Ebensee where salt was allocated for the trade. This is oldest Modern Age pipeline in the world, built of 13,000 carved logs.

In 1864., Johann Georg Ramsauer discovered a large prehistoric cemetery near the ancient mines. Until 1863. he has excavated more than 1,000 graves, where he held scientific cautious approach. Considering that this was the time before the widespread use of photography, he measured and drew each finding, and even painted watercolor paintings and colored to make them as faithfully presented. His work has greatly improved the way of archaeological excavations and archeology in general. As the  oldest blacksmithit was found in this location, and rich jewels can only tell us about trade and economic power of the population, the entire period of the Iron Age (from about 800th to 400th B.C.) In this part of Europe it's called the Hallstatt culture.

As the Hallstatt was formed in inaccessible places and population grew, the capacities of the small cemetery near the Catholic church were quickly filled. As at that time cremation was not allowed, people did not have any other solution than to open old graves (10-15 years old) and remove them from the skull, sometimes together with other bones. Skulls are cleaned and painted with floral motifs and information about the deceased, and on that way they were laid to permanent rest in the mausoleum. By the 70-ies, when the church banned that practice, it was gathered in the ossuary 1600 skulls.

Since it is all in the sign of Hallstatt salt, understand the desire of visitors to see mine. Part of the mining shafts from the time of Maria Theresa was reconstructed into a museum. The entrance to the mine can be reached by foot trough trail that were used  thousands of years by the old miners. But the real adventure begins at the entrance to the mine. You will meet interesting world of salts lowering 100 meter long toboggan, after which you will see the picture of each and measure his speed. Some can reach speeds of 50 km/h.

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