The city of salt.

Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau (1559-1617) promoted wet mining, in which salt is dissolved from the rock through water, to win massive volumes of the “White Gold” and thus undertook successful trading.

In this way he transformed the treasure of the mountain into hard cash and had Salzburg developed into a magnificent Baroque city (today a UNESCO World Heritage site). Let Wolf Dietrich and his clumsy companion Jakobus tell you about the exciting life of the Archbishop!

You find further historical information at the CELTIC MUSEUM in Hallein, The entry is free with the Salt Mine ticket.

History of mining in Hallein


4000 BC:

Settlers use natural salt-water springs for winning salt.

Circa 600 BC.:

The Celts mine salt for the first time. The prehistoric tunnel system is 4.5 km long and up to 280 m deep.

AD 200:

Salt mining on the Dürrnberg get lesser and lesser.


St. Rupert founds St. Peter’s Abbey. The Bavarian Duke Theodor makes a gift of 20 brine draw wells to Reichenhall.


Battle for the White Gold: Archbishop Adalbert von Salzburg burns down the town of Reichenhall with its saltworks.


One of the first salt pans is operated in Mühlpach (Hallein).


The first agreement of the Berchtesgaden Provostry with the Salzburg cathedral chapter for cross-border salt mining.


The Archbishop of Salzburg’s soldiers destroy the Gosau pan and set fire to the Aussee saltworks.

1315 - 1450:

Opening of several tunnels and expansion of salt mining.


Archbishop Mathias Lang purchases the last boiling shares at the Hallein saltworks and completes the centuries-long monopolisation process.


Annual production achieves a volume of 22,000 tons.


The first visitors enter the mine. There have since been nearly five million visitors.


Annexation of Salzburg by Austria.


The newly constructed cast iron salt pipeline is put into operation as well as the large Augustine salt store and the large saltworks on Perner Island.


Extension of the railway line from Salzburg to Hallein: this brings shipping on the Salzach to an end and makes hundreds of boatmen, stave makers and coopers redundant.


The Ebensee Solvay Works becomes established in the unused saltworks premises.

1928 to 1943:

Deposit probes with five drillings undertaken on the initiative of the senior mine surveyor Romed Plank.


The absolute top figure of 72,230 tons of salt is achieved annually. But the table salt production must be relinquished to Ebensee, which makes cost-covering production in Hallein impossible.


Great crises in salt mining and the Hallein saltworks.


Opening of the large saltworks in Ebensee. This means a gloomy outlook for the Hallein salt mine.


Brine and salt production is stopped in Hallein mine.


Opening of the visitors’ route and the touristic facilities above ground.

In the 800-year history of salt mining on the Dürrnberg, about 45 million cubic metres of brine, corresponding to 12 million tons of salt, have been produced!

Geschichte vom Salz Salzwelten Hallein Salzburg
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