Thursday, February 9, 2012

A charming and magical lakefront, mountainside village in Austria

The village of Hallstatt, in the Salzkammergut region of Austria, was an amazing day trip Chris and I took while we were in Austria. The village is built almost vertically onto the mountain, and seems as though it might almost slide into the lake.

Hallstatt has some amazing history, which explains the village's precarious perch: "...this secluded and inhospitable landscape nevertheless counts as one of the first places of human settlement because of the rich sources of natural salt, which have been mined for thousands of years, originally in the shape of hearts owing to the use of an antler pick.[3] Some of Hallstatt's oldest archaeological finds, such as a shoe-last celt, date back to around 5500 BC. In 1846 Johann Georg Ramsauer discovered a large prehistoric cemetery close by the current location of Hallstatt. Ramsauer's work at the Hallstatt cemeteries continued until 1863, unearthing more than 1000 burials.... In addition, one of the first blacksmith sites was excavated there. Active trade and thus wealth allowed for the development of a highly developed culture, which, after findings in the Salzberghochtal, was named the Hallstatt culture. This lasted from approximately 800 to 400 BC." via Wikipedia


We arrived at the town via ferry

from the ferry

Town square





A view from the cemetery

Tiny cobbled paths lead you up the mountain

Like most good views, it'll cost you a bit of a hike...but it's worth it!


The cemetery

The Beinhaus (“Bone house”), Hallstatt, Austria – Because there is limited space in the town cemetery, people are only buried for 10-15 years. After that, they are removed from the grave, the skulls left out in the sun to bleach, were painted by the family and stacked in the bone house, therefore opening up space in the cemetery.  Now that cremation is an accepted practice, the Beinhaus serves mainly as a tourist attraction and important piece of history.

It dates back to the twelfth century AC. There are over 1200 skulls in the chapel, of them 610 have been painted in flowery designs, they are neatly stacked in rows along with next of kin and have the date of death written on them.  This tradition began in 1720 AD. The last skull to go into the Beinhaus was in 1995. It is directly beside the cross. The woman died 1983; it was her last request to be stored in the Beinhaus (Bone house).




Not a bad view, right?

As we leave the town via Ferry As always - thanks to my boyfriend Chris for these gorgeous photos.

Here's that list again of all my posts from our travels that I've posted -

Spain

•Introduction to my European backpacking trip and a list of places we visited
Galicia - Baiona and Isle de Cies
Galicia - the coast, some charming vineyards, and Pontevedra
Santiago de Compostela and gorgeous hidden beaches
Gorgeous mountain lakes of Picos de Europa
Stunning mountains - Picos de Europa
Bilbao and San Sebastian
Beautiful Barcelona
The amazing Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona
Art Nouveau dream house by Gaudi in Barcelona

Italy

Not to miss - the gorgeous rocky coast of Italy's Cinque Terre
More from my summer traveling Europe - amazing Rome
From my summer in Europe - amazing Pompeii
Turquoise ocean and vineyards on cliffs - the amazingly stunning Amalfi coast
My Summer in Europe: Pictures from lovely Florence, Italy
Enchanting Siena
Venice
Lake Como, Italy

Switzerland
Jungfrau region, Switzerland, Part 1
Jungfrau region, Switzerland, Part 2

Germany
One of my favorite cities from my European backpacking trips - Ulm, Germany
Lake Constance
Cute HOUSE Overload - the charming medieval homes of Germany's Romantic Road
Regensburg, Germany, and Salzburg, Austria

5 comments:

My Notting Hill said...

We went to Halstatt a few years ago and absolutely loved it too! Your pics are great. I remember those skulls too...

Chelsea said...

WOW!! What a charming little village.. like a fairytale! Great pictures - thanks for sharing. Now I have to convince my boyfriend to take me to Europe! :)

Talma said...

Lindo passeio, cheio de coisas lindas. Adorei!
Kisses from Brasil!!

Melissah from Scrapbook said...

What a pretty place ... such stunning architecture1 I just stumbled across your lovely blog! I look forward to popping back for some more gorgeous inspiration.
x
Melissah

Melissah from Scrapbook said...

What a pretty place ... such stunning architecture1 I just stumbled across your lovely blog! I look forward to popping back for some more gorgeous inspiration.
x
Melissah

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