Hallein Salt Mine

The Hallein Salt Mine, also known as Salzbergwerk Dürrnberg, is an underground salt mine located in the Dürrnberg plateau above Hallein, Austria. The mine has been worked for over 7,000 years since the time of the Celtic tribes and earlier. It helped ensure nearby Salzburg would become a powerful trading community. Since World War I, it has served as a mining museum, known for its long wooden slides between levels.[1]

Entrance to Salt Mine


There are several named tunnels in the mine, including the Obersteinberg opened in 1450, the Untersteinberg, the Jackobberg, the Rupertsberg, the Wolf Deitrich tunnel and the Dr. Nusko tunnels. They descend all of the way to Hallein.[1]

Early mining was done by hand and extracted salt rock crystals as a solid. To improve efficiency, fresh water would be pumped into a cavern. After several weeks of absorbing salt from the walls, the water was pumped out to a processing plant in Hallein.[1][2]

In 1829, the Bavarian–Austrian Salt Treaty was created, as the mine actually crosses under the border into Bavaria. The treaty stipulates that up to ninety Bavarian farmers are allowed to work in the mine.[1]

Scientific researchEdit

There has been scientific research which used ancient human feces found in the older tunnels to determine how resources were shared between cultures.[3]


There is a 90-minute guided Salzwelten-tour which covers 1 kilometer.[4] Visitors put on white coveralls to protect their clothes inside the mine. There is a 400 metres (1,300 ft) electric train ride into the mine which leads to two sets of 42 metres (138 ft) wooden slides.[5] Visitors straddle two wooden rails and slide quickly down to the lower level of the mine. There is a boat trip across an underground lake before exiting the mine.

In 1969, there were 150,000 visitors to the mine. At that time, the tour covered 2.5 miles (4.0 km) and went down seven wooden slides.[1]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e Sarian, Robert (March 29, 1970). "It's Back to the Salt Mines, But Not for Work". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-05-01.
  2. ^ "Side Trips: Salzburg". New York Times. 2006-11-20. Retrieved 2009-05-01.
  3. ^ Boenke, N. (22 Jun 2005). "ORGANIC RESOURCES AT THE IRON AGE DÜRRNBERG SALT-MINE (HALLEIN, AUSTRIA)—LONG-DISTANCE TRADE OR LOCAL SOURCES?". Archaeometry. University of Oxford. 47 (2): 471–483. doi:10.1111/j.1475-4754.2005.00214.x. Retrieved 2009-04-25.[dead link]
  4. ^ "Salzwelten Salzburg". showcaves.com. October 9, 2008. Retrieved 2009-05-01.
  5. ^ "Schaubergwerk Dürrnberg - Hallein Salt Mines". Visit Salzburg.net. Retrieved 2009-05-01.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 47°40′01″N 13°05′25″E / 47.667049°N 13.090339°E / 47.667049; 13.090339 (Hallein Salt Mine)