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History of the Großarltal

Around the first turn of the millennium, a hardy farming community first settled in the Grossarl Valley, coming to terms with the harsh landscape here. Through copper mining, which was practiced in Hüttschlag from the 14th and 15th centuries, the Grossarl Valley experienced an economic heyday. It was the largest copper mine in the archdiocese of Salzburg. The large copper smelting works with furnaces and the entire processing facilities were built around 1520. Even today you can find buildings in the center of the village, which were built around the copper smelting. Partly they are still preserved in their original state (community hall and inn Hüttenwirt).

Sölen (small houses) were founded for down-to-earth miners and smelter workers. They included dwelling houses, small stables, gardens and pastures on the ‘hochfürstliche Frei’ mountains. A typical structure is the ‘Kößlerhäusl’, which today serves as a museum. With the decline of mining in the sixties of the 19th century, the economy of the entire valley also sank back into its rural originality. The earning opportunities in the valley were very low. Livestock and timber farming provided meager sustenance for the majority of families. With the development of traffic and motorization, tourism began in the valley in the 1960s, which is still developing by leaps and bounds today.

The Grossarl Valley is part of the Hohe Tauern National Park, and Hüttschlag is one of the mountaineering villages (a cross-border and cross-cultural initiative of the neighboring countries of Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Switzerland and Austria). The localities united here are alpinism pioneers in their regions. Therefore, the mountains and mountaineering have a high value in the cultural self-image of the locals and guests. People and nature live in harmony, and natural boundaries are respected.

(C) A. Viehhauser
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