Cover photo © Credits to krimml-wasserfalldorf.at
Cover photo © Credits to krimml-wasserfalldorf.at

Six centuries old mountain inn - The Krimmler Tauernhaus

3 minutes to read

The Krimmler Tauernhaus, six centuries old mountain inn, is one of the Tauern houses in Austria located at 1622 m above the sea level, in the Achental Valley and on the alpine pass between Austria and Italian South Tyrol. For centuries, it served as a rest station for travellers and traders on the route from Southern to Central Europe.

Tauern Houses

Tauern Houses were several hospices and rest stations, which were maintained by the Archdiocese of Salzburg, along the mule tracks for travellers and samers, people who transported loads on the back of pack animals, over the mountains. They were created in several Tauern valleys and served as stations for the changing the pack animals, and in bad weather as hospices. For the Salzburg archbishops, the revenues from the trade were an important source of income, in particular through the tolls. Therefore, they were interested in increasing the trade over the Salzburg Alpine passes. By establishing so-called Tauern Houses along the main trade routes, already in the Middle Ages, they wanted to promote the trade and make the high alpine passes more attractive.

Photo © Credits to Marek Soltysiak

The most important duty of a Tauern house owner was the maintenance of the roads and keeping them open all year round. They also needed to erect the signposts, stone pyramids and snow poles in winter. The landlords were obliged to provide an accommodation for the travellers, where poor travellers had to be accommodated and fed free of charge. In a case that a traveller got lost or died in an accident on his way, it was a duty of the owner to search and rescue them. And if they die, the owners had to transport them to the next cemetery. For their services, they would receive an annual grain allocation from the Salzburg archbishops.

Over hedges and ditches - Heroine Liesl Geisler-Scharfetter

A landlady of Krimmler Tauernhaus - Liesl Geisler-Scharfetter, helped the Jewish aid organization to smuggle 8000 Eastern European Holocaust survivors to Italy in order to reach Palestine via the port of Genoa. This route was chosen because it was the only border of the American occupation zone with Italy. The Americans occupation forces were the only that tolerated the passage. The refugees were taken in groups of 200 to 300 people, from a Displaced Person Camp in Saalfelden through the town of Krimml, past the Krimml waterfalls, through the Achental Valley to the Krimml Tauernhaus, where they were fed and rested before continuing to the border crossing to Italy.

Photo © Credits to bundesheer.at

Experiencing alpine pastures

The Krimmler Tauernhaus served its purpose more than half of millennia. However, in the 19th century, the transport on the pack animals had lost its importance. So, it became a bit quieter around the Tauernhaus. This changed when the time of alpine tourism began, and mountain hikers led the visitors to the Krimmler Tauernhaus to admire the beauty of the Krimml Waterfalls and Krimml Achental. Since the beginning of the 20th century, when the waterfall path along the Krimml Waterfalls was expanded to reach Tauernhaus, the number of tourists increased exponentially.

Photo © Credits to krimmler-tauernhaus.at

To reach the Krimmler Tauernhaus is not an easy task. It is located in the heart of the Hohe Tauern National Park, as the only farm in the national park area, and there is no public access road. Therefore, the only way to reach it is on foot after three hours of hiking, by mountain bike or with a National Park taxi, that is provided by the owners. Today, over six centuries old mountain inn - the Krimmler Tauernhaus offers all the conveniences of a modern hotel.


The author

Ogi Savic

Ogi Savic

I am Ogi. A journalist and economist, I live in Vienna and I am passionate about skiing, traveling, good food and drinks. I write about all these aspects (and more) of beautiful Austria.

Stories you might also like