Welcome to the Hallstatt History Page.
History, for the purposes of this blog, begins with written records, i.e the kind I have been able to find.
For Hallstatt and the Salzkammergut history begins at 777 CE, certainly an auspicious number. Duke Tassilo III of Bavaria, in a document from that time, mentions salt production at the headwaters of the Traun River, which feeds Lake Hallstatt. Quite likely the Duke refers to salt mines in the Aussee Land – in the mountains just east of Lake Hallstatt.
We also find references to Lauffen, a small town on the River Traun just downriver from Hallstatt. The name Lauffen refers to rapids, and the town owes its existence to ferry men who guided salt shipments through the rapids. Lauffen is mentioned in the annals of salt trade as early as 807, and most likely, it wasn’t salt from Hallstatt which the townsmen ferried through the rapids.
Anything before that comes under the heading pre-history, which you’ll find on a separate page.
Technically speaking, history should also include Romans, and we do know that Romans lived in Hallstatt. There was a Roman settlement at the mouth of the Echerntal, just south of present day Hallstatt, but we can only assume they were there for the salt. The only written records from that time are names inscribed on Villas, and we can infer that there was a Celtic-Roman population who lived in Hallstatt. Beyond that, we know very little about their activities. But we do know their Villas were heated with sophisticated systems, even by today’s standards.
There isn’t much information available about Hallstatt between the document of Tassilo III and the emergence of the Habsburg Dynasty of Austria. The history of Hallstatt and the Salzkammergut is inextricably linked with the Habsburg Empire. The Habsburgs created Hallstatt, for all intents and purposes they created the Salzkammergut, and they profited from both right through the end of WWI when their reign came to an end.
Even so, this page is about Hallstatt and the Salzkammergut landscapes and not about the Habsburg Dynasty, as influential as they were. Compared to Hallstatt, the Habsburgs were only a blip in time.
If you’d like to know a little more about the history of Hallstatt and the Salzkammergut, read on.