I read a well-written book detective series by French writer Bernard Minier. In the fourth volume called Night, the town of Hallstatt appears several times. It serves as a hiding place for one of the main characters of the novel – to teach and the multiple murderer of Julian Hirtman.
As the author described the city, she was interested in me and went to find out – I admit to the shame that I did not know – whether the city was real. And there really is, and Mr. Minier described it perfectly!
The town of Hallstatt is in Austria and is located in the bosom of the rocky mountains at the foot of Dachstein. Hallttersee Lake is a natural beauty, reflecting mountain peaks, the highest of which extends up to 2995 meters above sea level.
Salt was originally harvested in Hallstatt. Above the town are the oldest salt mines in Europe.
These are now renovated and are one of the major tourist attractions. Tourists can climb the Salzberg hill where the mines are located, or they will get more comfortable by the ropeway. They wear work clothes, can slip on a slide, listen to a professional account of salt mining, and eventually they can ride through a mining train. Just do not have to work or carry a huge piece of salt on the mining route, as the miners did before.
Another preferred tourist destination is the ossuary. It is located in a small cemetery. The charming cemetery is part of the Catholic Church (in the center of the city it is still evangelical) and there are beautiful crucifixes. The ossuary originated because of the lack of space for the deceased. It is also a sacred place. There are the skulls of deceased people who were picked up from the original graves, cleaned and bleached in the sun. This tradition began in 1720. Even today, it is possible to place the skull on the skull.
The town itself is picturesque, lined with ancient houses, whose charms underline the flowers in richly distributed boxes, which we are also known from other Austrian cities. In the summer, you can go for various difficult tours around, such as the Mammoth and the Giant Ice Cave, or the nearby waterfalls or the burial ground with plenty of excavations.
In winter, you can enjoy great classical downhill skiing, but freeride enthusiasts can also enjoy the fun. You can also watch the best freerides on a huge screen in the middle of the ski slopes. And that you can listen to a concert of classical music masters such as Mozart or Wagner, and right in the bowels of the giant cave is probably a icing on the Hallstatt cake.
As you can see, Hallstatt and its surroundings are rightly assigned to UNESCO sites and are worth seeing. I will definitely go there.
I just hope that Julian Hirtman really is the creature of Minier’s fantasy