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07 The Empress Elisabeth – Stollen


Stud Name:             "Empress Elisabeth - Stollen"

                                    Wife of Emperor Charles VI, married on August 1st, 1708 in Barcelona

Struck:           1712                           

Length:                         750 m

Altitude:                     812 m


The Empress Elisabeth tunnel was opened in 1712 in order to drive under the next higher Empress Amalia tunnel in order to be able to use the salt mountains below.                                                                                                                                                     

After this stollen was first referred to as "New impact", it was given the name "Empress Elisabeth - Stollen" from 1730.

In 1737, after 25 years of tunnelling, the salt limit was reached in the main shaft of the Empress Elisabeth tunnel.

Next to the mouth of the tunnel there was a brick smithy and a dwelling for the hewers. But when the middle mountain house and the smithy were built next to the Empress Maria Theresia tunnel in 1783, the two now useless buildings at the Empress Elisabeth tunnel were demolished in the same year.

Situation of the weirs in Elisabeth – tunnels around 1800:

Length from the mouth hole to the salt boundary 620 mabel (739.0m), from there to the field location 440 mabel 4 hairpin bends and 6 usable weirs.

A mountain thickness of 48m was chosen for the Elisabeth tunnel instead of the usual 30-35m. This made it possible to leach a more powerful salt mountain medium between the Ludovika and Elisabeth tunnels with less excavation effort. Because the mountains were too thick, the weirs arranged side by side spread so much during leaching that they threatened to intersect. The resulting, very large fortifications would have weakened the necessary hill forts so much that there would have been collapses. Great caution was therefore required during the leaching operation. In order to be able to avoid an unwanted intersection of the leach chambers, extensive intersection dams were built. The advantage of lower exploration costs for larger rock thicknesses was more than wasted.

The water tunnel at the Elisabeth tunnel

Due to the small thickness of the Haselgebirge massif in the upper horizons, the workers often reached out to the salt mountain limit, the exposed barren surrounding rock then led to fractures, which again triggered declines in the neighboring works.

In 1839 the Nefzer plant in the Ludovika tunnel was lost as a result. Cracks in the sinkage of the Nefzer weir pointed to the imminent collapse of the mountain range above between the Freund works, which had already fallen on the Elisabeth horizon, and the combined weirs of Mohr and Schmied. The neighboring Wolfen weir in the Amalia horizon above had also fallen, so that the breach had already spread over three floors. So all measures to keep the united Mohr - and Schmied - work in the Elisabeth - horizon were still in vain.


The destruction of such a large mining area put the Ischler Salzberg in a difficult position. Many workers had to be declared dead or celebrated in order to avoid the deeper decline and the Chotek - Kehr in the Ludovika tunnel, the Stüger - Schurf from Amalia - on Elisabeth - Horizon and Poniatovsky - Schurf from Elisabeth - on Ludovika - Horizon for derivation to be able to secure the looted waters.


In 1849, 10 years after the collapse of the Nefzer weir in the Ludovika horizon, the sky of the combined Monsberg and Gerstorf works in the Elisabeth horizon also fell. The danger of new polluted water penetrating the Hasel Mountains and the collapse of the entire camp top threatened the existence of the entire Ischl salt mountain.

All renovation work is described in the factory cleaning chapter.


Situation of defenses in the Elisabeth tunnel around 1850: 

A total of 8 weirs, 1 pronounced dead and 1 usable. Freund - weir, Mohr - and Schmidt - weir (cut), Monsperg - and Gerstorf - weir (cut), Schlögel - and Wolfen - weir (cut);  Quix - weir in operation around 1850.


Sources used:

Carl Schraml "The Upper Austrian Salt Works from 1750 to the time after the French Wars", Vienna 1934

Carl Schraml "The Upper Austrian Salt Works from 1818 to the end of the Salt Office in 1850", Vienna 1936

August Aigner "Salt mining in the Austrian Alps", Berg- und Hüttenmännisches yearbook, Vienna 1892

Leopold Schiendorfer "Perneck - A Village Through the Ages", Linz 2006

Johann Steiner "The traveling companion through Upper Austrian Switzerland", Linz 1820, reprint Gmunden 1981

Georg Chancellor "Ischl's chronicle", Ischl 1881, reprint Bad Ischl 1983

Michael Kefer "Description of the main maps of the kk Salzberg zu Ischl", 1820, transcription by Thomas Nussbaumer, as of September 13, 2016

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