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13 The Emperor Matthias – tunnels + iron ore


Stud Name:             "Archduke Matthias - Stollen", from 1612 "Kaiser Matthias - Stollen"

                                    Emperor Matthias, reign 1612 – 1619, son of Emperor Maximilian II.

Struck:           1577            

Length:                         420 m

Altitude:                    959 m

In 1577, after looking around for 14 years and still not finding anything special, the mining experts of the Salzamt decided to convert a trial dig from the Neuhauser - Kehr im Obernberg - tunnel into a weir and to dig a new mountain below to drain the brine . It was the Archduke Matthias tunnel that, after nine years of driving through limestone, finally came across salted Haselgebirge.

As expected, the Matthias tunnel - main shaft soon reached the rear, eastern salt boundary again. However, a trial transverse building opened up good Haselgebirge over a longer distance.

Two mountain inspections were carried out in 1584 for a more expedient opening up of the Ischler Salzberg. In the Archduke Mathias tunnel, because the salt mountains had improved, a new building was to be built behind the so-called water building. In the meantime, in the Matthias tunnel, the main shaft and two test digs had been driven out of the salt into the water-bearing limestone.

In 1586 a mountain inspection was carried out again at the Ischler Salzberg. It turned out that the test pit sunk by the Archduke Mathias tunnel had encountered good salt rock over a whole mountain thickness. For this reason, the uncertain investigation work in the mining tunnels at Obereck ("Moosegg") and Roßmoos should be stopped quickly and the Archduke Matthias tunnel should be driven under with a new hill climb, the Neuberg tunnel.

Situation of the water dams and weirs in the Kaiser Matthias tunnel around 1654:

A total of 9 waterworks;                                                                                                              

Water, Archduke Matthias, Seeauer, Rettenbacher, Hippelsroider, Cain, Our Lady, Haimb and Klein Trattel – building.                    

The 9 Schöpfbaue were already cut before 1648 and were used as princes - as well as Kain and Trattel - weir with indulgences in the Frauenholz - tunnels.

The Matthias tunnel – main shaft was 387 stalks (461.3 m) long until it reached the salt boundary. 6 Stabel (7.2m) after the salt line there was a test dig down into the Neuberg tunnel. On the continuation of the Matthias tunnel - main shaft 9 constructions were created. Namely the water - and Archduke Matthias - building, which lay under a sky and contained 42 rooms (4,754m³) brine. The two constructions were undercut from the Neuberg tunnel with a weir furnace and referred to as the prince's weir.  In 1725 the base of the Fürsten weir in the Matthias tunnel broke through into the Rassfellner weir in the Neuberg tunnel below. The princes' weir was later extended up to the St. John's tunnel and only abandoned around 1744.

The following buildings, namely the Seeauer, Rettenbacher, Hippelsroider, Kain, Fraun, Haimb and Klein Trattel buildings contained 60 rooms (6,792m³) of brine and were also under a sky. They were also run under from the Neuberg tunnel with a weir furnace and prepared for an outlet weir.  This weir was called the Cain and Trattel weir during the leaching in the Matthias tunnel. When it was further watered down into the St. Johannes tunnel, it was renamed the Zierler weir. The Zierler weir was in operation until 1807.

Behind these buildings, the Matthias tunnel - main shaft was still 16 Stabel (19.1m) long. Their field place was already in the deaf mountains.


In 1654 the thickness of the mountain from the Matthias tunnel to the Obernberg tunnel was still around 10 bar (11.9m). The St. Johannes tunnel was opened in 1725 to gain this mountain thickness and for higher drainage of the weirs created in the Archduke Matthias tunnel.

In 1656 there was a partly brick and partly wooden mountain house near the Matthias tunnel. When this was later removed, the still usable woodwork was used to build a, not far from the Neuberg -  tunnel built under the name Taxhaus, wooden room. Miners were housed in this wooden room.                                                                                                                                                                              

The Starhembergsche inspection commission of 1707 already found the Matthias tunnel devious, behind the dam outlet there were collapsed weirs, which were exploited by robbery watering, whereby the generated brine flowed through the main shaft.

The introduction of the fresh water required for the leaching in the deeper tunnels came from the stream and the springs in the area of the Matthias tunnel mouth hole. The water collected in wooden tubes was fed into the mountain via the Matthias tunnel – main shaft.

From 1769, the water needed to dilute the weirs was channeled through a surface dig above the St. Johannes tunnel and from there via the Saherböck dig to the Matthias tunnel main shaft.

From 1784, the water required for brine production was collected in a “watering hut” above the Matthias tunnel and diverted via the newly built watering pit to the Matthias tunnel – main shaft. From there, the water reached, depending on the need, either through the pastor Weissbacher - Schurf and the subsequent digging to the weirs located on the evening side (west side) in the deeper tunnels. The morning (eastern) weirs could be over the v. Adlersberg - conversion and the Weilenböcker - digging and the subsequent digging can be achieved.

Situation of the weirs in the Matthias tunnel around 1850:   

A total of 3 weirs, all pronounced dead around 1850;                                                                             

Preuner and Raßfellner weir, from Frauenholz - via Neuberg - up to Matthias - tunnel.                                                                                      Zierler – weir and princes – weir from Matthias –  on St. Johannes - tunnel up verlaugt.

Until 1933, the drainage route led in the Matthias tunnel via the drainage pit to the main shaft and along this further to the Plenzner pit leading down into the Neuberg pit. In addition, another water pipe came down from the St. Johannes tunnel via the Saherböck scour to the main shaft.

In 1931, during the main inspection, it was decided to leave the Matthias tunnel open because future watering should come from the Törlbach via the Maria Theresia tunnel. For this reason, dams were built in 1932 at the end of the tunnel and at the head of the Plenzner and Weissbacher quarry. A final inspection to check the dams took place on February 5, 1934. The tunnel entrances to the Matthias tunnel and the drainage pit were then finally sealed.


Sources used:

Carl Schraml "The Upper Austrian salt works from the beginning of the 16th to the middle of the 18th century", Vienna 1932

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

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

Anton Dicklberger "Systematic history of the salt pans of Upper Austria", Volume I, Ischl 1807, transcription by Thomas Nussbaumer, as of 06.2018

Pit map around 1700

Rock carvings near the Matthias tunnel

Drainage pit in the Matthias tunnel

Built  1784 - In service until 1934

From 1784 water was in a "watering hut" above

of the Matthias tunnel from the Sulzbach and from a strong one

Source (Kaltenbrunn source)

caught and over the newly built drainage pit on the

Matthias Stollen – main shaft derived.


From there, the water reached, depending on the need, either through the

Pastor Weissbacher - digging and the subsequent digging to the

on the

Evening side (west side) located weirs in the deeper tunnels.

The morning (eastern)

Defense could over the v. Adlersberg – conversion and the

Weilenböcker – Schurf as well

the following prospects can be reached.


Miner Franz v. Schwind started in 1842

Laying of cast-iron water pipes at the Ischler Salzberg. This made it possible the long way that those in the upper horizons

collected water had to travel to fill the leach workers, since the iron pipes could be under higher pressure than the wooden pipes. The rapid supply of larger amounts of water to the production workers and drainage

the stretches soaked by the weeping wooden pipes was now possible.


In September 2018, members of the IGM uncovered the mouth of the drainage pit, revealing a surprisingly well-preserved portal.


Text: Archive Salinen Austria, Archive IGM                                             

Water basin for watering into the Matthias tunnel

Built  1883 - In service until 1934

In 1883, to secure the machine and watering operation in

arid times 

the manufacture of a large concrete water collection trough in the

near the

Matthias – Stollen in place of the one that has existed for ages

rotten collection box

made of wood approved.

This one covered with a simple wooden hut

water collection trough, served

for feeding the winding machine and for the leaching operation.


In September 2018, members of the IGM

approx. 100 m3 capacity

Water basin at the Matthias gallery cleared of trees at the edge of the basin,

which on the one hand restricted the view of this building,

on the other hand threatened to burst through the concrete wall with their roots.

This water basin is fed by the very productive "Kaltenbrunn spring".


This basin is the largest surviving building which was built from "Pernecker Romanzement" - hydraulic Pernecker lime, also known as "Hydrauer". This was produced in large quantities in the cement works at the Josefstollen.


Text: Archive Salinen Austria, Archive IGM