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15 The Mitterberg tunnel

Stud Name:            "Mitterberg - Stollen" as locality name

Struck:            7/25/1563   

Length:                          130 m

Altitude:                     886 m

Under Emperor Ferdinand I, the Mitterberg tunnel was opened on July 25, 1563 as the first and original salt tunnel on the Ischler Salzberg.     

A mine survey carried out on October 15, 1567 by Georg Neuhauser Salzamtmann, Balthasar Blindhammer court clerk at Hallstatt, Jakob Schmiedauer Unterpfleger at Wildenstein, with the involvement of the mine masters and other people who were familiar with the work of the salt pans at Hallstatt and Aussee, revealed that in the Mitterberg tunnel there was a shaft with 2 sinkworks in the salted mountains had been sunk. From this, great hopes were drawn of finding a salt store worth building in order to be able to set up a salt works in Ischl.


For further investigation of the found salt deposit, it was decided to create a level excavation from the sinkhole sunk at 47 Stabel (56.2m) in the salted mountains and to sunk another sinkhole from the same. As the salt mountain stretched further down, a deeper tunnel was to be built at the "Hohensteg".

In 1575, experts from the salt works in Aussee, Hallstatt and Ischl carried out another inspection and consultation on the Ischler Salzberg.

In the Mitterberg tunnel there were two prepared pumping works, which were already being used to produce brine. The mountain master and mountain workers from Ischl, who had twice seen the salt industry in Hallein and Schellenberg, suggested driving under these structures through the Steinberg tunnel to avoid the costly brine pumping and cleaning, as was still customary with the salt pans in the Salzkammergut and convert to discharge weirs. This proposal, which was recognized as useful, was carried out, the connection was established with the nearest water dam in the Steinberg tunnel - main shaft and then in the Mitterberg tunnel the first discharge weir according to the "Schellenberger form" of the Upper Austrian salt works was put into operation. This was the start of replacing the ancient pumping stations with drainage works. But it still took a long time to completely suppress them.

In a pit plan drawn up in 1654, one can see that the Mitterberg tunnel – the main shaft after 66 5/8 Stabel (79.4m) of driving in the limestone reached the salt mountains. This was lengthened and a 99 bar (118.3 m) long side shaft, the so-called "Neue Kehr", was created. The field site of the Neue Kehr stood in deaf mountains. At the front of the Neue Kehr there was an old weir, already rotten in 1654, which was the first drainage weir, prepared in 1575 according to the Schellenberg model. Behind it was a 44 bar (52.6m) long main pit down the Steinberg tunnel, which was used for weather management and drainage.

On the further continuation of the Mitterberg tunnel - main shaft, which is referred to in the Reformation Libel from 1656 as "Krechenschafftgericht" ("straight shaft"), a building was laid out on the right. This was driven under by the then Bergmeister Hanns Kalß and by the worker Wolfgang Kalß to save the expensive scooping and to reduce the costs of cleaning, through the Steinberg tunnel and also made into a weir according to the Schellenberger form.  Furthermore, on the left hand side of the main shaft there was a 32 bar (38.2 m) long Ebenschurf, which was initially operated as a detection blow, then connected to the side shaft or "Neuen Kehr" by a wing site and later to a Lettendamm, the "Schwarzel Weir". called, has been devoured.

When 34 ½ Stabel (41.2 m) left the salt mountains on the main shaft continuation and fresh water was built, several water openings were knocked out. In addition, the first water tunnel was created 7 Stabel (8.4m) above the Mitterberg tunnel and advanced to a length of 93 Stabel (111.1m).

Due to the inexperience of the miners, who believed that the limestone in the back of their heads was a deposit, after which salt would have to come again after it had been breached, strong self-watering waters were approached, the mastering of which caused great difficulties.                      

The total length of the Mitterberg tunnel - main shaft, which had a total gradient of 4 ¼ Stabel (5.1m or 4%), was 108 Stabel (129.1m). Only 65 of these (77.7m) were in the Hasel Mountains, the rest in dense, water-bearing limestone.

The outcrops of the Hasel Mountains in the Mitterberg tunnel formed only a small, cut-off part of the main deposit, which was fully utilized by the construction of 3 barrages.

The Mitterberg tunnel was already in use around 1656 and was only used to drain mine water. The collapse had already taken place in 1596 and the amount of scraped water was so large that it was able to drive a mill wheel. Despite all the effort, it had not been possible to find the place where the burglary had taken place, and in the end one had to content oneself with collecting the waste water in the main shaft and channeling it to the surface in gutters. Because of the inrush of water in 1596, the main shaft had to be maintained almost entirely in expensive timber. The Mitterberg tunnel also served to ventilate the Steinberg tunnel.

In 1689 the Mitterberg tunnel was finally completely abandoned.

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

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

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

B. Pillwein "History, Geography and Statistics of the Archduchy above the Enns and the Duchy of Salzburg", 2nd part Traunkreis, Linz 1828

Mitterberg - tunnels, routes and buildings, 1757, Solingen, IGM archive

Plan Salzberg Bad Ischl in 1654

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