At the Großklockner Paßstraße, Auffangparkplatz Handelsbrücke in the Kleines Fleißtal.
15 minutes walk.
(47° 2'42.27"N, 12°54'10.23"E)
Open Air Museum: free.
Gold panning: small fee.
R. F. Ertl (1975):
Die Geschichte des Tauerngoldes,
in: Tauerngold. Veröffentlichungen aus dem Naturhistorischen Museum. Neue Folge 10. Wien.
|Address:||Goldgräberdorf Heiligenblut, Tourismusverband Heiligenblut, A 9844 Heiligenblut, Tel. +43-4824-2001-0. E-mail:|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|1974||first tourist attraction with gold panning started.|
|1999||Goldwäscherverein Heiligenblut founded.|
|2004||created for the Kärntner Landesausstellung wasser.gold 2004.|
The crstalline rocks at Heiligenblut are famous for their variety of ores and minerals. Both were formed in clefts, during high pressure and temperature the fluids in the rocks and dissolved and redeposited different materials. Tektonic forces created clefts, which often healed by the deposition of minerals in the same speed they were opened by the orogeny. Sometimes the clefts opened, and in the water they were filled with numerous minerals were formed.
The most important mineral found here is gold, less important but in higher amounts silver is found, both are ores which formed in clefts together with quartz. There is a whole family of sulfides, like chalcopyrite, sphalenite and galenite. Thera are fluorites in various varieties and magnetites. The most common mineral is quartz, which is found in uncountable variations: rock crystal, citrine, amethyste. There are numerous other minerals found, which makes this area an important area for mineral collectors. The locals who collect minerals are called Strahler, which is derived from the old name Strahl (beam) for rock crystals.
The gold was either washed in the brooks where it was deposited after the original gold bearing cleft was eroded, or it was mined in underground mines. The gold panning was a common work for local farmers, who did it while they had free time on their farm. It was done with a pan locally called Saxe, which was made of wood.
The Goldgräberdorf Heiligenblut (Gold Mining Village Heiligenblut) is an open air museum which was created in 2004 for the Kärntner Landesausstellung wasser.gold 2004, a sort of cultural fair organized by the country Kärnten (Carinthia). It documents the history of the famous gold mining era at Heiligenblut and offers gold panning and guided tours.
This area was of importance since the Stone Age, when people searched for stone for tools, but also for precious gems and metals, and gold was found her in pure form, but only in small amounts. Important was the collection of rock crystals by men from Venice, who did this in an illegal way,
While gold washing always had been an additionl income for the farmers, the gold became importants during the centuries. At first open cast mines were built where gold bearing sediments were quarried. Then the people started to mine the quartz clefts and followed them underground. During the 15th century they worked with Hammer und Eisen (hammer and chisel), heated the ore with fires and cooled it down abruptly with cold water. During the 16th and 17th century, the use of black powder was the reason for the heydays of Tauern gold.
The ore was mined in Stollen (tunnels), transported out of the mine in so called Hunte, the miner term for small carriages, often with a nail and a wooden rail which was a predecessor of a railroad. The material from the mine was sorted in the Erzscheideplatz also called Scheidcram, both are ancient miners terms. The ore was heated in the Röststadel (raosting barn), which evaporated the sulfur and weared down the ore which made the next step easier. In the waterwheel driven Pochwerk (crusher) the ore was crushed and the fine sand was washed down with more water and the gold collected in mud pools. All those steps in the gold production process are shown in the open air museum.
The gold bearing mud was called Feinschlich, and the gold was separated from the mud with mercury. The mercury was thrown into the mud and stirred for three weeks in an iron cauldron. It amalgamated with gold and siver, and all three then could be collected easily from the mud. The gold silver amalgam was heated, the mercury evaporated and was condensed to be reused. The gold and silver could be separated by using aqua fortis, a special acid which solutes silver but not gold. All those processes are dangerous and poisonous, so they are not shown in the museum. Fortunately the production here was always rather small, so nature destruction was on a low level. Nevertheless, work at the mine was hard because of bad smells, noise, and all the poisonous substances.