Drachenhöhle

Drachenloch - Mixnitzer Kogellucken - Dragons Cave


Useful Information

Location: Near Mixnitz, southeast of Bruck a. d. Mur. A9 north of Graz, exit Leoben, towards Bruck along Mur valley. In Bruck turn south onto 335/S35 16 km to exit Mixnitz.
Meeting point: Heubergstüberl, Heubergstraße 32, 8131 Mixnitz.
(47.320909, 15.369897)
Open: MAY to SEP two Sun per month 9.
See website for exact dates, reservation mandatory.
[2021]
Fee: Adults EUR 12, Children (0-15) EUR 5.
Groups: School Pupils EUR 4.
[2021]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave TopicDragon Cave
Light: bring torch/headlamp
Dimension: A=950 m asl, L=4,495 m, T=7-9 °C.
Guided tours: L=542 m, D=4 h (Ascent: 1.5 h, Guided tour: 1-1.5 h, Descent: 0.5-1h).
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Fritz Ebner, K. Ehrenberg (1972): Die Drachenhöhle bei Mixnitz Exk.-Führer Tagung Paläont. Ges., 1972:229-237, Graz.
Volker Weißensteiner (2000): Adam Lebenwald und die Drachenknochen aus der Drachenhöhle bei Mixnitz in der Steiermark Die Höhle, Zeitschrift für Karst und Höhlenkunde, 51. Jahrgang, Heft 2.
Address: Fremdenverkehrsverein Pernegg-Mixnitz-Bärenschützklamm, Gemeinde Pernegg an der Mur, A-8132 Kirchdorf 16, Tel: +43-3867-8044-0, Tel: +43-3867-8079, Tel: +43-3867-8163, Fax: +43-3867-8044-11, E-mail: contact

Heubergstüberl, Heubergstraße 32, 8131 Mixnitz, Tel: +43-650-5066-166. 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.

History

1387 first known exploration.
1904 Jean Striemer trapped in the cave for three days.
1919 in the hard times after World War I, the cave sediments were mined to produce fertilizer.
1973 start of the exploration by the Steirischer Landesverein.
1978 a cave club from Langenwang took over.
1983 exploration by the Verein f. Höhlenkunde St.Lorenzen/Mürztal.

Description

The Drachenhöhle (dragons cave) was named for multiple remains of Explaincave bears (Ursus spelaeus). Long ago those bones were thought to be the remains of Dragons, as cave bears were extinct and unknown to the people. In some parts of the cave some 12 m of sediments, containing a high amount of phosphates, existed. After World War I, the cave sediments were mined to produce fertilizer. All in all 3.000 tons of phosphates were removed, using a cable car to transport it down to the valley floor, 500 m below.

In this sediment a huge amount af remains were found, the bones of cave bears and human remains like ancient fire places and flint tools. Those are, among the oldest human remains found in Austria, 65,000 to 31,000 years old. The number of found bears may have been more than 30,000 individuals. Some of the cave bear bones can now be visited in the Landesmuseum Joanneum, Raubergasse 10, 8010 Graz, Austria, Tel: +43-316-8017-9716, Fax: +43-316-8017-9846.

The cave is entered through a huge portal, 12 m high and 20 m wide. The cave is not developed, and several rock piles must be climbed. The end of the tour is in the Höhlendom (cave dome) after 500 m. Here is the Wappenstein (heraldic rock), a remain of the first known exploration in 1387.

In 1904 an accident happened, when the cave tourist Jean Striemer visited the cave alone with a torch. After he hit the ceiling and dropped the torch it went off, and he was trapped without a light. Without light, he could not find the exit. Two women from Mixnitz, who knew that he went into this cave, searched for him and found him finally after three days without food or water.
Norbert Casteret (1955): Im Dunkel der Höhlen (Tenebres), Leipzig: VEB F. A. Brockhaus 1955, 1.Aufl., S. 186.

During World War II this cave was used by the Nazi's under the code name Kreuzer. However, its remote location limited its use quite substantial. As a result there are actually no alterations from this time.

Today the cave may be visited on guided tours which are organized by the tourist office. The tours are offered during the summer on every second Sunday. There is only one tour per day and it takes up to four hours, depending on your physical fitness. The trip starts at 9 at the restaurant Heubergstüberl in Mixnitz. From here it's an ascent of 600 m which takes about 1.5 hours. The tour inside the cave takes about one hour, but it depends on how interested the participants are and how many questions are asked. The return downhill is faster and takes less than an hour.

This cave is actually not developed, but there are trails which are a result of the guano mining, the archaeological excavations, and the alterations during World War II. Nevertheless, some climbing inside the cave and on the last section before the cave are required. Sturdy walking shoes and surefootedness are necessary. For the cave we recommend a fleece jacket, a helmet with a headlamp, and gloves.