Believe me, if young poeple hear word UNESCO, they are not as interested as you'd expect them to be. We don't say no to seeing those places, because our rational decision-making tells us to go there. But on the subconscious level, at least I feel that it's gonna be just a boring historical stuff. But this time I was wrong. Several days ago, I've visited a tiny austrian town Hallstatt listed on UNESCO herritage list and it was worth it!
HallstattIt is a tiny tiny town in Upper Austria. It lies in the middle of Alps and is probably the most picturesque town I've ever seen. Not only is it on UNESCO list but there's also the oldest salt mine in the world. Cherry on top is the beautiful fresh alpine lake reachable literally from the town square.
It has just 859 inhabitants but I guess the number of daily tourists is at least 3 times higher. This is how it looked like after we hopped off the bus. That's one of the cool things about the town. To preserve it's originality, they didn't build any extra parking lots, so to get there, one has to take a bus! I loved it!
The viewThere was a cable directly from the bus stop to the top of the mountain above the city. From what I've heard, it was build to keep tourists going straight into the town but kind of disperse them in two directions - some go up for the view and some go to the town centre. This is supposed to prevent the town from being too crowded.
UNESCO Welterbeblick :) If you're wondering, nope it's not a canalization flowing into the lake :D It was just a muddy spring. After taking mandatory pictures from above the town, we've decided to visit the saltmine which was just 15 minutes of walk. As I've looked back, this view immediatelly reminded me of one one movie...Here is the picture and you can guess which movie I'm talking about: It's Rivendell from Lord Of The Rings !! The elves town! I'm not sure whether my fantasy isn't getting the best of me here but that's really what I see :)
Oldest salt-mine in the worldAs I've already mentioned, this old salt mine is another reason why Hallstatt is worth a visit. Its official start dates to 1719, but they've found out that mining there has actually started already in prehistoric times.
What I really enjoyed was that the whole mine tour wasn't as boring as they usually are. It was pretty interactive and lot of fun. Rather than long talks from the guide, we've been presented with movies, talking statues and more. The movie on how the salt was created was screened on the "globe" shaped screen :)
Funfact about the salt color - the orange color is caused by higher iron ratio.
So you say movies, talking statues and more. What more? Well, there was a 70-meter long slide! And they even measured the speed :D I've reached 31.7 km/h. The fastest one was our guide with 38.5 tho :/
And then, the way out of the mine was on some old mining train. I loved the fact that it really was dangerous AF. We had to be crouched as the tunnel wasn't high enough to sit straight. Had I raise my head up, I'd probably be dead now haha :D
The town itselfI mean, there's not really much to say about it. It's often referred to as one of the most fairytale-like villages in the world and I understand why. Houses typical for the region packed one to another mirroring their faces in the cold alpine lake suface. It really felt like a fairytale. I'm no professional photographer but I've done my best. But if you can, for sure just go there to see it with your eyes.
Town copy in China:The town is obviously full of Chinese tourists. They are just everywhere haha. But this particular destination got into attention of some chinese officials and they....wait for it...They've built the exact same town replica in China :D Without any allowance or deal with Hallstatt people. They've got to know first when the town mayor got an invitation to China for the town opening :DD The story is killing me :)
And obviously - where are tourists, there are also bullshit souvenir shops :D At least this time they acknowledged that they are selling stupid stuff :D
I hope you've enjoyed reading the post or at least checking the pics at least as much as I've enjoyed the day spent there. I'm not a native Austrian but I have to say it really is a beautiful country. There are also another options for Europians and their summer vacation than just lying on the beach in Spain, Italy or Croatia :)
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