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History

The famous Via Aurea – the Golden Way, built in the Roman times by Marc Aurel – spreads along the Gastein Valley and leads to Rome through the high Mallnitz Pass. A roman settlement called Castuna or Gastuna on the present site of the city landed its name to Gastein. Gold mines were in use here and the Romans already knew –and also used – the healing force of the hot springs here. The city had vivid spa life in the 15. century already. However, dynamic changes started in the early 1800’s; when Kaiser Franz I. himself came and made the development decisions. He commissioned his brother, archduke Johann to supervise the development personally. Direct link was established to Salzburg; hot springs were securely protected, and palazzos, villas and hotels mushroomed around the 341 meter high waterfall. Bad Gastein quickly acquired its outstandingly elegant and exclusive milieu. The city and the valley have been a favorite resort for the royal families of the world for centuries. The first royal visit was recorded as early as in 1436 – Emperor Fridrich III. sought recreation here. Ever since, dozens of Kaisers, Kings, Queens and other dignities visited Bad Gastein – among others, Emperor Ferdinand II; Otto, the King of Greece; Leopold I, the King of Belgium; the Maharadja of Kapurtala; Emperor William I., the Kaiser of Germany (twenty times in twenty-four years!); Kaiser William II; Fejsal, the King of Iraq; Charles I., the King of Romania; Pedro, the Emperor of Brazil; Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran – just to name some from the many. Franz Joseph, Emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy was here several times; and his wife, Queen Elisabeth even devoted four of her poems to Bad Gastein during her many stays here. But the city was favorite place not only for the royal; Grillparzer; the King of Waltz Johann Strauss; and Franz Schubert visited the city frequently – as also Schopenhauer, Olga Tchehova, Arturo Toscanini, Franz Lehár, Emmerich Kalman, Field Marshal Moltke or the German Chancellor Bismarck. (Bad Gastein was also ’The Capital of Diplomats’; ’Gastein Convention’ about the peace between Denmark, Germany and Austria in 1865 and later the Alliance between Austria, Germany and Italy were signed here in 1878; the former in Straubinger Palace.) The railway tunnel connecting Bad Gastein/Böckstein with Mallnitz on the other side of the High Tauern Mountains were opened in 1905 by Emperor Franz Joseph; and Bad Gastein became an important point on the Zagreb-Ljubjana-Villach-Salzburg-Munich-Hamburg railway line. Bad Gastein was world-famous as health resort; now winter sports facilities and summer high mountain trails and panoramic forest promenades attract even more visitors. With its facilities and surroundings, Bad Gastein is one of the most famous winter-summer holiday resorts in the world. There are several famous health resorts in Europe; winter sport fans can find excellent facilities also elsewhere; and there are other high mountain summer trails and panoramic forest walks with similar beauty as well. But the three aspects together; combined with its exclusive, historic and elegant milieu make Bad Gastein really unique in the world. Unbiased visitors say Bad Gastein and its surroundings are minimum as beautiful and attractive (and much cheaper) than the world-famous Swiss resorts of Zermatt, St. Moritz or Davos. It has a fairy-tale beauty in winter; but, say, the view of Gastein Valley from the city on its edge is extremely beautiful also in summer.

 
 

Thomas Jensen | F.G.E Rostrups Vej 2 | 8000 Aarhus C | Denmark | mail@alpeferie.dk