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Austria, Steiermark: Erzberg – Mountain of Experiences

Published: 13.3.2013
The last stop of our journey across three countries was Mountain Erberg located in Steiermark. It is known as one of the larges European iron ore sites and it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the whole region.

We moved from Minimundus, a world of scale architectonic models, to a huge mine and an empire of huge mining machines.

Erzberg is located in iron-ore rich Alps right next to the town of Eisenerz. It is one of the richest European iron-ore sites and, allegedly, the ore was mined here since the Middle-Ages hower, the most recent evidence of the mining come from the 11th century.

Povrchový důl na hoře Erzberg
The mine combines surface and underground style of iron-ore mining. The characteristic feature is red-colored terraces on a huge space that forms the surface part of the mine that large trucks cross. Their tires have more than 260 centimeters in diameters and thus are much larger than a grown-up man. Intense mining is partially responsible for growing interest of tourists. This was one of the reasons of our decision to stop by the mine on our way back to Slovakia.

Povrchový důl na hoře ErzbergPovrchový důl na hoře ErzbergPovrchový důl na hoře Erzberg
A tour in the mine consists of two separate parts and visitors can visit parts of the mine located deep underground by a mining train, or take a ride on a large truck and enjoy a view from the massive red terrace of Mount Erzberg.

vchod do podzemních útrob doluvláček jedoucí do podzemních útrob dolu
Water goblin’s gift
We tried both options and we didn’t regret! After we bought tickets, not particularly cheap, důl na hoře Erzberg gates of the world of miners opened to us. We took on working clothes, helmets and together with our guide and fellow-travelers we moved in mining carts to see mining underground. Massive rocks were hiding labyrinth of mines that cross the mountain in various heights. Except a train ride we experienced a really long walk in the underground. We learned many new things not only of iron ore mining but also on mining machines and different tools miners have been using until the present. Children and adults were impressed by an interesting legend about a water goblin who was once caught in Schwarze Lacke (Black Pool) by local. To be free again he promised them gold for the entire year, then silver for ten years but when he promised them infinite ore supplies they let him go finally. A water goblin emerges from water in the mine at one place and he make you feel something from the legend.

důl na hoře Erzberg

důl na hoře Erzbergdůl na hoře Erzbergdůl na hoře Erzberg

důl na hoře Erzberg

Ride on world’s largest taxicab
One of the greatest experiences of our 10 day journey across Croatia, Slovenia and Austria was a ride on the huge Haul truck, some call it world’s largest taxicab. Getting to it by iron stairs on the vehicle’s body, which weights 55 tons, was an experience of its own. Every one of us had to fasten seatbelts, take on helmet and then the ride could begin. First, we were riding on the northern part of Erzberg, we crossed the surface mine and continued on the southern side where the main building of the facility is located. Two truck, Haul I and Haul II, which are used for visitor rides used to be ordinary working machines. From 1993, respectively 1997, they have been used for only for tourist rides. One of these vehicles can take up to 64 persons.

náklaďák Hauly
An interesting walk in the mine is available every day from May to October.

Ticket prices you may find HERE.

náklaďáky Haulynáklaďáky Hauly
If you ever occur nearby, try to visit this place. A visit at Erzberg Mountain will left you with unforgettable memories. For us it was a beautiful finale of our vacation. We arrived in Bratislava late in the night, tired but happy. We had ten beautiful days behind us during which we learned about fascinating places of Europe.

Text and photo: O. Maňáková

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