The “Tauerngold”, a special precious metal surrounded by many myths, sagas and much speculation today as in times past. Myths aside, what is sure is that already several hundred years before Christ, precious metals were searched for in the Hohe Tauern. Various finds and lore attest to this today. But as life for gold seekers in the Hohe Tauern was very arduous and dangerous and the search simply became unprofitable, the goldrush eventually came to an end …
A 6000-year old iconic site at Danielsberg attests to gold, silver and iron having been dug for already around 500 BC on this 960 m high mountain. The mountain must have wanted us to know about this, seeing that it kept revealing tools made of stone time and again. The history of Mölltal Valley is closely linked with mining well into the 18th century, experts even agree that the Illyrian Veneti already looked for iron in the Tauern region around 1000 BC.
Gold, silver and iron around 1480
The oldest still existing mine register in Obervellach clearly documents that silver mines existed around 1480 in the “Teuchl”. The Teuchl is a tributary valley in the municipality of Reisseck, which today is known mainly for scenic hikes. At the time of mining, this undertaking as it is written “involved considerable difficulties” due to the alpine location. A nice way of paraphrasing the hardships the miners faced in this inhospitable region.
The arduous life of the miners
The life of the miners was by no means easy. Because the Mölltal ore mines, silver and goldmines were mostly located in the high mountains, the miners day-to-day life was an arduous one. Reaching and climbing down into the tunnels and mines was a difficult endeavour, especially in view of the heavy equipment that also had to be transported to the tunnels. To start the working week, the miners had to bring food for 6 tough working days with them up to mountain, and then worked for up to 12 hours a day underground.
Success didn’t last long
Despite the considerable effort, up to 80 mines were on record in the area of the Teuchl in 1535. But this does not hide the fact that mining had no great future in the region. Because of the effort and the resulting lack of profitability, mining in the Teuchl took a downturn from 1600, or rather, it was mainly relocated to the mining district of Steinfeld in upper Drautal Valley. House ruins, so-called stockpiles or tips can still be seen today in the Teuchl and attest to this turbulent time.
If you, too, are interested in the exciting era of gold-seeking in the Hohe Tauern and like to hunt after ancient myths and sagas, then you should travel to Obervellach-Reisseck and go on the search for information, answers and lore in the Nationalpark-exhibition.
Zur Zeit des Edelmetallbergbaues war das heutige Rathaus Wohnsitz der Gewerkenfamilie Schlaminger, die zu den bedeutendsten Bergwerksbetreibern des Mölltales gehörte.
Als der Goldbergbau in der zweiten Hälfte des 16. Jhs. immer weniger Gewinn abwarf, gerieten zahlreiche Gewerken in erhebliche finanzielle Schwierigkeiten. Um die Mittel für die sozialen Ausgaben aufzubringen, wurde im Jahre 1537 die Bruderlade geschaffen, in welche jeder Knappe einen Kreuzer pro Gulden und Monat als Beitrag zahlen musste. Die Bruderlade ist eine Vorstufe zu unserer heutigen Sozialversicherung.
Pfarrkirche St. Martin – Jan van Scorel Altar
Die Pfarrkirche St. Martin, welche um 1500 errichtet wurde, gehört zu den schönsten und berühmtesten Sakralbauten des Landes. Das großartigste und am meisten bewunderte Kunstwerk in der Pfarrkirche St. Martin zu Obervellach ist das Triptychon des 25-jährigen Malers Jan van Scorel aus Schoorl bei Alkmaar, welches er im Auftrag der Stifterfamilie Lang von Wellenburg-Frangipani im Jahre 1519 und 1520 auf der Burg Falkenstein geschaffen hat. Es handelt sich dabei um drei in einen Barockaltar integrierte Tafelbilder.