Einödhöhle

Elfenhöhle


Useful Information

Location: From Pfaffstätten follow L4010 to Einöde, at the end of the village turn right and park at the Einöde-Parkplatz. Follow the single lane road into the Großes Kehrtal and turn right after the last building on a trail named "Zu den Einödhöhlen". Its about 400m uphill to the cave, about 15 minutes walk.
Alternatively park on the Parkplatz der Rudolf-Proksch-Hütte and follow the trail to the Rudolf-Proksch-Hütte (signposted). The trai to the caves turns off left after 200m. Its about the same distance and walking time.
Open: APR to SEP no restrictions.
OCT to MAR closed for bat protection.
[2019]
Fee: Free.
[2019]
Classification: Sea Caves
Light: no light, bring lamp.
Dimension: A=370m asl.
Guided tours: n/a
Photography: Allowed
Accessibility: not wheelchair accessible
Bibliography: Robert Bouchal, Josef Wirt (2014): Verborgener Wienerwald. Vergessenes, Geheimnisvolles, Unbekanntes. KRAL, ISBN-10: 3990243020, ISBN-13: 978-3990243022, S. 88f.
Address: Einödhöhle, Einöde, 2511 Pfaffstätten.
Marktgemeinde Pfaffstätten, 2511 Pfaffstätten, Tel: +43-2252-88985. 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

22-APR-1925 developed as a show cave and opened to the public.
1925 electric light installed.
1926 30,000 visitors in one year.
14-JUN-1949 declared a Natural Monument with the number ZI. 4292/49.

Description

Einöde is the German word for wasteland, a strange name as it is located in the beautiful Wienerwald, the hill country in which the Alps end, south of Vienna. Probably the surroundings were not very well suited for agriculture, and so the small village, which today belongs to Pfaffstätten was named Einöde. Or it was simply a result of the remote location in a forested valley off the fertile plains. The caves were named after the nearby village. They are located above the small town at the slopes of the Pfaffstättner Kogel.

The caves are sometimes called Einödhöhlen (Einöd Caves) in plural, because there are numerous caves located at a certain level at the hillside. The show cave is the Einödhöhle, nearby is the Elfenhöhle (Elf Cave) which is closed due to rockfall, and there are some more small caves which are not open to the public. The Einödhöhle was developed with paths and electric light and during the development an artificial tunnel was constructed which allowed a one way two connecting the two entrances. Long abandoned, the caves are today still open for visitors and the trails are still there, but the light system was removed. There is no development except some plates with a cave map and further explanations.

The small caves are exceptional, as they were interpreted as sea caves, not karst caves. This sounds strange for caves located at a mountain side, but the rocks were obviously eroded by waves, which formed erosional planes and cliff faces with their the mechanical force, which can be seen along the hillside. They were formed by the waves of the Tortonisches Meer (tortonic sea) and the Pontischer See (pontic lake) during the Miocene (11 to 5 Ma). At this time the plains which are now the fertile Wiener Becken and Pannonic Plain were covered by water. It was during the early phase of the Alpine Orogeny which is still ongoing. As a result the caves which once were formed at sea level were lifted to their current elevation during 10 Million years.

This theory is quite old, it was developed by famous local geologists when the cave was developed as a show cave in the 1920s. However, almost 100 years brought new knowledge, including plate tectonics and radio isotope dating. The sea cave theory is not undisputed, and as far as we understand it might be correct or completely wrong. More recent work on the caves' genesis has not been done, as far as we know.

The caves have two entrances, the left or western entrance was the show cave entrance. It is followed by the entrance hall, which has an opening to the sky called Fenster (window). Along the Zerfressenen Wand (eaten wall), named after the rugged surface it sports, you reach the next chamber called the Thronsaal (throne room), as there is a rock formation resembling a throne. Finally you reach the Trümmerhalle (rubble hall) with its rugged rock formations. Through the Fledermausgang (bat passage) you reach the eastern exit of the cave.

From the last century several kinds of bats are documented for this cave. After the show cave was abandoned, after World War II, the cave was open and people walking in the area used the cave to make camp fires or throw parties. As a result most of the bats vanished, and today only on species of bats, the kleine Hufeisennase (Lesser horseshoe bat, Rhinolophus hipposideros) is still found there.