Einhornhöhle


Useful Information

Location: Near Dreistetten, in the Hohe Wand National Park.
Autobahn A2, Wöllersdorf exit, towards Piestingtal, Dreistetten. The mouth of the cave is visible for kilometers. Marked footpaths lead from Breistetten about 35 minutes walk and from the Zitherwirt Inn near the ruins of Starhemberg Castle, about 30 minutes walk.
(47.857500, 16.089722)
Open: Easter Monday to SEP (weather permitting) Sun, Hol 9-17.
[2022]
Fee: Adults EUR 4.50, Children EUR 3.
[2022]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=60 m, VR=5 m, A=585 m asl.
Guided tours: L=120 m, D=20 min.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Dr. Franz Waldner (1935): Die Einhornhöhle am Hirnflitzstein in der Hohen Wand bei Dreistetten, Mitt. Höhlen- und Karstforschung 1935, S. 70-75.
Martina Pacher, Gernot Rabeder (2018): Pleistozäne Höhlenlöwen (Panthera spelaea) in Niederösterreich, Wiss. Mitt. Niederösterr. Landesmuseum 28 67-88 St. Pölten 2018. pdf
Address: Einhornhöhle, Zitherwirt Otto Langer, A-2713 Dreistetten, Tel: +43-2633-42553, Tel: +43-664-2343467. 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

1927 explored by Otto Langer senior.
1930 opened to the public with footpaths etc.
World War II closed as a show cave, used as a hideout during the war.
1958 reopened as a show cave.
1964 the cave was modernized by Otto Langer junior.

Description

This cave seems to be a sort of family business of the Langer family, landlords from Dreistetten. The cave was explored and opened by Otto Langer senior. Later it was modernized by his son. Otto Langer junior also made numerous discoveries during the development of the cave, including bones and teeth of cave bear (Ursus spelaeus). Remains from Bronze Age and Hallstadt Age, the remains of a fireplace, and bones of other animals including cave lion (Panthera spelaea) were also found.

The cave is today named Einhornhöhle (Unicorn Cave), because of the bone breccia of cave bear bones which was found inside. This is obviously a joke, because cave bear bones were thought to be unicorn bones until the 17th century, but the cave was discovered in 1927. The cave is also known as Hirnflitzsteinhöhle and Oakirnlucke, both terms are from the local dialect and incomprehensible even for native German speakers. It seems Otto Langer was a prankster, he also placed a statue of Saint Barbara, the patron Saint of the miners in a niche. There has never been any mining in the area.

But the cave is quite small and the most interesting thing is probably the view from the entrance and the spectacular cliff where it is located. This was the reason why lately a via ferrata named Währinger Klettersteig was created. It has difficulty C and leads up 100 m a vertical limestone wall, with claws and a ladder, even a small cave is crossed. Descend is on the access path of the show cave. Another, much older, via ferrata named Drobilsteig starts at the cave and leads up to the Herrgotschnitzerhaus, a restaurant on top of the Hohe Wand mountain. It's mostly in the forest and has several long iron ladders.

From the large entrance chamber there is a fine view of the surrounding countryside. A series of small chambers still contain bone breccia dating from the last glacial period. Finds include cave bear and large mammals. Noteworthy are the stalactite formations.


Text by Tony Oldham (2002). With kind permission.