Österreichisches Felsbildermuseum


Useful Information

Location: In the former Stift, Spital am Pyhrn.
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Classification: SubterraneaMuseum
Light: n/a
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Address: Österreichisches Felsbildermuseum, Stiftsplatz 1, AT-4582, Spital am Pyhrn, Tel: +43-7563-249, Fax: +43-7563-249-20. 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.
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History

1957 the Wildmeister Franz Gressenbauer from Spital discovers the engravings.
1979 museum created and opened to the public.
04-JUL-1998 museum reopened after renovation.
2013/14 museum restorated, Nazi ideology removed.

Description

The Österreichische Felsbildermuseum (Austrian Rock Art Museum) shows engravings from the Höll in the municipal area of Spital am Pyhrn, obviously the reason why this museum was established here. But the exhibition also shows many other engravings from Austria and all over Europe. A TV dosumentary moderated by Sepp Forcher explains the development of the unique landscape of the Pyhrn-Priel region. It also gives a historic overview of the importance of the Pyhrn Pass for pilgrims, for the trade in goods from Venice and with iron ore for the production of scythes. An important exhibition is about the development of writing, from rock engravings to the alphabeth.

The Höll is a landslide area with huge rocks, located below the Teichlboden on the Wurzeralm, between Schwarzeck and Stubwieswipfel. If you follow the Teichl river across the Wurzeralm to the Teichlschwund, wher the river vanisches into the loose blocks, an unmarked path leads downhill into a landslide area. The rocks here are covered all over with engraved pictures. Some are showing Christian symbols, mostly crosses and Jesus monograms, with dates, for example 1714, 1764, 1900, 1935. There are also hunting scenes and geometric forms. Pentagrams, mill boards, sun symbols or celestial ladders can also be found. The meaning of many signs is unknown to us, but seems to have had a meaning to the person who carved it. There is a total of 13 rocks with engravings, showing about 500 different motives. The most impressive engravings are a man in a tower and a family.

The museum was founded by Prof Dr. Ernst Burgstaller. He explored such engravings all over Austria for decades and was convinced they were of prehistoric origin. Unfortunately there is no way to determine the age with geophysical methods, but the limestone is weathered rather fast, and so modern interpretations assume the were created since the Middle Ages. It seems the symbols have religious meaning, the Christian symbols are obvious, the others seem to be pre-Christian. The place was used by dairymaids to pray for the fertility of the alpine pastures once a year until World War II. As a result Ernst Burgstaller had rather eccentric opinions about the origin of the engravings, heavily influenced by the NAZI ideology which tried to establish a scientific theory about Germanic origins. Finally the museum was split into parts and the NAZI stuff was removed in 2015. We are not sure if the museum still exists, as it is not mentioned on the official list of museums any more. Our guess is, it was replaced by the exhibition about mountaineer Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner.