Austria – Part Five

16 Aug

We like so much to travel by bike because of the feeling of freedom this can give to you, no matter the rain, the cold or the hottest days….we like to drive along unknown roads and discover where they lead….

and have our breaths taken away by this kind of view….

or to see old buildings along the road………(hubby already knows when he has to slow down and let me take pics….lol…)

or new ones….but with a twist…

Or driving through quiet and almost deserted little villages and have a walk trying to find out where we are ended…

This is called Vordernberg, situated on the beautiful Styrian Iron Street (Eisenstrasse). In the days of the industrial revolution the skies here were darkened by the smoke billowing from the fourteen charcoal fuelled smelters, producing iron and making the town one of the most prosperous of its day. The Archduke Johann from Tuscany (brother of the Emperor Franz) himself owned two iron mills and spent some of his time living and working here.

This is Iron Mill  #4, definitely the most interesting historical site along the iron street, it houses the only full functional charcoal smelter in Austria.

The Archduke Johann’s wife Anna Plochl lived in this house for many years.

On the main square there is a marvellously constructed and beautifully designed  wroth iron canopy (Hammer Lords Well) build in 1668 protecting the town’s main well and water supply.

We had a coffee break at the Schwarzer Adler Gasthof, where the owner invited us to try a pretzel…..

Driving up under a grey sky, along the Iron Street……….

…till the Erzberg Mount. The Erzberg mine is a large open-pit mine located in Eisenerz. Erzberg represents the largest iron ore reserves in Austria having estimated reserves of 235 million tonnes of ore. The mine produces around 2,153,000 tonnes of iron ore/year. It is also the site of the annual Erzberg Rodeo endurocross race. Too bad we were late for this year edition…

Down towards the valley again….

….to a late lunch break in Leoben.

Leoben located by the Mur river, is local industrial center and hosts the University of Leoben which specialises in mining. The Peace of Leoben, an armistice between Austria and France preliminary to the Treaty of Campo Formio, was signed in Leoben in 1797. Leoben is known as the “Gateway to the Styrian Iron Road”. // //

The 13th century Main Square features the Hackl House with its baroque façade in red and white. The City Parish Church, St. Francis Xavier, built in 1660, comprises a 17th-century interior and is considered one of the most significant Jesuit churches in Austria. Also of note is the Art Nouveau Lutheran church which is at the upper end of the Franz-Josef-Strasse. The oldest convent for women in Styria is Göss Abbey. Founded in 1020 A.D., it was run by the Benedictine nuns until it was dissolved in 1782. The early Romanesque crypt is of note as is the ‘Gösser Ornat,’ which can be seen in Vienna (Museum for Applied Arts). Next to the convent is the Gösser brewery, which includes a brewery museum.
// //

Mining traditions still play an important part in city life. Examples are the Miners’ Parade, the St. Barbara Celebration or the Ledersprung (“Leather Jump”). The Gösser Kirtag, a street fair, takes place on the Thursday after the first Sunday in October and attracts tens of thousands of visitors to Leoben.

After a stroll in the city, we hit the road again to Bruck an der Mur….under a light rain, as you can see….

Bruck is located at the confluence of the Mur and Mürz Rivers. The earliest surviving record of Bruck dates from the time of King Ludovicus II “Germanicus”, when it was identified, in a record dated 20 November 860, as “ad pruccam”, a manor of the archbishopric of Salzburg. The settlement then identified with this name was in the location currently occupied by a suburb called “St. Ruprecht”. The settlement then located at what is now the centre of Bruck is identified in the ninth century record as “muorica kimundi” (i.e. the mouth of the Mürz River). The town was refounded in 1263 by King Otakar II of Bohemia, who was responsible for surrounding Bruck with its city walls. Bruck received its town privileges in 1277 from King Rudolph von Habsburg who had in 1273 succeeded Otakar. Bruck an der Mur was an important medieval trade center specializing in iron work. This one below is maybe the most famous iron well in Austria, with its lace-like dome.

On the main square also another one of the many columns we saw around Europe, many of them built as an ex-voto after plague epidemics in Europe in XVII and XVIII centuries.

Well, a square is also a place for gossip, right?….

Facing the square there is also the famous Kornmesser house, a building in Venetian style, built by Pankraz Kornmess in the 15th century. Can you see hubby under the porch?

We rose up to the roof lounge of a mall for a drink, and we were rewarded with a beautiful view….

End of another amazing day (no matter the rain) wandering around, filling eyes, hearts and souls with more memories…

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Posted by on August 16, 2015 in Uncategorized


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