Goldwashing in Rauris

in Salzburg

in Rauris

The middle ages high time of the gold mining, ended by growing glaciers.

1876 Ignaz Rojacher from Rauris revived the gold mining for a short time.

1926 the whole area is owned by the Naturfreunde, a non profit organization.

The Tauern are a mountain ridge, famous for multiple valuable ores. Most famous are of course, mentionable amounts of Gold which are found all over the area in thin bands of ore in many single cracks.

First the ores were searched and found on the slopes of the mountains, and qurried in opencasts, which are called Pinge. Some of the miners followed the gold bearing ore bands into the mountain side. Many small adits were built all along the valley.

The mining mining with adits had its peak in the middle ages, but the so called Little Ice Age, a century of decreasing temperature, made the glaciers grow and made the adits inaccessible. The glaciers shrunk again and so the gold mining had a short renaissance in the 19th century.

But another way to find gold was washing. The ores, which were already weathered, where transported down the valley by the water. The gold is very rresistant against any form of wethering and it is very heavy. So while the surrounding rocks were destroyed by weathering, the gold remained, and as rocks and sand were washed down the river, the gold accumulated because of its weight in faults in the river bed.

So the gold mining history in this area is a combination of all common methods to find gold. And the educational trail Tauerngold-Rundwanderweg shows most of them. The highlights are adits, Knappenhäuser (houses of miners), the Radhaus, an engine house for the former funicular.

The Nationalpark-Infostelle "Zimmererhütte" is the Visitor Center for the National Park Hohe Tauern. Despite informations on animals, plants, walks and trails, they have changingexhibitions on several themes, including the gold mining.

The Rauriser Talmuseum is a sort of historic museum, but most of the valleys history is connected to gold mining. Located in the Gewerkegebäude (a miners term for mining buliding) which dates from 1563, it shows exhibitions on gold mining, Ignaz Rojacher and minerals of the area. The museum is completed by a section on the observatory Sonnblick and by local farming equipment.

The Grubenfeld Bodenhaus is one of three places in the valley were visitors can wash their own gold. The results are not worth the time you invest, but gold washing is a great fun for children.