Wednesday 26 September 2018

Hallstatt: A Beautiful Austrian Village

Hallstatt is a tiny village that is well known for its dazzling beauty. With a history dating back 7000 years it is also one of Austria's oldest surviving villages. The existence of Hallstatt has a lot to do with the discovery of a salt mine located in the mountain high above the village. This salt mine is also the world's oldest so Hallstatt which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site is indeed steeped in history. 

Hallstatt is rather small with a population of only 778 as of 1 January 2018. Though it only takes half an hour to walk from one end of the village to the other and return many would find half a day insufficient as it is unlikely for anyone to be oblivious to the village's remarkable beauty. More often than not, a visitor would stop and admire, gawk and be stupefied, take photographs and savour the mind blowing vistas and the unique things in and around the village. The beauty that oozes from every building that stands on its ground and the stunning landscape especially that of the lake and the mountains is a visual feast and a photographer's delight. Hallstatt is described by some as a "Postcard-Perfect European Village Straight Out of a Fairy Tale" which I wholeheartedly agree but would like to additionally describe it as "A Dream Village To Be In Sync With Nature" as there is an untold calm and serenity about this place.
So I am really glad to have visited Hallstatt which is actually quite isolated due to its remote location in the enclave of a mountainous region. Way before reaching the village, stupendous views of the alpine mountains started to unfold before the eyes. I guess that was the prelude to my Hallstatt visit making the entire trip an unforgettable one. 

Gorgeous Setting
The beauty of Hallstatt is mainly attributed to its topographical setting. The village is built on the slopes of the Dachstein mountain and the narrow shores of Lake Hallstatt (Hallstätter See), a pristine lake which is itself surrounded by towering mountains. There is not much flat land in the village and many houses are built right up to the edge of the lake, some apparently floating on it. These are all elements contributing to the village's charm.

One Road
There is only one road going into the village and this road is parallel to the lake. Other than bicycles, all motorized vehicles are not allowed through. From the Information Centre near the parking area to the end of the village is just about 1 kilometer long.

Dainty Houses And Buildings
I just couldn't get my eyes off those houses and buildings. I've always wanted to adorn my home with creepers and lovely flowering plants but living in a country where the temperature perennially exceeds 30ᐤC with a humidity that would make you want to strip naked sometimes, nothing pretty can ever creep on its wall. So walking around here was visually tantalising even though I could only dream on.

Mysterious Stairways
There is only one road but many stairways leading from the road to the various houses and buildings perched on the hill slopes. 

The climb may be a little tiring but the view you get from the slopes is rewarding. 

Walking around these higher parts of the village, you'll come across interesting homestays, restaurants and residential houses tucked away from visibility when viewed from down under.

The Market Square
Even though the whole stretch of the main road is lined with shops and eateries to take advantage of the tourist crowds that poured in, the concentration of commercial activities is at the village market square. This petite square is the most robust place being surrounded by shops, restaurants, cafes, bars, churches, and small inns.

Quaint Shops And Decors
The shops with their rustic decors are worth peeking into. The quaint things sold and the way they are being displayed is what makes this village distinctive.

To Die For Lakeside Scenery
Standing near the edge of Lake Hallstatt, you get the most astonishing of views. Boats, mountains, clouds and the the lake's hues of green make a panorama that is really therapeutic and pacifying.

It's Picturesque Everywhere
I can understand why Hallstatt is a dream destination. It is so pretty everywhere, you just need to stand at any corner to get a stunning view fit for a postcard.

Fun Fact
There is another unique thing about Hallstatt. Because there is very limited space, the remains of the dead would be exhumed every 10 to 15 years to make space for the new dead. The skulls that are exhumed would be painted in a decorative way and inscribed with the deceased’s name, birth and death dates before being transferred to the Hallstatt's Charnel House (Bone House). Seen in this picture is part of the collection of skulls and bones of people who once resided in Hallstatt.

Related Posts:
1. Vienna: The City Of Music, The City Of Dreams
2. Review Of Pandorf Designer Outlet
3. Hallstatt: A Beautiful Austrian Village
4. Salzburg: The City Of The Sound Of Music
5. Scenic Drive In Austria

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