Guided town walk through Hallein
Starting from the railway station, we’ll first walk to the Pernerinsel, a natural island in the middle of the Salzach River and home to the Old Saline, built in the 19th century. Its four salt pans gave a fresh impetus to Hallein’s at the time declining salt industry. With the closing of the salt mine on the Dürrnberg Mountain in 1989 however, Hallein’s salt production was discontinued as well. Today the old saline premises are a venue for the Salzburg Festival.
From the Pfannhauserbrücke Bridge (Pfannhauser = salt-works workers), with Hallein’s rocky landmark – the two Barmstein Mountains – looming up behind, you’ll be looking directly at a row of buildings erected in the Salzach-Inn architectural style typical of Hallein.
The Keltenmuseum, renowned amongst professional and amateur archaeologists alike for its unique finds dating back to the Iron Age (650 B.C), is located to the left of the bridge. More than 70 paintings exhibited in the so-called “state rooms” depict the historic salt making process.
Turning to the right and descending down a staircase we’ll continue along the Salzach riverbank to the Schifferplatz Square, from where in former times the river boats set out to transport salt along the river. The square is also home to the only salthouse that has been preserved in Hallein’s old town, closed shortly after having been put into operation.
Opposite the salthouse is the Bürgerspitalskirche Church. In the Lindorfer Platz Square we’ll go past one of Hallein’s three secondary schools, inaugurated in 1896. The Josefine-Lindorfer-Platz Square was named after Josefine Lindorfer who was arrested for a minor misdemeanour and transported to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp where she died.
Following the Schiemerstrasse and passing through the Niederhofgasse Alley we’ll arrive in one of Hallein’s spacious town squares, the Kornsteinplatz Square. The grain measuring stone stands right beside the square “Kastenbrunnen” Fountain. From the Kornsteinplatz Square we’ll walk through the narrow Ruprechtgasse Alley and across the small Robertplatz Square to the highly frequented Bayrhamerplatz Square with its Zeiserlbrunnen Fountain. Until 1617, a salthouse actually took up the whole square. Crossing the Untere Markt, we’ll walk up the Obere Markt to the Schöndorferplatz Square, the heart of the former medieval town. The square is dominated by the Town Hall building dating back to the early 17th century, whose front boasts a fresco depicting important Hallein localities. The “Kriegergedächtnisbrunnen”, a war memorial fountain, is in the centre of the square.
The tour then leads through the Pfarrgasse Alley into Hallein’s church district and to the Stadtpfarrkirche Church, that has been dedicated to St. Anonius and St. Hieronymus.
Diagonally opposite to the church entrance you’ll see the grave and, right behind it, the home of Franz Xaver Gruber which today houses the Silent Night Museum. The Gothic Peterskapelle Chapel is located on the other side of the church. After passing the Institute for Higher Education in the Ferchlstrasse, we’ll walk down a long stairway into the Augustinergasse Alley, taking care not to miss the very narrow entrance barely wider than a door leading into the Goldgasse Alley. The name comes from the word “collatum” and refers to the levy new town citizens had to pay. The houses in this alleyway lean against the town wall on one side.
The alley leads to the Molnarplatz Square that is surrounded by Hallein’s oldest houses whose roof constructions still recall that the buildings originated as farmhouses. In the early days, the Molnarplatz Square and the adjacent Florianiplatz Square formed a triangle, probably due to a fork in the road. At the end of the Florianiplatz , we’ll turn right and walking along the Kotbach Brook and through the Metzergasse Alley we’ll pass by the Griestor Gate, Hallein’s only surviving town gate. Carrying on across the Bruckhäuserplatz Square, through the Gollingertorgasse Alley and Thunstrasse, we arrive at the Stadtbrücke Bridge. In the middle of the bride we turn left and return along the Mautt Promenade back to the tour’s starting point on the Pernerinsel Island.