top of page


Adorable Chick

HIGHLIGHTS OF EUROPE diary : Day 11 - 25th April 2016

Hallien is a Mountainous, antiquated old town of Austria, sitting south of Salzburg. The pristine town gained visibility due to its 4000 year old history of abundant Iron and Alpine Salt deposits. The settlements of the Indo-European community had developed the profession of salt mining. They lasted in the area till the Romans over threw them and gained position. The conglomeration of various communities, shaped up varied cultures, leading to the existing, developed, yet simple town of Hallien.

Day 11 of our tour began early that morn. Our Itinerary included visit to the salt mine in Hallien during the first half of the day and Salzburg city visit, in the second half. We set out after a sumptuous home made breakfast and reached the Zell am see Railway station. The EURAIL PASS helped us get on to a train speeding towards Hallien town. The train was almost empty and we didn't have any difficulty finding seats of our choice. After a comfortable journey lasting one and half hours, we reached the Hallien railway station. We boarded a bus outside the station to get to 'Bad Durrnberg'. The Salt mine was just a 5 minute walk from the bus stop of "Bad Durrnberg". It snowed all the while. We enjoyed the cold weather and were in good spirits.

The sign boards made our life easy. Amidst the snowfall, we crossed the road following the instructions on the boards that lead us into smaller village roads. It was a blissful experience. The entire town was drizzled in snow. Parts of Green were still visible. On the way to the salt mine fell the SALINA CELTIC (Indo-European community) VILLAGE (referred to as KELTENDORF). It was empty and we gained easy, free entrance. It is a fascinating museum aiming to familiarise visitors with life as it was 2600 years ago i.e. in the ICE AGE . The museum comprises of just a small, gated area, that has been renovated in 2014 and updated with the latest scientific findings,

Tidy Desk

It is said that the Archaeological department managed to excavate nearly 400 graves, many artefacts and other possessions of the local settlements in Durrnberg alone. The excavations proved existence of trade & minings of this 'White Gold' ( salt) that might have resulted in the prosperity of specific 'Celt' families. Unfortunately, we couldn't take a guided tour of the village. We walked around it ourselves, moving from cabin to cabin, discovering the leather shop, blacksmith's work area and a mounded grave that was covered in snow.

After a few pictures, we walked to the reception/office of the much raved about SALT MINE of Durrnberg. Its entrance lies diagonally opposite to the "Celtic Village". The thick bed of snow still covered the area, though the snowing had stopped.

The reception of the offices warded away the 'cold' and we were a bit relieved. We made ourselves comfortable in the seats provided, warming ourselves with a cup of coffee purchased from the in-house restaurant. We bought our tickets at the counter for the 10:30 am tour. Luckily, the 7 of us managed to fit in the same tour. The duration of the tour was 90 minutes. We waited till the previous batch reached the reception. Wearing white overalls was mandatory for the tour. The guide led us to a "changing cum locker" room, where plenty of such white outfits were displayed. We spent a while selecting suits to fit our sizes. We then stuffed our hand baggages into our allocated lockers. After donning the attire, we were ready to go. We were led down a few staircases, witnessing killer views of the snowfall outside.

The 'Salt mining & trading' was instrumental in bringing Salzburg area into limelight. The underground salt mine was in usage for more than 7000 years. Our tour began with an exciting thought of digging out some history, deep down from the mines. We crossed numerous tunnels and displays while the guide ensured that we received enough information at every point. The area is proven to have been engaged in mining activities since Bronze Age. Initially salt layers that appeared in the mountains, ran deep down , reaching the ocean water basin, covered by thick clay. They were later slowly pushed layer by layer to a higher level by tectonic plate movements. The mountains therefore had to be dug deep to mine out the salt. A technically sound ' manual' system of extracting salt seems to have developed during that period.