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History of Liechtensteinklamm

Origin - Development - Legend


During the last ice age glaciers towered above the region at heights of over 3000 metres. As the climate changed, melting glaciers seeking lower ground carved out our main valleys and the high, sharp ridges that define the walls of our side valleys. The rapidly flowing Großarl Mountain Stream counteracted this difference in height with an epic battle lasting thousands of years; hard rock was met by the cutting, grinding forces of water, leaving us with a 300m high chasm - the natural phenomenon known today as the Liechtensteinklamm.

Development of the gorge

A group of local residents began to develop the gorge in 1875. As funds became short they turned to Prince Johann II of Liechtenstein for help; the prince’s generous donation of 600 Guilders made it possible for work to be completed in 1876. The decision was made to name one of the Alps’ most significant natural wonders after its principal benefactor and the chasm became the Liechtenstein Gorge.



Legends and Myths 

summary of the Legend of the Liechtenstein Gorge:

How the devil meant to divert the Gastein Springs:

The blacksmith of Oberarl in Plankenau/St. Johann had promised his handicapped daughter to the devil, provided the devil was able to bring him the healing springs of Gastein. The pact had one further condition; that the devil’s work be finished before the first cock crow the following morning. The devil agreed and set to work in the dead of night. The blacksmith’s wife – known to be a cunning witch – learned of the pact and vowed to bring her husband’s greed to an end. Taking up the bird just before day-break she doused it in the cold waters of the well trough causing it to crow lustily for all to hear. The devil, on his way to deliver his handiwork, was flying over the gorge with the warm springs, when he heard the Oberarl cock crowing and knew he had come too late. Furious at his failure, he flung the springs deep into the gorge so that no man would be able to reach them ever again. Until this day is has not been possible to extract the healing spring water from the canyon and divert it for general use.

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