Bad Ischl

Bad Ischl


Location: Upper Austria     Map


Bad Ischl is a spa town in southern part of Upper Austria. The city was first mentioned in the 13th century, but it reached its high point in the nineteenth century. The city became a favorite summer residence for the Austrian Imperial family as well as a play ground for European aristocracy. Large sum of money were flowing and a small city became famous for its lavish architecture and cultural importance in Europe.


Travel Destinations in Bad Ischl

Photo Museum in the Marble Palace


Villa Lehara


Lehar Theater

Imperial villa


Drinking pump room


Parish Church of St. Nicholas


Burg Wildenstein



Early days
It is assumed that the Bad Ischl area was inhabited as early as the Hallstatt and Latène times. In 15 BC he area became part of the Roman Empire. The presence of the Romans is documented by two inscription stones and scattered finds, one of which was lost in the 18th century, probably in the course of the church renovation. This, a consecration stone to Mithras from the period after 170, contained the reference to a statio Esc (ensis) (customs post). A Roman tombstone from the 3rd / 4th centuries was preserved. Another consecration stone was found in the nearby Kienbachklamm for the Celtic / Roman god Mars Latobius. Noricum remained a Roman province for half a millennium. In the course of the migration of the peoples, the inner Salzkammergut probably experienced a noticeable decline in population, which was, however, compensated for by the immigration of Bavarians and Slavs. These areas had already recovered under Charlemagne, but were thrown back again by the forays of the Hungarians.

Around the year 1000 the country, which at that time belonged to the Bavarian Mark ob der Enns, finally recovered from the destruction. The population increased noticeably, and salt production was also resumed. Through their followers, the Lords of Ort, the Styrian margraves (from 1180 dukes) from the Otakare family extended their territory to the inner Salzkammergut in the first half of the 12th century. They were inherited by the Babenbergs in 1192.

Since then, salt has once again become the most important economic factor in what is now called Ischlland.

The place was first mentioned in a document in 1262 as Iselen, later as Yschl.

High Middle Ages and the salt conflict
When a century later, under the rule of the Habsburgs - the Wildenstein manor - a new salt mountain was discovered in Goisern and cleared for mining, Archbishop Conrad IV of Salzburg came into an open conflict over the salt monopoly.

The anger of the archbishop grew even greater when the abbot Heinrich von Admont, a Habsburg favorite, also mined salt in the Gosau valley and was busy extracting salt in Hallstatt. Having to share his salt trade seemed unbearable to the proud archbishop, so a furious battle for salt production and the salt trade broke out. The archbishop brought in a complaint in which he referred to the monopoly - supposedly only due to him. This objection was not recognized by the Habsburg Duke Albrecht I, which once again increased the anger of the archbishop. Albrecht set up fortifications in the endangered places. For example, in Hallstatt a protective station, the Rudolfsturm, was built, from which one could see the whole country far.

When the rumor arose one day that the Duke had died of the effects of poisoning, Archbishop Konrad prepared for the final extermination campaign against the newly created salt pans that he hated. He had the mining sites demolished and the associated settlements reduced to rubble and ashes. But his triumph did not last long, since Albrecht I had not died at all and was now taking revenge on the archbishop in a bloody feud.

Peace was established in 1297. This agreement ushered in an era of construction and peace. New mountains were used to extract salt. From 1419 Wildenstein Castle was the seat of the - from 1452 imperial - keepers who administered the Habsburg salt trade.

The main town of the Ischlland at that time was Lauffen (first documented mention in 807, today cadastral parish of Bad Ischl), 1275/80, at the time of the Battle of Dürnkrut / Jedenspeigen in 1278, with which the Salzkammergut finally came to Habsburg, from King Rudolf I. was raised to the market (the oldest market in the Salzkammergut). For "special merits", Duke Albrecht III. 1392 special rights to the village of Ischl. Under Emperor Friedrich III. Ischl was raised to market in 1466. In 1656, the name 'Salzkammergut' was first mentioned in a document for the property around Bad Ischl.


In 1563 the Ischler Salzberg was opened up by the mine in Perneck. The Pfannhaus (saline) on the Traun was built in 1571 (called Kolowrat brewhouse from the 19th century). For generations of Ischlern, salt became the most important economic basis, in addition to the previous transport, now also in direct production. This means that Ischl is becoming increasingly important compared to Lauffen. In 1595 the brine pipeline was built from Hallstatt via Goisern to Ischl, in 1604/7 the brewing hut Ebensee with an extension of the brine pipeline.

Reformation and Counter Reformation
In the 17th century, membership in Protestantism had to be bitterly fought for. Lutherans who immigrated from Salzburg had to renounce their religion in the course of the Counter Reformation. Anyone who opposed the order was imprisoned or even executed. Many Protestants, such as the Barons von Racknitz, who originally lived at Pernegg Castle, left Austria. Protestantism could be suppressed by force for about 100 years until the movement openly demanded its right to freely practice religion. The application was refused and the rebellious Protestants were asked to either convert to Catholicism or to emigrate to Hungary and Transylvania (see Landler). Since most of the families affected had lived in the Salzkammergut for generations, the majority of Lutherans stayed in the country and swore - at least to the outside world - of their belief. However, it was only a matter of form, because in truth they continued to practice their religion secretly (cryptoprotestantism) until Emperor Joseph II finally officially allowed Protestantism with the introduction of the tolerance patent in 1781.

Health resort and "imperial city"
Ischl's heyday began in the 19th century, despite its economic significance. In 1821 the Viennese doctor Franz Wirer came to Ischl and found out about the successes of the saline physicist Josef Götz, who had been testing the effects of brine baths on sick saline workers since 1807. The first about 40 (foreign) spa guests appeared in 1822. In the following year, the number of guests doubled. 1823 can be seen as the actual founding year for the first Ischl spa as a brine bath. The brine bathing room (Tänzelbad) built by the saline cashier Michael Tänzl in his house on the Traun had to be expanded as early as 1825.

Ischl soon rose to become a health resort of European importance. The number of guests who came to Ischl - including State Chancellor Metternich and Archduke Rudolf - grew steadily. In 1827 the archducal couple Franz Karl and Sophie, the parents of the future Emperor Franz Josef, took a cure here for the first time. In 1827/1828 Franz and Magdalena Koch built the Posthof (Gasthof zur Post), the first hotel in the Salzkammergut.

The high point of Ischl's heyday was the period from 1849 to 1914 as the imperial summer residence under Emperor Franz Joseph I. In 1853, Franz Joseph got engaged to Elisabeth (Sisi) in Bavaria in what was then the Seeauerhaus, which is now the museum of the city of Bad Ischl.

Since the summer of 1863, the important composer Anton Bruckner has always come to Ischl for the Emperor's birthday and for other festive occasions of the imperial family as court organist. Bruckner liked to describe himself as "the emperor's organist". On July 31, 1890, at the wedding of Archduchess Marie Valerie and Archduke Franz Salvator, he played variations on the imperial anthem on the organ, combined with the Hallelujah from the Messiah by Georg Friedrich Handel. Then Bruckner was invited to dinner at the Hotel Post. On August 2, 1890, Bruckner gave his own organ concert. He often visited his friend Attwenger. A plaque on the parish church commemorates Bruckner's stays. There is also an entry by Bruckner in the guest book of the Zauner confectionery.

Ischl was the summer residence of many other popular composers, above all Johann Strauss, Franz Lehár and Johannes Brahms, but other musicians from the turn of the century also regularly spent the summer here; many of them were also looking for proximity to the local court. This is how Ischl developed into a meeting place for artists of international renown during the time of the Danube Monarchy. Even today, operetta weeks are held every year during the summer months in the Kurhaus. Important writers like Mark Twain, Theodor Herzl and Franz Werfel also stayed in Ischl.


In 1906 Ischl was renamed to Bad Ischl.

On July 28, 1914, Emperor Franz Joseph wrote the Manifesto To My Peoples! In the Imperial Villa in Bad Ischl, in which he declared war on the Kingdom of Serbia. This should be the beginning of the First World War.

After the end of the monarchy
In 1920 Bad Ischl was given the name of health resort by the state government.

After the July coup, National Socialist activists Franz Unterberger and Franz Saureis were arrested in Bad Ischl for possessing explosives. They were found guilty at the trial in the Vienna Regional Criminal Court, sentenced to death on August 20, 1934, and executed. During the time of National Socialism, they were honored with an honorary grave in the Bad Ischl cemetery.

In 1940 Bad Ischl was promoted to town.

From February to December 1942, there was a satellite camp of the Dachau concentration camp in Bad Ischl.

After the end of the Second World War in 1945, Bad Ischl belonged to the American zone of occupation in occupied post-war Austria. A DP camp was set up by the American military administration to accommodate so-called displaced persons. The camp was managed by UNRRA.