Location: 25 km North of Graz
Info: (03127) 2580
Open: Apr- Oct: 9am- 4pm daily
Lurgrotte Caves is the largest cave system in Austria. It is located 25 km North of Graz. Lurgrotte Cave was officially discovered by Max Italian Brunello on April 1st in 1894. However first scientific exploration started with the mishap. On April 29, 1895 seven cave explorers entered the underground tunnels during a heavy rain. Rising water quickly trapped brave men for nine days. The rescue effort organized by an Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph gather over 1000 local residents and volunteers. Trapped explorers were rescued alive, as several groups undertook trips inside the Lurgrotte Cave mapping about 5 km of systems
The cave was officially discovered by the Styrian speleologist Max
Brunello on April 1, 1894. However, the Lurgrotte only really became
known after an accident. On April 28, 1894, despite heavy rain, seven
speleologists climbed into the Lurgrotte. The rising water trapped them
in the cave for nine days. Only after an extensive rescue operation
with over 1000 helpers, miners and divers, which required the
intervention of Emperor Franz Joseph I, could the trapped people be
In February 1905, members of the Styrian Cave Club, section of the Austrian Tourist Club, rediscovered 1002 meters of caves.
In the 1920s, the speleologist Hermann Mayer worked with his father to develop the "Schmelzgrotte" in the Peggau part of the Lurgrotte. They also tried to find a connection between the Peggau part and the part coming from Semriach. On November 26, 1924, the path was clear after an explosive shot over the 5th siphon, but it was not until February 13, 1935 that the first crossing was possible.
On May 23, 1926, the speleologist Poldi Fuhrich died while exploring the ghost shaft inside the cave. The Poldi Fuhrich Cathedral, even deeper in the mountain, was named after her.
On February 24, 1927, an auction of the Lurgrotte in Peggau, including a restaurant, two villas and 35,359 square meters of land, took place in Frohnleiten, to which the hope was attached that the Lurgrotte could be preserved as a local company. - At the (further) auction of the Lurgrotte held on July 8, 1927 at the Frohnleiten district court, together with its extensive realities from the bankruptcy estate of the commercial credit institution, A.-G., the reality was added to the wine wholesaler Pezzi, who sold the generous design of the Lurgrotte and planned the construction of a grotto railway.
The first complete crossing of the approximately five-kilometre-long cave was made in 1935. In the years that followed, work began on expanding the Lurgrotte as a show cave with the help of footbridges and tunnels. From 1962 it was possible for visitors to walk through the entire cave until a storm on July 15, 1975 washed away large parts of the buildings. Today, the Lurgrotte can be walked through with guided tours from both sides for a total of around two kilometers.
From Semriach, the route leads through electrically illuminated areas to the Great Cathedral. Only when the water is low in winter (November to March, as of January 2019) are guided tours for adults only one kilometer deeper through the ghost shaft and areas whose path fortifications are repeatedly destroyed by flooding. The same applies to the lower entrance in Peggau.
After his death on October 16, 1971, the speleologist Hermann Mayer was buried in an urn in a prepared niche in the "Victory Hall" of the Lurgrotte Peggau, in accordance with his last will.
The Lurbach, which runs underground there, flows through the cave. This sinks in Semriach in creek disappearances and reappears in Peggau in the Hammerbach spring. The Schmelzbach spring, which rises at the Peggauer cave entrance, is only connected to the Lurbach-Hammerbach system when the water level is high.