Seewalchen am Attersee (until January 1st, 1962 only Seewalchen)
is a market town in Upper Austria in the Vöcklabruck district in the
Hausruckviertel with 5669 inhabitants (as of January 1st, 2020). The
responsible judicial district is Vöcklabruck.
Prehistory and pile dwellings
The first pile dwellings on Lake Attersee were built between 4,000 and 3,500 BC. On the entire lakeshore, including in Seewalchen, Litzlberg and Unterbuchberg, people used pile dwellings. The finds in the Attersee go back to the Neolithic and Bronze Ages.
Research on pile dwellings began in Upper Austria on August 25, 1870, when Gundaker Count Wurmbrand excavated the first pile dwellings in Seewalchen. They also sparked a real pile dwelling bug in Austria.
At the Attersee a great number of finds were recovered by the sand fisherman Theodor Wang while digging for sand, who was able to more than double his income by selling finds. Wang was born on October 15, 1870 in Vienna as Theodor Krobatschek and, like his siblings, was adopted on October 27, 1909 by the property owner Nikolaus Wang, who operated a steam saw in Seewalchen. He is considered to be the discoverer of several pile building stations on the Attersee - including Misling 1, Misling 2, Litzlberg. He sold the finds to the furniture manufacturer and owner of the Schneckenvilla in Seewalchen, the Natural History Museum in Vienna and, after the World War, also to the Heimathaus in Vöcklabruck.
His role and that of other sand fishermen who were found hunters are very controversial due to the "brutal" recovery. They are therefore often referred to as “predatory fishermen”. However, it is undisputed that the recovery was “up to date” at the time and without this research would not have been possible for a long time.
Today, many stilt-dwelling villages submerged in water are endangered by construction, shipping and divers.
A special position - because it is unique in Austria - is the wetland settlement (that's what science calls pile dwellings) in the Gerlhamer Moor. This nature reserve, in the southwest of the municipality, is a listed building. Important finds from the moor are a bronze belt hook (natural history museum) and a long dagger blade made of bronze (Max Schmidt collection), which were found in 1904 while cutting peat. The peat cut was then owned by master brewer Paul Ellinger from Litzlberg.
On June 27, 2011, the UNESCO declared 111 pile dwellings around the Alps to be World Heritage. The Litzlberg Süd pile-dwelling station, one of the 3 world heritage sites on Lake Attersee and 5 in Austria, is represented in Seewalchen.
In 2005 a Celtic barrow from the Latène period (5th century BC) with interesting grave goods was opened in the forest between Seewalchen and Berg.
Around 15 BC Seewalchen belonged to the Roman province of Noricum. The fact that - as claimed in older writings - the important transport link from Wels to Salzburg ran along the Attersee is probably not historically tenable, and the view that Seewalchen is located on the Roman Laciacis is also not scientifically proven, but far in the literature on Seewalchen spread. However, several finds indicate Roman settlement: a Roman inscription was found in Litzlberg Castle in 1916. A fragment of a Roman tombstone is walled into the north side (outer wall) of the parish church. The treasure found in 1950 during leveling work on the lake shore was unusually valuable: 100 silver dinars, several rings and bracelets; probably from the year 200 after Christ. The valuable finds are exhibited today in Heimathaus Vöcklabruck.
Most of the place names in the municipality of Seewalchen come from the Bavarians, who immigrated to the area between 500 and 550 after the Romans withdrew in 488. The immigrating Baiern follow the Roman roads and meet Romanized locals. They called the places of the remaining population "walchen", as place names such as Seewalchen or Ainwalchen prove. This is how the name of the community came about: the place where the Walchen lived on the lake.
The Old High German phase extends from around 500 to 1100. Place names with the ending -ing (a little older) and -heim (a little younger) indicate this. However, there are also spurious -ing names. The real -ing names come from basic settlements from 600–800. In the expansion phase between 800 and 1000, home names in particular were productive.
During the Christianization period, the following place names were first mentioned: Steindorf 750, Ainwalchen 807 and Kemating 822.
The Middle High German phase begins around 1000. The second expansion phase is characterized by -dorf-, -berg- and -bach names. The third phase of the expansion is characterized by -reit-, -schlag- and -eck names. However, the many clearings led to a drop in the groundwater level. -reit- and -öd names correspond to each other.
Missionary work in the area began in Salzburg before the turn of
the millennium. The Church of St. Jakobus in Seewalchen is likely to
have already existed as the "original parish". In the Middle Ages,
the connection to the Michaelbeuern monastery in Salzburg had a
lasting effect. In 1135 Seewalchen was first mentioned in a document
there. The current church was built between 1439 and 1476.
The Catholic parish church of Seewalchen refers to the time of Charlemagne. From the fact that the church is dedicated to St. James the Elder, researchers conclude that a church already existed in Roman times. In the Middle Ages, the surrounding areas were included in the church structure based on Seewalchen. Thus Seewalchen was a typical clearing parish, the parish of which encompassed the entire Attersee area to the watershed to the Traunsee.
A large part of today's municipal area came into the possession of the Kremsmünster, Mondsee and Michaelbeuern monasteries through donations. Since 1135, when the church was incorporated into the Benedictine monastery and the name "Seewalchen" first appeared in a document, Seewalchen was closely connected to the monastery for 748 years. The close ties to the Michaelbeuern monastery only ended in 1983 when the parish was taken over by the Linz diocese.
Since 1490 it has been assigned to the Principality of Austria ob der Enns.
During the Napoleonic Wars, the place was occupied several times. Since 1918 the place belongs to the federal state of Upper Austria.
After Austria was annexed to the German Reich on March 13, 1938, the place belonged to the Gau Oberdonau. After 1945 the restoration of Upper Austria took place.
On May 9, 1977, the state government conferred market rights.