Rosental in Carinthia
The Rosental is a valley in the south of Austria, or more precisely, in the province of Carinthia. The Rosental is approximately 40 kilometres long and the river Drau runs through it. The Slovenian name of the Rosental is "Roz", which is taken seriously, as there is a small, but noisy Slovenian minority that lives there. The two mountain ranges in which the Rosental runs in between are the Sattnitz in the north and the Karawanken in the south. Following the course of the Drau, you will ultimately leave the Rosental and go into the Jauntal valley.
The name of the valley means "valley of roses", but in fact, it is derived from the term "rasa" after a local landlord, the Sir of Ras. The name was first mentioned in a written document from 876 - precisely a century before Austria was founded. Back then, the knights of Ras, also called of Rasek built a castle, the Burg Altrosegg. This was done in today′s village of Rosegg (you guess where that name is derived from). Since 1227, the name "Rastal" is recorded to refer to the entire Rosental.
Tourism in the Rosental: What to Do & Where
Officially, the Rosental is one of Carinthia′s designated tourist destinations. However, it is not a very touristy area at all. Visitors might find good opportunities for hiking and families will discover a few nice day-trip destinations. But keep in mind that the Rosental is more of a "meet-real-Austrians" kind of thing that lacks the stunning scenery and kick-butt attractions of Carinthia′s lake area or the properly Alpine regions in the north of the province.
Today, the valley is fairly densely populated. The most important towns and villages are Ferlach, Feistritz, St. Jakob im Rosental, St. Margareten im Rosental and Gallizien. In the early 20th century, when the railway network in Alpine regions was quickly developed, a railway was built along the Rosental. This railway is still being operated, but in rather bad shape. There are several industrial companies in Feistritz that need access to the railway system for transportation; they ensure the survival of the railway, despite of its bad shape and need for renovation.
Note that the number of trains for transportation is very limited and that they are likely to be ended altogether soon. For international visitors with a keen interest in trains, the summer months might be more appealing. For special occasions and on certain dates, steam trains run on the railway, the so-called "Rosentaler Dampfbummelzüge". These trains are also activated on St. Nicolas′ Day (6th of December) and for Christmas.