Traunkirchen: A somewhat Neglected
Corner of the Salzkammergut - Part II
A more recent attraction is the so-called "Russenvilla" (a slightly menial / casual expression for "Russian′s Villa") built by the Danish architect Theophil Hansen, who also designed many of the Ringstraßen buildings in Vienna: The houses of parliament, the stock exchange, the Academy of Fine Arts, or the Museum of Applied Arts. The local villa was built until 1854 for the daughter of a Russian prince.
Many 19th century celebrities stayed in this building, including Archduke Maximilian, the later Emperor of Mexico, the poet Rainer Maria Rilke and writer Adalbert Stifter. The building is still private property and not open to the public. To see a local villa from inside, go to the Spitzvilla.
It was bought by the province of Upper Austria in 1976 and the surrounding gardens were made a public park. The building itself houses a café and serves as an exhibition venue. Celebrities that have stayed here include the English king Edward VII and Emperor Franz Joseph I (in the villa, not the cafe, obviously).
Traditions & Customs of Traunkirchen
Like many villages in the Salzkammergut, Traunkirchen is proud of its traditions and customs. These include in particular the pagan-origin "Glöcklerlauf" procession on the 5th of February, which should awake the spirits of spring and involves men in ancient costumes with bells dancing and singing. The "Antlaßsingen" the night before Good Friday, is yet another ancient ritual: In commemoration of the fear and passion of Christ, the villagers walk through Traunkirchen, singing a specific chant.
The procession starts at 9 pm and the rituals last until 3 am, when it ends with the singing of a certain chant with 16 paragraphs. The Fronleichnam procession (Corpus Christi) is also somewhat different in Traunkirchen than in other places: Similar to Hallstatt, it is done in boats on the water.
Salzkammergut Singing & Nearby Attractions
Other local specifics of Salzkammergut culture include clothing, folk music and singing. The latter ones often takes place in local pubs, and is formalised now with the "Traunkirchner Wirtshausmusik". The venues and dates change, so you are well-advised to ask at the local tourist information centre about the next gatherings.
Nearby attractions include the previously mentioned Gmunden, Altmünster, Ebensee with a KZ memorial site and the surroundings of Lake Traunsee. The tiny but beautiful Langbathsee Lakes make a great and easy hike particularly nice in early autumn. Bad Ischl and a bit further north the Lake Attersee are relatively close, too.
Return to: "Traunkirchen - Part I"