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Culture, history and traditions

How Upper Austria is forever drawing new buds from old roots

Upper Austria is a land that is continually reinventing itself culturally. Its people are proud of their roots and keep their customs alive and well. Yet they also view these traditions as the source of contemporary wonders, from which spring an inexhaustible stream of new and forward-looking ideas.

The Salzkammergut region combines mountains and lakes in such uniquely harmonious ways that it has had a tremendous impact on artists and creative minds since time immemorial. It was here at Attersee that Gustav Klimt created his world-famous landscape images. It was in these landscapes that Gustav Mahler and Franz Lehár composed some of their greatest works. Theatre and film actor Klaus Maria Brandauer enjoys returning to the Ausseerland for an invigorating retreat.

This Salzkammergut is a land of stories and history. The operetta "Im Weissen Rössl am Wolfgangsee" is as well-known around the world as the experiences of the Von Trapp family in "The Sound of Music". Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife Sisi founded the tradition of the summer retreat in Bad Ischl; the indulgent yet active concept of rejuvenation that is just as modern today as it was back then. The images of this land are world-famous: the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hallstatt, which has even been recreated in China. Those who wish to stroll the idyllic streets and narrow alleys in typical costume can even rent a "Dirndl to go". The glass-smooth, blue surface of Attersee, is home to another UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site, the prehistoric pile-dwelling settlement. And of course Traunsee and the town of Gmunden, with its emblem, the Schloss Ort.

This great river of Europe is a natural spectacle and a cultural wonder in one. This is where history abounds. Castles and ruins stand witness to the passage of time. Splendid monasteries bridge the present and the future as the standard-bearers of art and culture.

Draw from the old and create something new - there is no region in Upper Austria where this holds truer than the Mühlviertel. Artisan craft has deep roots in this strong granite land ‒ crafts such as beer brewing, which has been practised here for hundreds of years. This tradition has given rise to one of the most vibrant beer regions in Austria, offering a variety of specialities.

Sightseeing destinations

Throughout history, man has shaped his landscape to reflect the culture of his times, leaving behind clues that continue to surprise and amaze us today: