The tradition of summering in the Ausseerland region

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The tradition of summering in the

Ausseerland region

As early as the beginning of the 19th century, before a tradition of summer retreats developed in the resorts at Traunsee and Bad Ischl – initiated by spa guests and perpetuated primarily by members of the Austrian imperial family and international aristocracy – the Styrian prince Archduke Johann frequented the idyllic Ausseerland region with his entourage. He was soon followed by painters and authors, who conveyed romantic impressions of the stark Alpine landscape around the three lakes – Grundlsee, Altausseersee and Toplitzsee – to city dwellers, drawing ever more visitors from among the Viennese bourgeoisie, scholars, artists and writers. To these urban summer visitors, the picturesque lake district of the Salzkammergut region was the perfect backdrop on which to project their wishes and longings for an obscure idea of “unspoiled” and “authentic” “wilderness”.

Occupying places – building(s) for summer visitors

From the late 19th century onwards, a practice of taking summer retreats distinct from resort and spa tourism experienced a clear rise in popularity and spread in geographical reach, entailing the construction of buildings for summer visitors. The villas built as summer residences became established as an important element of Viennese society; parks, lidos, tennis courts and the like were built, and lakefronts were developed and transformed. Hardly anywhere else can we find as many villas as there are in the Aussee region. They all have their own stories – many of the villas were seized after 1938, “Aryanized” and granted to new owners. Villas such as those of the Hofmannsthal, Epstein, Praunfalk, Munk and Wassermann families bear testimony to the social, cultural and economic life of the past. Arguably, no other region can boast of a longer tradition and greater continuity as a summer retreat over generations than the Ausseerland. Based on recently rediscovered photographs and extensive research, numerous authors, including Wolfgang Kos, Tarek Leitner, Gisela Steinlechner, Gerhard Ruiss and others, explore the Ausseerland region from diverse perspectives such as architecture, landscape design, literature and anthropology in their contributions.

Scheduled for publication in summer 2018 by Brandstätter Verlag: Erich Bernard, Karin Standler,

Leo Walkner

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