"Der Reiszug"
Festung Hohensalzburg
Salzburg, Austria

Text and photos by Michel Azéma

Reiszug 1 | Reiszug 2 | Reiszug 3 | Reiszug 4 | Reiszug 5 | Reiszug 6 | Reiszug 7 | Menu

Part 2 - History and Description


The Hohensalzburg fortress is the bigest fortress of the Middle Ages which remains still intact. In the XVth century, during the war against Hungaria forced the archbishops to take refuge in the fortress.
Under the reign of the Archbishop Leonard von Keutschach (1495-1519) the fortress was strengthened.
An elevator for the foods was built in 1504 (may be 1495?) on the east side.
It was an elevator on rails (wooden rails till the XIXth century, the exact date of the replacement of the wooden rails by iron rails is unknown) supposedly operated by prisonners turning a big pulley. Then later they were replaced by oxes and horses. Till 1910 the elevator was operated manually by 9 men then a mine winch was intalled. In 1951 a new winch was installed and the wagon was replaced by a new one.
At the beginning of the XVIth century and under the reign the archbishop Paris Lodron (1635-1637) the elevator was used to carry stones, wooden beams for the extension of the fortress. This can explain the huge size of the fortress. Even today there is no road suitable for motor vehicles (may be 4x4 excepted!) that explains also why the "Reiszug" is still in use.

On this excellent vue you can see very well the layout of the fortress with the elevator.
1,2,3,4,5: The five great walls (with their doors) which are pierced by the elevator.
6: The building where is located the actual engine of the elevator.
7: The place of the public funicular built in 1890.
(photo Clemens M. Hutter)


The main caracteristic of this elevator is that it goes from the garden of a convent called Nonnberg up to the center of the fortress going thru five successive great walls! Each wall is pierced to let the elevator pass thru it. Each opening in the walls can be closed by a big wooden door still in place.
Today the "Reiszug" is exactly at the same state as some centuries ago: the same course, the same walls, the same wooden doors!!!
The only change is the modernization of the elevator itself: energy, electronic, videos.
It starts in the private yard of the Nonnberg with a smooth gradient, then the gradient raises up to 67 % when the elevator cross the external lawn of the fortress. Then it crosses the five successive walls and arrives in the internal courtyard of the fortress where the wagon is stopped by electronic sensors. The route is watched by some video cameras fixed above the doors of the walls.
The use is private. The wagon is composed of a flat truck for the goods and a small space for three persons.
When the elevator is not in use the wagon is parked under the great wall #5 where it can be sheltered against the bad weather.

Owned by

Amt des Salzburger Landesregierung
Postfach 527
Start1504 (or 1495)
Type of funicular
Type of tracks
Energy 1504 (1495)-XIXth century
till XIXth century
Lower stationNonnberg (455 m)
Top stationFortress courtyard (535 m)
Length190 m
Diff. of levels80 m
Maximum Gradient67 %
Gauge1,30 m
Speed0,5 m/s
Time of a ride5' 45"
Cabin1 built by KONY
Number of passengers3
Payload2500 Kg

Reiszug 1 | Reiszug 2 | Reiszug 3 | Reiszug 4 | Reiszug 5 | Reiszug 6 | Reiszug 7 | Menu

Copyright 1997 by Michel Azéma, Paris (France)
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