History of Ramsau am Dachstein
The first documentary evidence of Ramsau am Dachstein dates back to the year 1120.
It is, however, believed, that the Bavarians had already settled on the vast plateau of Ramsau am Dachstein in the 11th century. The name 'Ramsau' is made up of the Middle High German words 'ram' - meaning 'vertically dropping baulk', that was motivated by the steep mountain 'Hohe Rams' in the 'Feiserkar' - and the word 'au', which refers to the meadows beneath. The oldest ancient monument, yet only fragments have remained, is the ruin 'Satteneck', also called 'Katzenburg', in the east part of Ramsau.
Originally, a small path led from the Untere Klaus to Leiten, passing Kulm and further to the west across the plateau.
For centuries sheep were farmed in Ramsau as it turned out to be trouble-free. There were enough grazing areas at the plateau or the alpine pastures and the area of the “am Stein”. The meat of the sheep was especially popular in autumn. Some of the meat got also cured. Up until the middle of this century, wool was very important. Some farmers were able to use everything from the sheep especially to make loden itself. The rest of the farmers brought their wool to the loden factory (Lodenwalker) in Rössing or to the “kotatscher” in Vorberg.
The “Lodenwalke is traceable back to the 15th century, which makes it the oldest profession in Styria. It still produces products of high quality, made of the tough sheep wool “Loden”.
The Reformation, the Counter-Reformation and the Age of Tolerance are amongst the most striking events regarding Ramsau's history. The message of the Reformation had already been spread very early by Saxon miners working in the Schladming Tauern. People were enthusiastic about the Lutheran teachings, but had to suffer a setback when Emperor Ferdinand II harshly reinforced Catholicism. Ramsau's inhabitants went through a lot of hardship during the two centuries of religious war, but unbowed they held on to the evangelic teachings, until the memorable 13th of October 1781: this very day, Emperor Joseph II issued the Patent of Toleration. From then on, Ramsau's farmers could openly confess their faith again and retrieve their Lutheran bibles and prayer books, that were sources of comfort and strength during these hard times, from their hiding places.
The 8th of September, 1888, was the laying of the foundation stone for the Evangelical Church. After seven years of construction time, on 15th of August 1895, Ramsau inaugurated their church, that was planed by Nuremberg achritect Hans Kiesler. The House of God, built Neo Romanesque Style, stands on an area of alluvial sand. Hence, the ground had to be stabilised demanding extensive backfilling works. The tower's foundation required a 9 metre long driven pile. A very interesting church of the upper Enns valley in terms of art-history is the Catholic Church St. Rupert am Kulm. The church is made of a single nave, dating back to Roman times, and of a three-bayed, vaulted sanctuary with an 3/8 end (forming three eights of an octagon). The church's frescos date back to the 14th, 15th and 18th centuries.
History of tourism – from the beginnings to the present
The holiday destination Ramsau am Dachstein had its first upturn as a typical summer resort at the beginning of the past century. During the postwar period, however, Alpine regions were developed, a fact that turned this trend towards winter tourism. Today Ramsau am Dachstein is a popular all-year-round destination with focus on hiking and skiing, thus a classical two-seasons resort.
Three distinctive projects contributed considerably to the development of the larges Styrian tourism destination:
Dachstein road: on September 1, 1961, the road was inaugurated. Its length is 6,3 km, conquering 500 metres of altitude difference. By 1965, the asphalting was finished entirely. The road leads up to the Alpine pastures, to the bottom station of the Glacier cable car and to the hotels and guest houses, namely Türlwand, Hunerkogel, Dachstein and Glösalm, being starting point of many beautiful mountain hikes. There is skiing in the winter.
Dachstein Glacier cable car: groundbreaking on June 10, 1966, inauguration by President Franz Jonas on June 21, 1969. The Dachstein glacier cable car has two large, 70-seater gondolas, carried by a 56 mm steel cable, that shuttle back and forth between the bottom and the top station in one single run. It conquers 998 metres of altitude difference on a length of - unsupported - 2.147 metres. The top station on the glacier is on an altitude of 2.700 m. In August 2005, the Dachstein Skywalk viewing platform was opened. The Dachstein cable car is one remarkable engineering achievement.
Nordic World Ski Championships 1999: during this major sports event from February 18 to 28, 1999, the training centre has been considerably extended and advanced to international standards.
Dachstein south wall ascent: Pichl-weg, Steiner-Weg
The south side of the High Dachstein has already been inspected in the 1880s by the best climbers back then, such as: Zsigmondy, Purtscheller, Böhm, Blodig, Lendenfeld Diener and others. They all thought the wall was not climbable.
A short extract from E. Pichl’s book “Hoch vom Dachstein an”, 1936: (which means high up from the Dachstein):
Various attempts have been made, even from the best climbers in Ramsau. In June 1901 I laid with a bad “influenza” – that was called a bad flu back then– under the Dachstein and studied the south walls. I put down my climb line, which I followed later on, particularly the access point under the “Dachsteinwarte”. After I got better I wanted to run my plan with Gustav Jahn but when we attempted to climb it, fog and heavy falling stones had driven us back. The boldness of the brothers Josef and Georg Steiner from Ramsau was astonishing, as they were the first ones to defeat and climb the wall of the Dachstein on the 22nd of September 1909. It is especially astonishing for everyone who followed them on their bold path. Of course, it is easier to climb up a mountain, when you know that someone else did it before you. But just image for the ones who climbed it the first time, they also had to think about the climb back! How many times they may have changed their ways, with the consciousness, now we have to go up!
Local Museum 'Zeitroas'
The local museum 'Zeitroas' in Ramsau Ort, across the Hotel Pehab, impressively shows the development and history of the village by means of interactive installations and historic exhibits. With pictures and films, one can sense and experience, but also guess and discover, the distinctiveness of Ramau. Also, interested visitors can browse throug historical and contemporary literature.