Hallein is a historic town in the Austrian state of Salzburg, the capital of the Hallein district. It is located in the Tennengau region south of the City of Salzburg, along the Salzach river in the shadow of the Untersberg massif, near the border with Germany. With a population of c. 20,300, Hallein is the second largest town of the Salzburg state.
Hallein, street with churchtower
Long known for the Hallein Salt Mine in the Dürrnberg plateau, settlements in the area have been traced 4000 years back. It was a Celtic community from 600 BCE until the Romans took over their Noricum kingdom in 15 BCE. The name Hallein is one of many Hall-names in the south German language area that may have something to do with salt mining and for which Celtic, Germanic and other origins have been discussed.
In the 11th century the extraction of salt at Hallein became crucial for the economic wealth of the Salzburg Archbishopric, competing with the salt production of Reichenhall in Bavaria. Archbishop Kuenburg had the Protestant miners expelled at the end of the 17th century, after which several hundred of them emigrated to Walcheren and Zeelandic Flanders in the Dutch Republic.
World War II
Hallein was the site of a work camp annex to the Dachau concentration camp during World War II. After the war, it was the site of a permanent Displaced Persons camp (Beth Israel). In mid-1947, ORT opened a school in two of the barracks, teaching tailoring, dressmaking, electrical and radio technology, baking, beautician training, and upholstery to over 200 students. Later ORT also offered English language classes. In 1948, with the closure of other DP camps, Hallein became the Austrian collection point for Jewish emigrees to Canada and the United States. The camp closed in 1954.
The Saltworks on Perner Island, opposite the Salt Office. Now used as a Salzburg Festival Concert Hall
Hallein hosts two museums of historic and musical interest. The Keltenmuseum displays artifacts and narrative describing the early Hallstatt and La Tene Celtic cultures as well as the development of salt mining in the region through the Middle Ages and Renaissance. The Silent Night Museum features information relating to the composing of one of the best-known Christmas songs of the 19th century. It documents the life and times of composer Franz Xaver Gruber. The museum houses the guitar originally used by lyricist Joseph Mohr and several signed copies of the sheet music.
Seats in the municipal assembly (Gemeinderat) as of 2009 elections:
Hallein can be reached by suburban S-Bahn railway from the city of Salzburg. It has also access to the A 10 Tauernautobahn (European route E55) from Salzburg to Villach.
- Franz Xaver Gruber, composer of the Silent Night Christmas carol, born November 25, 1787 in Unterweitzberg, Hochburg-Ach, died June 7, 1863 in Hallein.
- Clemens Holzmeister, architect, born March 27, 1886 in Fulpmes, died June 12, 1983 in Hallein.
- Herbert Fux, actor and politician, born March 25, 1927 in Hallein, died March 13, 2007 at Zürich.
- Judith Wiesner, tennis player, born March 2, 1966 in Hallein.
- Anna Fenninger, alpine ski racer, born June 18, 1989 in Hallein.
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