Eisriesenwelt Cave

Cave Eisriesenwelt

Hidden in the Hochkogel in Werfen lies the giant ice world, the largest ice cave in the world. Ice caves before Werfen are the largest in the world. Giant Ice World Werfen Discover Giant Ice World in Werfen, Austria: According to Austrian legend, the largest ice cave in the world is considered the entrance to hell.


Tennengebirge was created in the later Tertiary, during the Würm glacial age of the Pleistocene. One of the Austrian Alps, the massif of the Salzburg Alps, is the biggest karstic plain in the Salzburg Alps, and the Eisriesenwelt lies on the edge of this one. Though the cave is 42 km long, only the first kilometre of the area that visitors are permitted to explore is iced.

Most of the cave is made up of lime. As the cave entry is open all year round, a cool windy season freezes the ice in the cave. There is a cool breeze from inside the cave towards the cave inlet in summers, preventing the formation from meltin. In 1879, the first formal exploration of the Eisriesenwelt was made by Anton Posselt, a Salzburg naturalist, although he only investigated the first two hundred metres of the cave.

Prior to its exploration, the cave was known only to the local population, who believed it was an entry to hell and declined to study it. Cave researcher Alexander von Mörk (de), from Salzburg, was one of the few to remember Posselt's invention. In 1914 von Mörk was murdered in World War I, and an ash box is in a recess in the cave.

The Ice Cave is now in the possession of the Austrian Forest Commission (de), which has rented it to the Salzburg Caving Society since 1928. Forestry Commission continues to receive a royalty rate. It is open every year from 1 May to 26 October. The temperature in the cave is usually below zero, we recommend wearing hot clothes.

Photographing is not allowed when the visitor is in the cave. From the cave entry, the walk leads inward to Posselt Hall, a large room with a stalagmit in the middle named Posselt Tower. Passing the Posselturm you come across an ash grey crucifix on the cave face, which marks the most distant point of Anton Posselt's investigation.

You can see the Great Wall, a huge formations that reaches a maximum of 25 meters and is the area with the highest snowfall. We continue to Alexander von Mörk Cathedral, one of the biggest rooms of the cave and the last place of rest of the Mörk ash.

At the last stop of the route is the Ice Palace, one kilometer into the cave and 400 meters below ground. At this point, the visitor has to turn around and go back through the cave to get to the door. This cave cruise lasts about one hours and 15 min.

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