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Lost Places in Austria

6. July 2020, EXPLORE, GENERAL

There is something fascinating about discovering an abandoned place, whether it be an old bunker, deserted factory, out of service train station or the remains of an old castle. So much so, that it has become a hobby for some and is now a days referred to as “Urban Exploring”.

Some people do it to appreciate the architecture, some people do it to witness and document a part of history and some do it for the thrill of the ride. Chances are, you’ve probably stumbled into an abandoned building or structure at some point yourself.

There are, however, some things that should be considered when Urban Exploring:

1. Trespassing – Most properties, though abandoned, will still belong to someone and there can be consequences for trespassing. At best, receive permission to be present and clarify your intentions to avoid any issues.

2. Behaviour – Even urban exploring comes with a sort of ‘ethical code’, in which you are expected to behave respectfully. As you would in a natural preserve and as often stated on big signs: “take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints”. This includes the destruction of any objects or defamation through graffiti.

3. Safety – Some abandoned places have been left to deteriorate and decay over many years, which can become a safety hazard. When exploring, do so with caution by making informed decisions and ensure that you have a buddy with you. Never enter a structure that seems unstable.

4. Dress – Depending on where you will be exploring, your dress code may slightly differ. However, it is generally safer to wear long sleeved shirts and pants and secure shoes. Flip Flops for instance, are certainly a no-go.

Feichtenbach Sanatorium- Pernitz, Lower Austria

In 1904, what originally was a sanatorium used to treat patients suffering from tuberculosis, came under the occupation of the Nazis in 1938 and was handed over to the association Lebensborn. In 1945, it was made into a children’s home, then a recreational home for retirees and finally, a hotel which went out of business in 2002.

Hallenbad- Laßnitzhöhe, Styria

In 1974, shortly before the wellness-center was to be completed, the private financier ran out of money to complete the interior of the project and the place was left abandoned and is still being unused today.

Kongresshaus Bad Gastein- Bad Gastein, Salzburg

After being built in 1974, the congress center has been left dormant since 2007. It can be found perched on a hill and featuring prominent architecture by Gerhard Garstenauer, who won an architectural prize for the project in 1975.

Lungenheilstätte Hirschenstein- Hirschtein, Burgenland

What began as a former sanatorium for lung patients in 1955 became a care home, which has now stood empty since 2012. Due to increased incidents of vandalism and robbery, the area is now under video surveillance. What is to be done with the building, remains undecided by the current owners and company: KRAGES, a medical institution.

Schutzhaus Semmering- Semmering, Styria

This previous guesthouse is featured on several online blogs or websites related to ‘Urban Exploring’. Other than the fact that it offered shelter and food to wanderers and is now falling apart so much that it is considered unsafe, there doesn’t seem to be much more information available.

For whatever reason places get ‘lost’, there is always an interesting story awaiting to be told! Have you been to any of the abovementioned places?

Roman Peter


Best Operator 2020