As you take a stroll along the town center of Rauris, you sense the history of gold mining everywhere. If the historic houses you walk by could talk - they would certainly have much to tell: the Voglmaierhaus, for example, built during the heyday of gold mining and today the home of Rauris village hall; or the Verweserhaus, where the mine headquarters were once located; and of course the Bruderhaus, which used to serve as kind of retirement home and "almshouse" ...
The responsibility of the "Bader" was to provide medical care to the locals. They were the ones, for example, who took care of miners after an accident, who looked after the sick and ailing. But because their work wasn’t particularly profitable, they were also granted a barber’s license, entitling them to cut hair and trim beards. This explains why the region’s hairdressers continue to depict a blood-letting bowl on their business signs to this very day.
Since 1663, the owners of this house have held the right to brew and sell beer. This right is tied to ownership of the property itself. In 1803, Rauriser Bräu acquired from the prince archbishops the additional right to sell their own beer during the summer months of June, July and August to other local inns. The Bräu has been owned by the Hofmann-Hutter family since 1886.
According to the founding deeds of 1743, this location had served as a kind of “old people’s asylum and almshouse” since the 16th century. The "sick and ailing" who came to the Bruderhaus were provided with sufficient assistance that they were not compelled to go begging. It was here in 1928 that the first "Konsumladen”, a cooperative shop, was established. Particularly noteworthy: the lovingly kept garden at the Bruderhaus.
Wolfgang Puntschuech was, according to parish records from 1490, the first owner of this house built in the 15th century. In the Peasant Revolts of 1525/26, the "Bundschuh" was very much a rallying point for the peasants who were rising up against their “lords and masters”. During its storied history the building has had 32 owners, with the Rasser family owning the newly built house since 1967.
The "Kapelle auf der Hohen Ainaten" was built in 1530, rebuilt in 1730 and expanded in 1801. Standing on the Old Bucheben Road, this chapel is consecrated to Saints Sebastian and Hubertus, the latter being the patron saint of hunters, and is maintained by the Rauris’ hunting society. An endowment from the "Veitbauer" farm transferred ownership of the chapel to the Parish of Rauris in 2012.
Built in the 16th century, the Fronbothaus was the home of probably the most unpopular official in Rauris Valley: the sheriff or "Fronbote". He was the one who tracked down miscreants, had them prosecuted and locked them away in prison. The sheriff was only permitted to marry a woman from amongst the daughters of his peers.
A "Brechlbad" was located here in the Late Middle Ages and at the beginning of the modern era. Grown for personal use, flax would be retted, dried, and then threshed with the aid of so-called "Brecheln", making it possible to extract linen fibers. The intensive steps needed to process flax created hot, humid air that also happened to be especially good for the body. As a consequence, the "Brechlbad" was often and readily used as a type of “farmer’s sweat bath”, that is to say a sauna or steam bath.
The Gegenschreiber was an official in the service of the Mine Office and was responsible for maintaining the "Berggegenbuch" or mine register. The Gegenschreiber lived in this house originally built in 1493. From 1881 to 1974, it was also home of the Rauris post office. Ignaz Rojacher served as postmaster here between 1888 and 1891. Since 1967, the Gegenschreiberhaus has been owned by the Groder family.
The Gorihäusl was built in 1375 and was the home of the Bader, who was responsible for providing medical care to miners. The Bader also had the right to offer his patients a place to sleep in this house, making more extended treatments possible. In 1800, a permit was issued for a carpenter’s shop and a saddlery was housed here as well. For 42 years during the last century, a tobacconist’s was also run at this location.
The Grabenmühle, also known as the Gaisbachmühle, was first chronicled in 1799. It was a so-called "toll mill" - a mill where the farmers would pay to have their grain milled and purchase grain products. Unlike the toll mill, at a so-called "Gmachmühle" the farmers had the right to mill their own grain. The Grabenmühle featured three gears, allowing production of flour of particularly fine quality.
Built in 1389, this house was the seat of provincial judges Karl and Adam von Grimming between 1650 and 1657. The Grimming family played a significant role in Rauris and Gastein. In 1706, the devastating fire which broke out in the kitchen of then owner, Josef Vogl, destroyed the church, St. Michael’s Chapel, the school and Mesnerhaus, the parsonage and 39 other buildings. Wooden houses were burned to the ground, while the masonry of some brick buildings, such as the Voglmaierhaus opposite, could in some cases be saved. Since 1780, the Grimminghaus has been owned by the Langreiter family, and run as an inn since 1880.
The Landrichterhaus was built in 1562 under Archbishop Johann Jacob Khuen von Belasy. The Landrichterhaus was the official seat of the provincial judge, or “Landrichter”, the highest civilian authority in governmental and legal matters. Wilhelm Ritter von Arlt, a driving force behind the gold-mining industry as well as Sonnblick Observatory, and a pioneer of ski touring, purchased the Landrichterhaus in 1900.
At the Lebensorghaus we discover a large vaulted cellar, leading to the conclusion that, in the days when this was a thriving trade route, it once served as a transshipment warehouse. The Lebensorghaus looks back on a storied history and many different roles: saddlery, home of the Märtlwirt and Maschtl - or Möschlhaus, the Hinterpichlerhaus, the old schoolhouse and museum. The house (as the "Märtlwirt") also acquired a license to tap and sell beer. In 1886, the community purchased the Lebensorghaus and used it until 1967 as a schoolhouse, since the Mesnerhaus – its predecessor – had become too small. Since 1967, the Rauris Valley Museum has made its home here: In 14 exhibition rooms, visitors gain fascinating insights into local history, gold mining and life in Rauris Valley.
The market square is a forum-like design and has always served as a focal point for community life. It is presumed that the right cemetery entrance was once the site of the Gerichtslaube, a simple wooden platform from where the judge or his “scribe” would proclaim the latest decrees of the archbishop, who was ruler over all of these lands in those days. Proclamations continued to the modern day – though from a window of the Platzwirt, later also from the "Verweserhaus" – until, after World War II, community announcements were read out loud by village officials after church. When the sound of traffic eventually grew too loud, the village notice board replaced those personal announcements ...
The old Mesnerhaus by the church was built in 1310, expanded in 1600 and, after the big fire that broke out at the Grimming in 1706, completely rebuilt. The Mesnerhaus initially served as a home for priests, after which it was used as a schoolhouse until the end of the 19th century, at which point school classes were moved to the Lebensorghaus. Between 1950 and 1960, the parish ran a cinema at the Mesnerhaus. Today, popular food markets are still held at the old Mesnerhaus whenever the weather is bad outside.
St. Michael’s Chapel was built in 1203, later reconstructed from 1490 to 1495 at the instigation of local mine owners. At that time, the chapel served as a burial church for the people of Rauris as well as gold miners working at Kolm Saigurn valley head. The devastating Grimming fire also destroyed St. Michael’s Chapel in 1706, though it was rebuilt in 1709. In 1849, the Lourdes Grotto was installed featuring a quartz monstrance donated by Ignaz Rojacher, having originally had it made for his wife. The building underwent a complete restoration in 2006, still continuing to serve as a church and chapel of rest.
The Neuwirt was built in the 16th century and consists of two buildings: the "Stockerau" (farmhouse and garden) and the "Weinrathäusl" (garden, stables and baths). It was apparently the first completely brick house, featuring a stove for cooking and a so-called "Gesöterofen". From 1775, it was inn- and shopkeepers who mainly made their homes here. From the time that Johann Gerstgrasser, then owner of the Stockerhaus, also bought the Weinrathäusl in 1842, both buildings have always been under single ownership. Since 1889, the Neuwirt has been owned by 5 generations of the same family.
The first owners of the Obermaierhof appear in 1650. A "Maierhof" was a seigniorial farming estate, 2 to 3 "Huben" (farm, work buildings) in size. The name "Obermaierhof" shows that this farm resulted from a property having been subdivided. Residents of the Obermaierhof included Mathias Pelzer, surgeon and the last “Bader” in Rauris (purchased 1835). Pelzer was the first to have an academic education and entitled to call himself a doctor. He lived and worked in Rauris from 1849 to 1896, thus earning himself the Silver Cross of Merit.
Ca. 900 A.D., the first church was built here; a small, brick, rectangular structure. This Romanesque church was first chronicled in 1354, while in 1400 it was almost completely rebuilt – featuring two towers in Gothic style. A subsequent remodeling took place in 1516, including a re-consecration and building of a west tower. After the big fire of 1706, the south and north towers were demolished, with renovation of the church concluded in 1709. In 1789, Rauris’ church, which locals proudly refer to as the “Pinzgau Cathedral”, was given the distinctive appearance we recognize today.
This medieval building with a Gothic ogee-shaped entranceway and Biedermeier doors was built in the 16th century. Between 1750 and 1800, the Stauferhaus, known then as the Reiterwirt, held a license to tap and serve beer.
Built in 1559, the Triglerhaus was used from 1740 to 1886 as a malt house, in other words, as a warehouse used by the brewery. The malt house formed a single unit with the bakery building, and is consequently referred to on occasion as the "Kappelmacherhaus". The Trigler family, who owned the Triglerhaus from 1930, used it as their home and business. For many years now, the house has been owned in equal part by the Schwienbacher and Berger families.
The Verweserhaus was built in the 16th century. A “Verweser” was an administrator, actually the most senior official overseeing operations and business at the mine. His post came with housing. Until 1825, the mine administration offices were housed at the Verweserhaus, and later it was dedicated to "Rauris Commerce". In addition to commerce in general, the latter also saw to it that miners were supplied with the food and tools they needed. Beginning in 1881, it was transformed into a department store, and under the Trauner family became the biggest shop in Rauris.
The Vikariatshaus, that is to say the parsonage, which was built in the year 1600, was also destroyed in the 1706 fire which broke out at the Grimming. The new building was completed in 1709. From 1848, it served as a rectory, providing apartments for two priests. Since 1938, the house has continued to be a home for one clergyman.
This roughcast stone building was built during the heyday of gold mining in the first half of the 16th century, in 1541. Owners at that time were members of the Zott family, an influential, aristocratic mine-owning dynasty, whose economic might was reflected in this magnificent building. Until the 18th century, the house continued to be known as the "Zottenschlössl". The name "Voglmaierhaus" dates from the 17th century, when the Voglmayr family acquired ownership of the building. Members of this family, with roots in Schwaz, Tyrol, were powerful judges. After the Voglmayr family, the Ainkhäs family bought the house - Franz Ainkhäs earned his money as a court clerk and tax collector in Taxenbach, in the service of the archbishops. After the great fire of 1706, the house had to be repaired at considerable financial cost, with ownership afterwards transferring to a farm. For some 100 years now, the Voglmaierhaus has belonged to the village of Rauris, during which time it has served as a home for the poor and as a school. Since 1938, it has been the location of Rauris village hall.
This customs office, dating back to the days when Rauris was on a thriving trade route, was built in the 14th and 15th centuries. A Weinschreiber (essentially a tax clerk) was responsible for overseeing sales duties paid on wine, beer and schnapps. He registered new businesses and collected the taxes. In general, this post was held by a retired constable. The route through Rauris’ Seidlwinkltal, the valley of pilgrims and traveling merchants, was at that time one of the region’s most important trade arteries, kept open and safe by the traveling wine merchants who used the paths almost continuously.
Sources: "Das Raurisertal - Der Markt. Häusergeschichten" by Margit Gruber, Eigenverlag and "Auf dem Weg zum Hohen Sonnblick" by Erika Scherer, Rupertusverlag.