Mönchsbergaufzug Lift

The Mönchsbergaufzug is a lift that connects the Anton-Neumayr-Platz on the ground level of the Altstadt with the Museum der Moderne on the Mönchsberg hill. It is operated by the same company that runs the city busses of Salzburg. The history of the Mönchsbergaufzug dates back to the late 19th century, when new technologies such as electric engines met both entrepreneurial spirit and abundant capital. In this specific case, it was the private banker Karl Leitner, who ran the first electric power plant in Salzburg.

It was his idea to use the electricity for an elevator to transport mainly tourists between the Altstadt and the hills. In 1889, he purchased a building in the Gstättengasse and had the lift built until 1890. This first Mönchsbergaufzug was 60 metres high and a real innovation - at its time the highest lift in Europe. Almost instantly, the Mönchsbergaufzug became a major tourist attraction. The lift, which was built along the flank of the Mönchsberg hill (not like the current one, which is built in a tunnel inside the rock) could transport up to 12 people at a time; the speed of the lift was 50 centimetres per second.

The lift was powered by batteries, which were charged during the day, when no electricity was needed for illumination. When the Café Winkler on the Mönchsberg (at the site of today′s Museum of Modern Art) was rebuilt in 1947, a tunnel was built for the Mönchsberglift. The new lift had three booths for eight people each. It remained a highly popular attraction, with some 70.000 people using the lift in August of 1948 alone.

However, the significance of the lift did not climax until the opening of a casino in the building of Café Winkler in 1977. The lift was modernised again in 1987. In 1993, the casino moved to Schloss Klessheim in Wals-Siezenheim; and in 2001, Café Winkler closed down. The significance of the Mönchsberg Aufzug dropped for a while, but recovered after the opening of the museum. Today, the Mönchsbergaufzug has some 1.3 million passengers a year and can transport up to 1260 people per hour and direction.

Further Reading

Mönchsbergaufzug, official website

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