Heiligenblut

Heiligenblut

Heiligenblut [Ger.,=holy blood], village, Carinthia prov., SW Austria, at the foot of the Grossglockner. It is a winter sports and mountain-climbing center. Heiligenblut is a famous place of pilgrimage; in its Gothic church (late 15th cent.) is a vial that, according to tradition, contains some of Christ's blood.

Heiligenblut (meaning holy blood) is a municipality in the district of Spittal an der Drau in the Austrian state of Carinthia. Situated in the high-Alpine region of the Hohe Tauern mountain range at 1,288 meters, Heiligenblut is located at the foot of the Großglockner, the highest mountain in Austria, and the Pasterze Glacier. It is also the southern starting point of the scenic Großglockner Hochalpenstraße to Bruck in Salzburg, the continuation of the highway B107 from Lienz in East Tyrol. The municipality of Heiligenblut includes the Katastralgemeinden of Apriach, Hof, Rojach and Zlapp.

The Gothic pilgrimage church of Saint Vinzenz, with its needle spire, was built between 1460-1491 and contains a relic of Christ’s Holy Blood. According to legend the relic, which is kept in a sacrament house, was brought here in 914 from Constantinople by the Danish knight Briccius. On his way home he was buried by an avalanche and his corpse was found where three ears of wheat broke through the snow (see the coat of arms). The church also houses a late-Gothic winged altarpiece from 1520, and a crypt and tomb containing the remains of Briccius.

Once a gold mining area from ancient history to the Middle Ages, Heiligenblut nowadays chiefly is a tourism and mountaineering resort. Nearby attractions include the Heiligenblut-Roßbach-Schareck cable car (2,606 m), an open-air museum, the Stockmühlen mills in Apriach with nine flume mills, Lake Kachelsee to the west, the Möll waterfalls, the Gößnitz waterfalls, the Leiter waterfalls, the Margaritzen reservoir, and Lake Sandersee.

The construction of the nearby railway tunnel to the Fleißalm mountain area (1,798 m) is unique in Europe. The 1.6-kilometer long tunnel is filled with water during the summer but serves as a railway tunnel leading to the Fleißalm winter sports region in winter.

Twin towns

Literature

Kaufmann, J.: Örtliche Entwicklung und Ortsbild der Gemeinde Heiligenblut am Großglockner (master's thesis), Vienna, 1984.

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