A museum of a different kind: Art on the mountain

A museum of a different kind: Art on the mountain


Come and join us on a discovery tour!

An oversized table, pyramids made of wood, traces chiselled by hand into the stone: When hiking on the Schmittenhöhe, you are also venturing into a unique open-air art gallery.

What do you imagine when you think of art exhibitions? Big museums and long corridors full of paintings? On the Schmittenhöhe, art is presented in a rather different way: Europe's largest open-air art gallery has been established here, in the great outdoors and with a view of Lake Zell and the surrounding peaks, in 1995. More than 27 oversized sculptures on 18 hectares have found their permanent place on the mountain, inviting visitors of all ages to take inspiring walks, to marvel and admire. The sculptures are made almost entirely of natural, regional materials such as wood, stone, and clay, and remain exposed to wind and weather day after day: as silent observers, they have become part of the natural landscape.  

Schmittenhöhebahn | © Art on the mountain
Per Arbore ad Astra by Matilde Grau, Spain, 2012
Schmittenhöhebahn | © Art on the mountain
The Holzstoss by Helmut Machhammer, Austria, 2001
Schmittenhöhebahn | © Art on the mountain
The Genmanipulation by Max M. Seibald, Austria, 1995
Gallery between piste and forest

Since 1995, renowned sculptors from Austria, Germany, Spain and Italy have been invited to six art symposia so far. Together they have created this exciting open-air art gallery. Initially, it was mainly wooden sculptures that had been placed next to pistes and hiking trails - such as the table and chair sculptures by Michael Printschler entitled "Kommunikation 2000", or the work "Opfertisch oder ein Halleluja" by Max M. Seibald on the Sonnkogel. 

Schmittenhöhebahn | © Art on the mountain
Kommunikation 2000 by Michael Printschler, Austria, 1995

In addition to natural materials, recycled materials were also used in subsequent symposia: e.g., the "Seilbrunnen" sculpture by the Italian artists Erika Inger and Wolfgang Wohlfahrt, for which they utilised about 1,600 metres of used steel cables from the Schmittenhöhebahn AG.

One of the most exciting aspects of the works is that the artists are quite critical of human influence on nature: this can be seen, for example, in the work of Anno Sieberts, who created "Spuren - Traces" in stone in 2012. He chisels our views of the landscape into the stone, and thus makes it comprehensible what happens to the mountain world, and what traces we humans leave behind.

Schmittenhöhebahn | © Art on the mountain
The Seilbrunnen by Erika Inger and Wolfgang Wohlfahrt, Italy, 2011
Schmittenhöhebahn | © Art on the mountain
The Spuren-Traces by Anno Sieberts, Germany, 2012

Max M. Seibald also pursued a similar concept in 2015, creating another work of art on the mountain entitled "Funghi per tutti". Here he realistically recreated mushrooms, appealing for a mindful approach to nature.

Experience art on the mountain: Hiking tip for the whole family

The vast area is best be explored on foot during a visit to Zell's local mountain. All you need is a little time: then you can wander attentively through nature and come across new works of art time and again.

The 4 Lakes Hiking Tour runs through the landscape like a red thread: this route leads you through the open-air art gallery high above Zell am See-Kaprun. It is best to use the Schmittenhöhebahn or the trassXpress for a relaxed ascent to 2,000 metres above sea level. From the upper terminus, the trail leads gently downhill to the upper terminus of the cityXpress at 1,325 metres. Keep your eyes open along the way and plan enough time to admire the works of art from all sides! There are also reservoirs and numerous rest and play areas along the way. This makes the art experience an excursion for the whole family.

Have fun!

 Hiking holidays with the family on the Schmittenhöhe | © Schmittenhöhe