National Park "Hohe Tauern"

Date of Submission: 11/02/2003
Criteria: (vii)(viii)(ix)(x)
Category: Natural
Submitted by:
Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Culture
State, Province or Region:
Federal provinces of Carinthia, Salzburg and the Tyrol
Ref.: 1645


The area of the core zone of the Hohe Tauern National Park is one of Central Europe's last post-glacial primary landscapes within the geologically unique formation of the "Tauernfenster", a huge tectonic window which gives insight to the deepest tectonic layer of the Eastern Alps. Covering an area of about 900 km2 (out of which 15% are glaciated offering a complete -inventory of glacial landscape features) in the border area of the federal provinces of Carinthia, Salzburg and the Tyrol, the whole national park is a vast, on the whole unspoilt natural landscape reaching from an altitude of 1 000m in the valleys to a height of the peaks well over 3000m above sea level including Austria's highest mountain, the Grossglockner (3.798m), Due to its geological and geo-morphological diversity, its bio-diversity as well as on account of the ecological and evolutionary processes constantly taking place here, the area is of exceptional universal value. Its diverse ecological conditions offer a living space to characteristic plant and anima: I communities including a number of highly specialized or endemic alpine species.

The marvellous beauty of landscape and the exceptional diversity of species of the core zone is complemented by the correlation with the sustainably and traditionally cultivated landscape of the alpine pastures in the buffer zone.

The mountain pass in this are6 was a historic trail across the Alps since the 2" millenium b.C. with rich cultural evidence. When the transalpine trade for different socioeconomic reasons began to cease in the 18th century, the scientific interest in the exploration of the Alps rose, followed by an increasing alpine tourism in the late 19th and in the early 20th century.

This development culminated in the construction of the Grossglockner High Alpine Road in the 1930ies which is not just an imposing pioneer road construction but serves its visitors as a medium through which a variety of landscapes are made accessibly. The aim of its designer was primarily to make the visitors experience a succession of landscape sequences as in a film taking in account detours which make the road to appear more an element which actually characterises landscape. Therefore this road owes its exceptional universal value to the unique sum of the various values from the realms of aesthetics, technology, culture and nature. In addition the Grossglockner High Alpine Road gains exceptional value as an historic monument of motoring, i.e. the development of the car is becoming a constituent part of modern civiilisation and its use for tourism.