Intangible Cultural Heritage in Austria

Mining culture in Bleiberg

Applicant: Bergmännischer Kulturverein und Marktgemeinde Bad Bleiberg
Province: Carinthia
Domain: Social Practices
Year of inclusion: 2010

For centuries, coal mining constituted the economic basis of life for the inhabitants of Bad Bleiberg. Even though the mine in Bad Bleiberg (Carinthia) has been closed since 1992, numerous initiatives try hard to safeguard and transfer the traditions passed down by the “Knappenkultur”: the miners’ language, sloping tunnels, “Knappenspiel” (a form of theatre play performed in mines), “Ledersprung” and the Saint Barbara mass (both in honour of the miners’ patron). Traces of this culture can be found in house and field names, the performing arts and throughout society.

The basis for the safeguarding and fostering of this cultural asset involves the following facilities or institutions: the show mine “Terra Mystica”, which has been expanded with the “Terra Montana”, and which introduces its visitors to mine work and mining techniques. The Miners’ Cultural Society (“Bergmännischer Kulturverein”) was founded in 1988 and comprises a variety of private initiatives regarding the safeguarding of the sloping tunnels.

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