The medieval Thurnhaus tower
The Thurnhaus used to be a frontier post at the Western border of the Prince-Archbishopric of Salzburg, below the Grießen Pass. This medieval residential and defence tower from the 12th century was later used as a granary by the miners. It is now home to medieval collections of international standing.
In Hütten, where the Mining and Gothic Museum Leogang is located, the Leogang Valley is very narrow and thus easily controllable. Therefore, the Thurnhaus was erect in this place. The tower used to mark Salzburg’s border to what was Bavaria until 1504 and then the Tyrol (part of the Habsburg Monarchy) after 1504.
In the Middle Ages, mining flourished in Leogang. Initially, the extracted ore was brought to Schladming in Styria and later to the newly erect smeltery between Thurnhaus and Administrator House. Since the local farmers only grew grain for their own use, the Archbishop Sigismund of Schrattenbach had the Thurnhaus converted into a granary to cater for the miners.
In 1593, the Administrator House at Hütten 10 was rebuilt. 100 years later, the Thurnhaus was extended by an annex on the north side of the tower to house the administrator. On the east side, a new farm annex with stables and barn was added.
As Salzburg lost its independence and its mines were closed, the Thurnhaus passed into private ownership. For a long time, it belonged to the Dschulnigg family, who also operated the forge opposite the Hüttwirt tavern. Then the Schmuck family of the Forsthofgut inherited the tower. In 1973, Josef and Anna Danzl bought the Thurnhaus and converted it into five holiday homes.
In 2013, the Leogang Mining Museum Association bought the imposing historical building with the help of generous donors. Taking monumental preservation into account, the tower was carefully renovated from September 2017 to December 2018. An underground passageway now links the Thurnhaus to the original museum building, the Administrator House. The museum’s new main entrance is on the south side of the Thurnhaus, which is fully accessible due to a lift.