Kaprun - Austria

Kaprun - Austria

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Photo by: Martin & Rafael Gold
Kaprun is a municipality in the Zell am See District in the state of Salzburg, Austria. The town is an important tourist destination known as "Zell am See-Kaprun" with the neighboring Zell am See and well known for the glacier Kitzsteinhorn.
A Chataprunnin (derived from Celtic for "whitewater") settlement in the Duchy of Bavaria was first mentioned in a 931 deed, documented as a possession held by the Counts of Falkenstein in 1166. Chaprunne Castle was acquired by the Prince-Archbishops of Salzburg in 1287 and enfeoffed to the Lords of Felben in 1338. Seat of a Salzburg burgrave from 1480, it was devastated during the 1526 German Peasants' War. In 1606 Archbishop Wolf Dietrich Raitenau had the local burgrave beheaded for siding with local insurgents. In the early 20th century the castle was a possession of Prince Johann II of Liechtenstein, who sold it in 1921.
Kaprun Castle
Kaprun Juli 1903

In the late 1920s the German AEG company and the Salzburg state government developed plans for a Hohe Tauern hydroelectricity power plant, including two reservoirs in the Kaprun Valley. Planning discontinued during the Great Depression and was not resumed until the Austrian Anschluss to Nazi Germany in 1938. At the behest of Hermann Göring, construction began during World War II by Jewish forced labourers and prisoners of war from Belgium and other occupied countries. The inhumane conditions were depicted by nobel laureate Elfriede Jelinek in her 2003 play Das Werk.

Works ceased in 1942/43, the erection was finished after the war by Allied-occupied Austria from 1947 onwards. Built with Bucyrus equipment and massive help from the Marshall Plan European Recovery Program, the power plant became an icon of post-war reconstruction. The topping out ceremony was held on 23 September 1955, a few months after the signing of the Austrian State Treaty.