Elisabeth chapel - in the footsteps of the Empress

Empress Elisabeth visits Zell am See

On 7 August 1885 at 8:00 p.m., Empress Elisabeth, fondly known to posterity as Sisi, arrived in Zell am See on a special Imperial train. She stayed at Hotel Elisabeth, which no longer exists. Before the construction of the Schmittenhöhebahn, guests were carted up to the Schmittenhöhe over a bridle path in a horse-drawn coach. Elisabeth didn’t wish to be transported in such a fashion, so on 9 August 1885, she departed with mountain guide Anton Ullman of Zell am See at 1:00 a.m. and hiked up to the Schmittenhöhe to view the glorious sunrise.
Along a moderately steep bridle path, the ascent ordinarily took approximately 3 hours. Elisabeth, avid mountaineer that she was, completed the ascent in just 2 hours and 16 minutes. Sisi was an ardent sports lover, keeping fit and slender through hiking, horse-back riding and fencing.
During her visit to Zell am See, a excursion cruise on the steamboat “Stephanie“ was also on the agenda. She savoured the sweeping 360° views of the mountain peaks and the city.

The Elisabeth Chapel at Schmittenhöhe in Zell am See

Planned during 1904/05 by supporters Carl and Emilie Haschke as a memorial chapel to Empress Elisabeth according to designs by architect Josef Wessiken of Salzburg. Under the supervision of Jakob Menis of Zell am See, a carpenter and a mason (Strassg-schwandtner and Herzog) both hailing from Zell am See, then built the Sisi Chapel.
On 10 September 1908, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the death of Empress Elisabeth, Dr. Johannes Baptist Katschtaler, Archbishop from 1832 to 1914, consecrated the chapel. There is still a personal souvenir of Empress Elisabeth to the left of the altar.
Until its sale to Agricultural Association and Zell Forest Association in 1984, it was part of the hotel property on the Schmittenhöhe. Its last proprietor was Franz Gramshammer, a hotel owner in Zell am See (Grand Hotel).


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