Knappensteig Adventure Tour – Exploring the Celtic and salt mining history of Hallein

General information

Domain: Archaeology (Celtic and salt mining history)
Title: Knappensteig Adventure Tour
Launch: 2010
Country: Austria

Project focus

The Knappensteig Adventure Tour is a virtual tour guide that introduces visitors to the Celtic and salt mining history of Hallein, a small historic town in the province of Salzburg. The tour guide presents historical points of interest in the town and especially the miners’ trail (Knappensteig) which leads up to the Dürrnberg mountain where Celtic people used to mine salt from around 600 BC. It also serves as an entry point to the Celtic Museum in Hallein that presents objects which were excavated at the Dürrnberg and found in the salt mine. The Hallein Salt Mine was a major economic factor in the region until the production was stopped in 1989; in 1994 an underground visitors’ route was opened and developed into a tourist attraction (Salzwelten).



The Knappensteig Adventure Tour was initiated by the Tourism Association Hallein as part of a larger development programme aimed at revitalising the historic miners’ trail (Knappensteig) up to the salt mine on the Dürrnberg mountain. The Tourism Association was also the project leader as well as provided content for the virtual tour guide. Salzburg Research was responsible for the concept of the guide and co-ordinated the collection and integration of content into the mobile application.

The Celtic Museum Hallein provided most of the content as well as educational expertise for the application. Furthermore content was provided by Salzwelten, the organisation that manages the former mining shafts at the Dürrnberg (now a mining theme park) and the Celtic Village, a small open-air museum on Celtic history. Nous Wissensmanagement (Vienna) designed the user interface of the virtual tour guide and programmed the mobile app for iOS-based smartphones.

Financing / funding

The Knappensteig Adventure Tour is the result of a co-funded regional EU LEADER project, which was conducted between 2009 and 2010. Fifty per cent of the costs were publicly funded, while the other part was covered by the Hallein Tourism Association. The project was part of a larger development programme which also included physical repair works along the miners’ trail.

Content & IPR / licensing

The mobile application presents content on Celtic life in the area, the miners’ trail, the historic mine, and especially introduces visitors to the Celtic Museum in Hallein. Furthermore several points of interest in the historic town and the local Silent Night Museum are included. The tour is presented in the form of an ongoing narrative told by a runaway siskin which, according to legend, belonged to the wife of a former mayor of Hallein. The story is narrated by professional English and German speakers.

The content of the virtual tour guide has been provided by the Celtic Museum and, to lesser extent, by the Tourism Association Hallein and Salzwelten. Many of the Celtic finds exhibited in the museum are featured in the guide, thereby providing a teaser for visiting the museum in Hallein. The guide includes texts, historical images, audio and video clips. As it addresses domestic and international visitors, the narrative and descriptive content is available in German and English. While the guide can be downloaded for free via the Apple iTunes Store, the copyrights of the content are held by the respective providers.

Technologies used / innovative features

The virtual tour guide is an application for iOS-based mobile devices such as Apple iPhones and iPads (a version running on Android or Windows devices is currently not available). Special features of the tour guide include the narrated storyline, the rich content which covers the local archaeological as well as historical highlights, and interactive quizzes through which users can test what they learned on the tour.

One of the reasons for offering the tour guide as a downloadable app instead of a Web-based (HTML 5) application was the geographic proximity to Germany, i.e. avoiding possible high roaming costs if accidentally accessing a German network. Mobiles with the app pre-installed can be borrowed at the Tourism Association Hallein.

Target users

The Knappensteig Adventure Tour guide addresses domestic and international visitors, therefore the tour is presented in both German and English. As the main target users are younger people and families, the content has been tailored accordingly, i.e. featuring easily understandable language, short sentences, and a siskin as first-person narrator and tour guide.

Lessons learned

Cooperation: A major success factor of the project has been involving all relevant stakeholders and establishing an effective division of labor with clear responsibilities for particular tasks. This helped considerably in producing the virtual tour guide with a rather small budget.

Content: Also an important factor has been that the project coordinator worked closely with the content providers so that the most appropriate content for the application could be selected early on in the project.

Technologies used / innovative features: The project had to strike a balance between being innovative, with regards to the story-telling approach for instance, while using a proven technological platform.

Sources and links