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Would you like to experience something extraordinary during your holiday in the Salzkammergut? Go on the trail of George Clooney's Hollywood blockbuster "The Monuments Men" and learn more about a long forgotten art robbery? Then the special tour through the Altausseer salt mine is just for you.
The greatest collection of art treasures ever, hidden in a mountain! Adolf Hitler's personal “Fuehrermuseum”, the items of which had been stolen or purchased across all of conquered Europe, was hidden in the Altaussee salt mine for safety. You can visit the exact spot where masterpieces by Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the famous Ghent Altarpiece by the Van Eyck brothers were hidden in the long corridors of the salt mine, and learn how this collection, which would have put the Louvre in Paris in the shade, was saved at the last moment. Explore the salt halls and discover the original racks and boxes in which some of the most important works in art history survived the last days of the Second World War. Going beyond the memory of Michelangelo's Madonna and Leonardo's Lady with the Ermine, "Bombs on Michelangelo", the new guided tour of Altaussee Salt Mine, is the story of the crazy plan devised by a Nazi-Gauleiter to blow up these art treasures.
Huge aeroplane bombs were placed amongst the art works, with the purpose of destroying the entire collection. Even today you can see one in the old "Springerwerk". An original US bomb has been returned to one of the boxes that the Gauleiter ordered to be carried into the mine.A short film tells you the story of how and where the insane "Operation Fuehrermuseum” started and why it ended up in the tunnels of Altaussee salt mine. You will learn, in a chapel in the heart of the mountain, about the properties of salt, which protected the works of art from decay, and what chance led Austrian art experts to discover these forces. In the heart of the mountain you will find out the logistical operations Hitler personally set in motion to turn the salt mine into an underground store while the Third Reich was falling apart.
A multimedia show in the middle of the store returns those dramatic days to life, from the bombing of German and Austrian towns to the bombs in the tunnels. In the amphitheatre deep inside the mountain, a presentation is given about the men who played the leading roles in this last-minute rescue: the simple miner and the SS general who chose to save the artworks. Period photographs and illustrations show how the miners of Altaussee instigated one of the most praiseworthy chapters in the last days of the war, in a demonstration of courage and a will to resist, and with the assistance of some unexpected allies. The true story is much more exciting than the version George Clooney and Hollywood produced in Monuments Men. The adventurous rescue of the art treasures of Altaussee is brought to life in this special tour: directly on the spot inside the mountain, among the boxes in which perhaps even the Mona Lisa was stored, in sight of the bombs primed to destroy them all.