History of the Salzburger Saalachtal
Unken: size 110 sq km, population: 1950
Districts: Niederland, Unken, Sonnberg Gföll, Heutal, Reith, Unkenberg
Lofer: size: 55 sq km, population: 2000
Districts: Lofer, Scheffsnoth, Au, Hallenstein, Mayrberg, Faistau
St. Martin: size: 63 sq km, population 1130
Districts: Gumping, Obsthurn, St. Martin, Maria Kirchental, Wildental
Weißbach: size: 69 km ², population 444
Districts: Oberweißbach, Unterweißenbach, Frohnwies, Hintertal, Pürzlbach
The area of the 4 parishes Lofer, St. Martin, Unken and Weißbach was called "Lover" starting from acquisition of the land by the Bavarians in the 7th / 8th Century. This name was adopted by the charter of King Henry VII of 18/08/1228 and thus survived.
Amidst this archbishopric lies the valley Lofer - St.Martin. The main settlement "Lofer" later called St. Martin was situated between the bog and the pass Luftenstein. Here stood the "turris lover" - the castle at Pass Luftenstein and the old chapel and later church of St. Martin. The names of a priest "Henrico " and of a lord of the castle “Pero to Lover”, who lived in the 'Burg ze Louftenstein as a secular ruler are recorded in a document from 1190. As of 1228, the Archbishop of Salzburg appointed a “Pfleger” (carer) for the district of Lofer, who had to take care of all secular affairs. Economic advancement, trade, transport and craftsmanship caused the Prince-Archbishop to grant his "Pfleg Lofer" the status of a market. The oldest document of this dates only from 1473, since all documents older than that were destroyed in the fire of 1367. In the 17th Century Archbishop Paris Graf Lodron strengthened and expanded all the protective fortifications around Lofer: Pass Strub, Pass Luftenstein, Kniepaß and Steinpaß.
After the defeat of Napoleon, the province of Salzburg was annexed by the province above the Enns (Upper Austria). according to the peace of Vienna. In 1816 the governor of Linz called the district of Lofer a “kaiser- königliche Pfleg Lofer” and subdivided it into eleven cadastral communities in order to collect tax.
In 1850, Salzburg was appointed an independent crown land of the House of Habsburg. The eleven cadastral communities were divided into three separate villages. The local communities of Unken, Lofer and St. Martin have existed since then. In 1939, Lofer and St. Martin were united into the town of Lofer but in 1946 were divided into three municipalities: Lofer, St. Martin and Weißbach, the latter from then on was therefore an independent municipality.
The original parish "Lofer" was divided into four separate parishes: the mother-parish St. Martin and Unken 1812, Weißbach, 1891 and Lofer 1955. The old Romanesque chapel St.Martin in the 15th century.was rebulilt as a Gothic church, which in the 17th Century was renovated in baroque style. The Gothic Madonna and Child did not match the Baroque style and were removed. They were brought up into the high valley of the "Kircher." Soon it was necessary to house the initial Bildstöckl in a small chapel which also had to be enlarged after a short time to accommodate the increasing number of pilgrims. The architect Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach was appointed by Archbishop Ernst von Thun to draw up plans for a church, which was errected in the years 1694-1701. The pilgrimage church of Maria Kirchental is also known the Pinzgauer cathedral.
Today, tourism is the main industry in Saalachtal. The Region has about 5,000 beds in all categories, from 4 star hotels to camping.
The region offers around 400 km of top hiking trails in summer; mountain paths and flat promenades; well-developed network of cycling paths (for mountain bike tours, cycling tours for families - and recreational cyclists) as well as the white waters of the Saalach for canoeing and water sports. There are children's programs, the recreation centre, tennis .... and celebrations at every possible opportunity , for example the Harvest Festival at the end of August. Top tips for all lovers of nature: Vorderkaserklamm, Lamprechtshöhle and Seisenbergklamm.