This 16th-century-style goldgräberdorf (gold-mining town) was built upon historic gold mines in the Fleiss valley. The Hohe Tauern was considered one of the most important gold-mining regions of its day, and gold was mined near Heiligenblut from the 14th century until the turn of the 20th century. Many caves were created through grueling labor by thousands of miners over this period, under the most arduous conditions (of course, the owners of the mines themselves lived comfortable and rich lives). Alter Pocher, 10 minutes from Heiligenblut and more than 5,906 feet above sea level, showcases the lives of the miners who dug for gold here for so many centuries; the freilichtmuseum (open-air museum) gives an insight into their living conditions.
gold panning. If you get struck by gold fever, you can try panning for gold in the Fleiss stream. From mid-June through September, you can buy a ticket for an excursion in the town at the Tourist Office. It's the only
gold mining village in the Alps and has been rebuilt to its original state. The price includes a visit to the museum, a guided tour and the necessary equipment and—if you're lucky enough to pan a small nugget—a permit to take home your finds. A-9844. 04824/24655. www.heiligenblut.at. €12. June–Sept, daily 10–5 (weather permitting).