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The mighty Nockberge
Nockberge soulscape in Carinthia
The gentle, green and lovely side of the Austrian Alps
Hearing the name Alps, one usually thinks of craggy, dizzyingly high summits, glacier ice and winter sports. However, the Austrian Alps also have a different side, which can be best experienced on the Nockalm Road in Carinthia. The roundly smoothed Nockberge aren’t much higher than 2,400 m and evoke memories of Irish mountain sceneries, the backdrops of fantasy movies or beautiful pictures gracing the pages of calendars. It took hundreds of millions of years and countless transitions of land and sea, desert and jungle to create this unique region. Colourful flower meadows and green alpine pastures, forests with stone pines, spruces and larches, and countless clear mountain streams, lakes and tarns come together to form a unique, relaxing soulscape.
The Nockberge: marvellous creation of primal forcesA very simple experiment shows how the Alps – and thus the Nockberge – developed. Put both your hands in some sand, push downwards and, at the same time, to the middle. The sand trapped between the inner edges of your hands will escape upwards, creating an arch. That’s exactly how the Nockberge developed! The two “hands” were the African and the Scandinavian tectonic plants. Different rocks made their way from the depths of the Earth to the surface, excavated and smoothed by glacial ice, wind and weather. Animals and plants conquered the altitudes, adapted to the new living conditions – and eventually, man came to leave his mark on the cultural landscape of the Nockberge.
Read more about the history of the Nockberge here!
Home of the Biosphere Reserve Nockberge: the Gurktal AlpsWhen the tourism industry reached out to grab the region in the west of the Gurktal Alps, the Carinathian public decisively voted against it. During a public opinion poll in 1980, they stood up as a body against the plans to build a ski region, which would have entailed a high level of interference with the ancient cultural and natural scenery. Preservation officially took the “Nock’n” under its wings, and the designation as Biosphere Reserve by the UNESCO sealed the path that the people in the Nockberge wanted to tread. The coexistence of agricultural use, preservation areas for animals and plants, and gentle touristic development are a good example for how the Alps can be both used and protected at the same time.
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Habitat of unique flora and fauna: the NockbergeProtected by the Biosphere Reserve in Carinthia, countless species that have long since been extinct in other parts of the world or are on the “red list” of endangered species live here. Rare alpine creatures such as the dotterel, snow grouse and mountain hare can be seen here. Since the Nockberge weren’t glaciated during the last ice age, many endemic animals and plants (i.e. only to be found here) were able to survive here. Even non-botanists find the rambling stone pine forests, flower-rich mountain meadows and abundant blossoming azaleas striking. Many plants have healing powers, and one is even to be found in beauty products – spike lavender, which is used in natural cosmetics products, is only harvested in the Nockberge.
Read fascinating facts about flora and wildlife in the Nockberge now!
You can experience the Nockberge in many different ways – driving on the Nockalm Road, visiting the exhibitions along the route, hiking and enjoying regional products at dairy farms and alpine huts. Find out more about the opening hours and prices of the Nockalm Road now!