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The seductive power of the forests near Litschau


For the Romans, the large northern forest on the other side of the Danube – the ‘Silva Nortica’ – was considered a part of the realm of the Barbarians. In the 12th century the commercial use of the forest was introduced, in particular by the Cistercians, who set up monastic communities in the wooded areas. In the year 1138 they founded the monastery at Zwettl. The name comes from the Czech word ‘světlý’ and means ‘light’. In the 12th and 13th centuries more and more cities and fiefdoms were set up in forested areas, bringing about changes to the forest landscape. The present-day appearance of the Waldviertel landscape shows the influence of the events of that period. In the baroque and modern eras, palaces of the nobility began to dot the landscape; these also served as centres of their forest empires. The Waldviertel poet Robert Hamerling considered the forests in the 19th century to be his homeland. These served also as a natural barrier against the Slavic threat. The increasing romanticisation of the Waldviertel could not keep people from leaving for the cities in search of work. One of these was the weaver and musician Kaspar Schrammel from Litschau. He moved in 1848 to Vienna and founded an orchestra. This music became known as ‘Schrammelmusik’. Since 2007 it returns regularly to its cradle in Litschau for the yearly Schrammel.Klang.Festival, the ‘Woodstock of the Viennese Song’.

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