One of the most important raw materials known to mankind is iron, as this can be used to produce high quality weapons and robust tools. In the past, it was mined in the Gailtal and Carnic Alps and brought affluence to the area. Two excavation sites also operated close to this site. The Laas blast furnace gives us a clear impression of what an early 19th century smelting works looked like, thanks to its good state of preservation. The furnace began operation in 1817 but operations stopped again in 1847 as they were unprofitable. The forester’s lodge and the furnace which towers over everything dominate the site. Behind it extends the impressive coal barn, from which the furnace was filled with ore and charcoal via a wooden bridge. The double roasting furnace, where the ore was desulphurised, is unique in Austria. Each year on average 140 tonnes of pig iron were produced in Laas. The forester’s lodge was even used as a film set in the 1950s. The film crew for the local film ‘Die Försterbuben’ brought a touch of glamour to the agricultural Gailtal valley.

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