"One of Austria's smallest cities" Top 5 Page for this destination Rattenberg by lotharlerch

Rattenberg Travel Guide: 45 reviews and 184 photos

One Street and 436 Inhabitants

Rattenberg has good chances to reach the top in the ranking of Austria's smallest cities. A strong competitor was Hardegg in Lower Austria but it lost its chance through a reform of the regional administration which joined Hardegg with a few tiny villages around forming now a "Grossgemeinde" with about 1400 inhabitants (the original city of Hardegg hosts today 102 inhabitants).

Rattenberg had its maximum with 879 inhabitants in 1951 and it is continuously decreasing since.

Surely not more rats than elsewhere

Speakers of German would immedialtely imagine Rattenberg being somehting like a mountain (= Berg) with rats ( = Ratten) what this name immediately suggests. To prevent this the heraldic symbol of the city shows a wheel (= Rad) on top of a mountain. This looks far more unstable than rats occupying a mountain. To make the wheel more believable than the rats the neighbouring village has the name Radfeld meaning wheel and field (= Feld). And believe me, I did not see a single rat in the city but even very few wheels because the only one street which forms the tiny city is a pedestrian zone where vehicles are banned. And the city is not even situated on a mountain but in the almost eternal shadow of a huge rock which is strongly defining the quality of life here and maybe the most important reason why the city never grew beyond its tight limits.

Ancient Customs Post - Tourists and Glass today

This fortified late Gothic city of the Inn-Salzach type (comparable in this sense with Innsbruck, Hall in Tirol, Wasserburg, Braunau, Passau, Burghausen, Tittmoning, Hallein and Salzburg) was once the frontier post at the frontier of Tyrol and Bavaria (the districts downstream - Kufstein and Kitzbühel- became part of Tirol in 16th century). Because Rattenberg is unfavourably situated at a place where there is shadow most of the year it did not further develop when it lost its funcition as a frontier post because people perferred to settle in the sunny Kramsach at the left banks of the river Inn.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Idyllic small city of the Inn-Salzach type
  • Cons:Most of the year in the shadow
  • In a nutshell:Worth a stop for a stroll if you are passing the area
  • Last visit to Rattenberg: May 2009
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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