Charming, Elegant 800 Year Old Austrian Home

The property is located within 10 miles to Salzburg, Austria. The house is approximately 800 years old and is filled with antiques and history with each turn you take. The property has full Internet and 3 living rooms with DVDs, full music set-ups, and big screen televisions.

The front yard is almost the size of a soccer field. The property is ideal in winter time for Olympic class skiing within 40 minutes drive, bob sledding, tobogganing, and other winter sports are available throughout the region. There is a world cup downhill run 20 minutes from the door to the lift at the slopes available at Berchtsgaden. In summer, there is an Olympic size pool within walking distance and literally 100s of miles of walking and biking trails. The third floor of the house has been fully renovated to include a 2nd kitchen and full bath with jacuzzi tub. The 1st and 2nd floor retain the original charm of the home. Each bedroom is different in size and many come with a private balcony. All balconies on the property have been redone and accommodate various number of people.

  • Property type: house , 7000 sq. ft. (about 700 Square meters)
  • Location type: mountain, village, rural area close to Salzburg and Bad Reichenhal
  • Highlights: Communal pool, Jacuzzi, large Gardens on both sides of the house. Total property 7500 square meters
  • 11 bedrooms available to guests, sleeps 18 people comfortably. can sleep up to 21

Rates: see rate page.

Haus Sonnenelehen layout see bottom of accomodatons page.

History Myth and Mythology of Haus Sonnenlehen.

The village of Gmain existed since at least 900 ad. The village became a pilgrimage site some time in the 900′s.

There was a famous gothic painter (or school of painters) that existed 960 to 980 at least.

At that time pilgrams came to Gmain to be healed. Stories are told of them being able to walk again and leaving their crutches behind the church and walking home.

The stories tell us that some time after World War one the pile of crutches was finally completely removed.

You can see our famous church steeple here in the center of the picture with the Untersberg to the left and the sleeping witch to the right.

The Plainburg at the top of the hill in front of the house was built by Graf Plain starting around 1180 ad.

According the book “Der Hallgraf” by Anni Jungmann-Wilhelmi the Graf was aligned with Barbarossas. Barbarossas asked the Duke to attack the Arch Bishop of Salzburg. At the time that was considered a suicide mission. The Duke’s (Graf Plain) wife was a very religious person. She ran in tears to the highest tower of the castle where her husband caught up with her. In his frustration he tore the crucifix from her neck and threw it into the valley. She swore that she would build a place for the pilgrams to reside while they were being healed. That is Haus Sonnenlehen. It was originally named Gnadenlehen meaning place of mercy of place where mercy rests.

The house did have an actual tunnel connecting to the castle at one point in time.

When our Great Uncle Theo Strack bought the house after a grand tour of the United States and three years in residence at the Chicago Opera he changed the name from Gnaden Lehen to Sonnenlehen.

Sonnenlehen has two meanings from German mythology:

  1. A place where the Gods rest and the sun rests
  2. A place that can not be owned. It is there for the Gods.

During the time that it was used as a summer residence by Theo and Kaethe Strack we had many guests from the European Opera and arts scene. There is a gallery of pictures with autographs from this period on the second floor. The house was used as a place for Professor Josef Thorak to store his sculptures after the war as well. One sculpture “Die Stunde” is still in its place.

Paracelsus and Kopernikus also in the Salzburger Kurpark near the Mirabell Garten and Schloss.

After the war the Americans moved the border between Austria and Germany to the middle of the Weissbach that separates the current village into Großgmain (Big Gmain) and Bayerisch Gmain (Bavarian Gmain).

The house was occupied for 6 years by various occupiers. Some of the 101st airborne troops that captured the Eagles Nest stayed here for 6 months replaced by troops from Chicago for 2 and half years. The house was then cleaned and on the day it was reoccupied by the owners the UN Relief agency took over the house instead for another 3 years. Theo Strack died before he was ever allowed to move back into his own bedroom.

Then it was a Pension for many years. Housing lots of arts focused guests complete with a wonderful kitchen run by Frau Jakl. Frau Jakl was famous far and wide for her cooking and her wonderful desserts cake and afternoon coffee.

In 1973 it became a private house which it is to this day. Haus Sonnenlehen is a family house. WE are not a hotel.

In the year 2000 the borders came down as they did all over the Schengen region and now we have more of what the old Ruppertigau was until the early 1800′s.

A wonderful region of independence and beauty.

Proving itself the Sonnenlehen it is, it is now available for you to stay in as well.

All of the mythology of the house can be easily felt if you give the house a chance.

It is a wonderful healing and restful place.

Salzburg Festivals, indoor and outdoor museums, castles and ruins, world class dining, public pool within 100 meters from front gate of estate, hiking and biking trails throughout all of the surrounding mountains, horse back riding, tennis, skiing.

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