Kirche St. Kathrein von innen


Bad Kleinkirchheim in former times and today

Bad Kleinkirchheim – the birthplace of spa culture. As early as in the Middle Ages people frequented the valley as the relaxing effect of Kleinkirchheim’s spa was well-known far beyond Kärnten’s Mountains. However, not the two thermal spas that are widely known today, were the first points of attraction – it was the crypt under the Kathreinkirchlein chapel. To this day, this is where the Augenquelle springs, whose waters are said to have anti-inflammatory effects.

While coming here was undeniably much more cumbersome in former times, the motivation to set out to the “pilgrimage“ and to today’s holiday trips to Bad Kleinkirchheim have changed little over time.

Thermal spa waters as basis of local history

A short historical overview:

  • 1055 Count palatine Poto, the first “spa guest“ is actually on the run, but has selected his hiding place with consideration. To this day, Bad Kleinkirchheim serves as a secret refuge for those, who intend to escape from everyday life.
  • 1177 First document mention by Pope Alexander II. The news about the thermal spa soon spreads, Bavarian and Slavic settlers move to the Kirchheim Valley.
  • 1469 From now on the place is administered by the Fraternity of Saint George’s Holy Nights from Millstatt. Times are turbulent; assaults by the Turks and Hungarians as well as the farmer rebellions determine people’s lifes.
  • 1492 The Millstatt monastery has a chapel built to protect the spring and dedicates it to the Saint Catharine.
  • 17th Century Development of a second source, whose waters are led into a “Badehäusl“ via wooden piping and after being heated up again there, are filled in bath tubs. The number of guests rises.
  • 1762 Bathing regulations stipulate that guests complete a three-week stay. Times remain turbulent – peasants’ revolts, French invasion and poor harvests make people suffer.
  • 1831 The Klagenfurter Zeitung publishes an advert by Josef Michael, owner of the Kathrein spa. This offer is quite frequently in demand.
  • 1850 Establishment of the municipality of Kleinkirchheim.
  • 1884 The municipality’s first brochure contains “12 premises for the accommodation of spa guests“.
  • 1908 The Ronacher family acquire a bathing house for Kronen 30,000.
  • 1928 The Pulverer family lays the foundation of later success with a small Jausenstation. Both businesses to this day are the family-managed lead businesses of the resort.
  • 1934 Opening of the first thermal outdoor pool.
  • 1935 Renaming to “Bad Kleinkirchheim“.
  • 1936 The 1,100-inhabitant municipality already has 400 guest beds.
  • 1956 First ski lift in Bad Kleinkirchheim. With 620 metres, it was Kärnten’s longest ski lift at that time.
  • 1957 It’s official: Bad Kleinkirchheim now with proper place-name signs.
  • 1969 Inauguration of the thermal indoor pool.
  • 1971 Franz Klammer wins his first Europacup downhill race on Kirchheim’s “K 7” descent. Thanks to his Olympic victory in Innsbruck in 1976, he becomes a sports star worldwide.
  • 1977 Kärnten’s government awards the title “Thermalbad“ to the place.
  • 1978 Austria’s first Experience Thermal Spa opens with Thermal Römerbad.
    Bad Kleinkirchheim is venue of a World Cup Ski Race for the first time.
  • 1983 A system for artificial snow production is taken into operation.
  • 1986 Opening of the 18-hole golf course.
  • 1988 Ski World Cup with men’s slalom and victory of Alberto Tomba.
  • 1993 The double chair lift to the Strohsack Mountain is taken into operation. Constantly developed and extended the Bad Kleinkirchheim skiing resort today is a modern skiing arena for every demand with about 100 kilometres of pistes – nearly 100 percent thereof with artificial snow systems.
  • 2003 “Kärnten - Franz Klammer“: The resort’s famous Ambassador receives his own ski race course, where in the winter of 2015 yet another lady’s Ski World Cup race is hosted.
  • 2004 Construction and opening of the Nock IN panorama restaurant summit station of Brunnach’s Nationalparkbahn
  • 2005 Construction and opening of two new 4-seat chair lifts in the skiing area St. Oswald, Schartenalm
    Establishment of the Nockalm storage reservoir, extension of the snowing facilities and pistes in the skiing area St. Oswald
  • 2006/2007 Development and opening of the NEW Thermal Römerbad with 13 saunas built by the star architect Günter Behnisch