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Tibetan health centre at Hüttenberg 

On the initiative of Rogner and in collaboration with the Province of Carinthia, a project is being realised in Hüttenberg that is probably unique in the world as a cultural and touristic highlight - our 260-bed Tibetan cultural and health centre.

The idea for this project, from which it is not only the region that will benefit, came from Heinrich Harrer, the expert on Tibet, who sadly has since died. A delegation from Carinthia led by the regional head of government Jörg Haider set up the project on the occasion of a personal visit to His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama in Dharamsala in India last June. The first turf was dug on 14 May by the Dalai Lama, the Carinthian provincial government and representatives of the federal government. The opening is planned for 2008. The 22 million euros capital investment project has created 140 jobs.

Hüttenberg, in the picturesque Görtschitztal valley, is Harrer's birthplace. It was through his deep friendship with the Dalai Lama that his vision and idea for a Tibetan centre in the west came into being. As a result, after a mining tradition which lasted for 2500 years finally came to an end, Hüttenberg is undergoing a cultural transformation into an international centre for the exchange of culture and knowledge. The Tibetan centre is the logical complement to the Heinrich Harrer Museum and the Lingkor pilgrim path, with which important features have already been put in place for the redevelopment of Hüttenberg.

While the museum is essentially a passive experience, the Tibetan centre represents a living focus in the west for the wonderful forms of expression of this far eastern culture. And not just as an isolated means of stimulating interest. The fact of Hüttenberg being acknowledged by Tibetan culture as its exclusive location in the west means that Tibetan philosophy, medicine, art and other aspects are presented, used, taught and researched on a well-founded basis.

Heinrich Harrer's sole aim on his many journeys and expeditions was always to observe foreign peoples, to understand the souls of men and to report on what he had seen. He did not seek to convert, neither was he himself to be converted. In spite his time spent in Tibet and his close friendship with the Dalai Lama, whose personal teacher he was, he felt deeply bound to his Christian roots.

The planned Tibetan centre in Hüttenberg is directly linked to the path already adopted by the municipality, and is essentially defined by the following unique features:

  • "International Center of Higher Tibetan Studies"
  • Patronage of His Holiness the Dalai Lama

The "International Center of Higher Tibetan Studies" in the Heft functions as the first and only educational centre based on Tibetan medicine and philosophy in the western world. It is in direct contact with Men-Tsee-Khang, the Dalai Lama's institute for Tibetan medicine in Dharamsala (the seat of the Tibetan government in exile in India).

Next to the education centre in the Heft, a hotel with an adjacent health centre is being built in Hüttenberg. A place of "Entschleunigung" ["deceleration"] is being created with the aim of incorporating spirituality as a central element in part areas of the Tibetan centre. The spa philosophy in the 2,500 m2 "Health Center" is in turn based on the principles of Tibetan medicine: man is at the centre, and needs to be taken away from the stress of everyday life to achieve a better quality of life.

The aim of the planned project is to create economically profitable "all year appeal" for the region. The Tibetan centre is intended not only to be the main business but also the economic centre of the valley, which has fallen into a "Sleeping Beauty" slumber following the cessation of the mining industry. Local resources are to be incorporated in the best possible way, thereby offering the population new opportunities. The niche provision of spiritually motivated tourism is the key to a new and successful future (as set out in the white paper for Carinthia) for a region which until now has been somewhat cut off from outside visitors.

The Tibetan centre is being built to recognised Rogner construction and quality standards on a 44,000 m2 site. At the same time the listed "Kohlebarren" in the Heft, the historic 19th century ironworks, is being adapted. Its exclusivity provides optimal positioning for the project, with around 50,000 overnight stays expected annually.