High above the Wörthersee lake on the Jedvovca hill lies an outlook tower, built in 1969, which is an absolute engineering wonder. Atop a 55-metre tall hollow needle stands a 20-metre wide viewpoint platform and on top of that another 10 metres of pyramid-like shaped technical floors and antennae – hence the name Pyramidenkogel. In October 2012 the original concrete tower was detonated and in the summer of 2013 a new one was already standing in its place. What we can see today is a wooden vantage point, which is 100 metres high and is the biggest Carinthian tourist attraction. The construction wonder was built from larch wood, has three panoramic platforms and was heralded as Europe’s tallest and most beautiful outlook tower.
In 1603, a Carinthian aristocrat from the noble Barthlmä Khevenhüller family built a residence that quickly became the hotspot of social life in Carinthia. In the second half of the 18th century it was destroyed by fire and after it was rebuilt, an industrialist from Vienna turned it into a hotel.
The hotel built in neo-Renaissance style has been the backdrop of numerous films and has attracted many famous TV stars. In 1990 it found itself in the German and Austrian tabloid newspapers, as it was bought by Günter Sachs, the notorious heir to the throne of Willy Sachs. Günter was a photographer, author of documentaries, art collector, astrology analyst and most importantly the man who in the 60s and 70s was considered as a prototype for today’s playboys. He sold the hotel in 2003 and today it is owned by Falkensteiner.
The fastest way to get down the tower is by sliding down the longest indoor slide in Europe.
By the Wörthersee you will find everything from authentic inns with traditional dishes to the trendy restaurants of culinary masters. The cuisine is based on fresh and locally spiced ingredients and there are 12 different culinary regions in Carinthia, each of which has its own typical dishes. There is no shortage of restaurants with Gault-Millau toques and one of the best is the See Restaurant Saag, which aims for the very peak of Carinthan cuisine. For every group there are dozens of options, as the area is basically the centre of Carinthia’s creative and quality culinary offer.
The architects have imagined the tower as a feminine figure with its curves that dance like a ballerina (Sophie Loren) in the landscape.
Exceeding everyone’s expectations, the 8 million Euro investment already started to pay off in the first year of its operation. Most of the construction was made with a combination of wood and steel, but the biggest challenge was how to lay out the drainage in order to keep the wood intact for the future. The 100 metre tower is made from 500 construction pieces and only took 3 months, or 98 days, to build. It has space for 500 visitors at a time and an additional 350 on the 11th and 12th floors.
For those who want a little more adrenaline, the fastest way to get down the tower is by sliding down the longest indoor slide in Europe, which is 120 metres long, or if you are feeling really brave that day they can also organise a zip-line descent from the top of the tower.
The brain power behind the project came from Markus Klaur and Dietmar Kaden, architects from Klagenfurt. They were inspired by the rotation of the human body, which reaches its greatest physical beauty when mimicing the moves of ballerinas. They transformed their sense of feminine beauty into geometery, with wooden plates scaling to the top of the tower and surrounding a spacious interior in which an elevator for 22 people and a slide that wraps around the centre column like a snake can be found.