|Bezirk: Zell am See|
The market town of Saalfelden am Steinernen Meer is situated at an elevation of 744 m on the river Saalach in the Pinzgau region (district Zell am See). The oldest traces of humans in this area date from the late Stone Age. Permanent settlements must have existed by the time of the Bronze Age (about 1800 BC). At this time copper was mined in the vicinity of Saalfelden. During the Iron Age the Celtic tribe of the Abisontians settled here. The Romans ended the reign of the Celts and incorporated the area into the province Noricum. Saalfelden was first mentioned in a document of AD 788 (as Saalavelda). From AD 955 onward, it was in possession of the bishops of Salzburg. It is not known when it obtained the status of a market town but it must have been already before the 15th century. The Middle Ages started a long period of economic prosperity due to the mining of silver, lead and iron, and the trading in salt. Between 1810 and 1816, Saalfelden, like the whole archdiocese of Salzburg, was ruled by Bavaria. On 1 May 1816 it became part of Austria. Today, Saalfelden is the largest municipality in the Pinzgau region and the third-largest in the province of Salzburg.
The deanery and parish church Johannes der Täufer (St. John the Baptist) [centre]
was first mentioned in the 12th century. The Gothic church was consecrated in 1511. In the 16th and 17th century several chapels were added to the church. After a fire in
1734 the roof of the spire was restored in Baroque style. Another large fire in 1811 destroyed almost the whole town and heavily damaged the church. Between 1855 and 1861
the church was rebuilt in Neogothic style.