The Europe Cross at the viewing point Alberfeldkogel is one of the most popular hiking destinations for hikers and mountain enthusiasts at the Feuerkogel, which offers a fantastic 360 degree panorama view of the lakes Traunsee, Langbathsee and the mountain summits of the Salzkammergut.
On the occasion of the Austrian Council Presidency of the European Union council in 2006 the Europe Cross was produced by more than 100 pupils in the workshops of the HTL Wels and handed over at at the dedication ceremony to ‘Naturfreunde Ebensee’ .
The Europe Cross on the Feuerkogel was assembled using individual cubes, with each cube symbolising an EU member state. It is an indication of the basis of equality and unity in the individual states in the European Union and the connections which the individual states have with one another.
Each individual cube (state) must be stable enough to bear the weight of the entire structure (Europe). Circular holes are cut out on the cube surfaces. These symbolise the opening of the respective state on all sides, and make it possible to look inside. Key words: free movement of goods, freedom to travel, exchange of research, training and educational capacities and concepts etc.
Each cube has the name of the state which it symbolises written on it, in the language specific to that country. Incorporated inside the cube is a stone from that respective country, indicating the specific features of that country. Every European citizen is to preserve the typical features of their country, its cultural roots, its lifestyle habits, yet at the same time should be able to move freely in their “European homeland” and feel at home.
The stone from Latvia comes from the base of the former Lenin monument in Riga, which was dismantled in the night of 23rd/24th August 1991 as confirmation and acceleration of the Latvian independence movement.
The stone from Spain comes from the ‘El Escorial’ palace which was constructed by the Spanish Habsburg monarch Phillipp II. (1527-1598); the stone is actually from a site which is around two kilometres from the palace, a site which is known a ‘Phillipp II’s headquarters’.
The stone from Germany is a piece from the Berlin Wall which has a comparatively short, yet just as moving, history. The period from the construction of the wall in 1961 to its fall in 1989 is still remembered by many.
The Austrian stone comes from a well-known quarry in Burgenland, in which every year famous opera works have been staged. If stone has a human character, then its approx. 800 year history in its former location can be seen in the countless people from all nations who have been there. Crowned heads, emperors, kings, monarchs, princes of the church and presidents from America to Russia have already passed by its base. The building to which he belonged just a short while ago is a spiritual and cultural centre, a world famous cultural asset, a national symbol of Austria and of Austrian identity - the ‘Stephansdom’.
The individual cubes are arranged in such as way that Austria is shown in the centre of the Cross. All other states are arranged according to their distance (as the crow flies) from Alberfeldkogel to the respective capital city clockwise, to Austria. This is to be an indication of the geographic location and of Austria’s central role, especially during the EU presidency (01.01. to 30.06.2006).
The cubes which have no inscriptions and which are anchored to the base represent other member states of the EU. As per conditions from the EU each European state in the state community can enter in so far as they have a stable democracy, and can ensure the rule of law and the protection of minorities. Moreover it must have a functioning market economy and an administration which is in a position to apply EU law.
It is a part of the specific characteristics of Austria – that is, having a politically and economically stable and strong, socially balanced and peaceful, cultural life, which is well-known across all borders; while in landscape terms it is such a beautiful and versatile Alpine state that there is a cross on many mountain peaks. The setting up of this cross follows not just a tradition, but also makes a symbol which is very much visible – one which represents cooperation, cohesion and community.