The Dachstein Ice Portal

Dachstein glacierPhoto:
Image: Leto A.

Deep inside this glacier you’ll find a frosty world filled with majestic marbled columns of ice, skillfully carved sculptures and captivating music. And that’s not all: the Dachstein ice palace also features a giant porthole that enables visitors to see into an enormous crevasse inside one of the world’s largest glaciers.

Tourists are certainly treated to a unique experience as they poke their heads through the porthole to admire spectacular ice crystals that are huge: nearly a metre (three feet) long inside a frosty fissure measuring 40 m (43.7 yards) long, 17 m (18.6 yards) deep and 2 m (2.2 yards) wide.

Vistor poking head through portholePhoto:
Image via Der Dachstein

The porthole was installed to allow workers building the chilly Austrian chateau to drain thousands of cubic metres of water from an icy river that threatened to flood the palace’s throne room. The palace became an instant must-see attraction in the popular Alps ski region shortly after it opened in 2007.

Image via Annanova

Lambert Tranniger, the manager of the Dachstein ice palace project, says of the palace:

“Every year we get thousands of ski tourists in winter, and in the summer we have tourists walking over the top of the glacier. But this is the first time visitors have been able to go into the heart of such a beautiful natural phenomenon.”

Crevasses are normally viewed from the top of a glacier (Langjökull glacier)
Looking into a crevasse at Langjokull glacierPhoto:
Image: wili_hybrid

Crevasses occur naturally when ice breaks apart while slowly sliding down the side of a mountain. They’re usually hidden by snow, making a topside glacial hike a potentially dangerous endeavour. The porthole makes it possible for visitors of almost any age and ability to view a glacial crevasse from the bottom up.

Sources: 1, 2, 3