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The World of Ice Giants

By Linda Tancs

Just a small town in the northern part of Salzburg′s Pongau area, Werfen, Austria, has a big claim to fame—home of the world’s largest ice caves, a labyrinth reaching for almost 25 miles. The World of Ice Giants ( Eisriesenwelt) is known as a dynamic ice cave, allowing for a chimney-like flow of air as the cave galleries and fissures form a link from lower entrances to higher openings, a process begun about 100 million years ago. The seasonal changes in outside air temperature result in amazing ice sculptures in the interior of the limestone caves, particularly when water entering the rock fissures in the spring drips into the cooler areas. Open from May to October, the cave tours begin directly at the cave entrance, which offers panoramic views of the Salzach valley in good weather. Dress for freezing temperatures inside the caves, even in summer.

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