Zell am See is the capital city of the Zell am See district in the Austrian state of Salzburg. The city has about 10,000 inhabitants. Zell am See is a famous tourist destination and a transportation hub for the region. The German name “Zell am See” means “Zell by the lake”.
The valley of Zell is a corridor in the middle of the Austrian Alps between the Saalach and the Salzach rivers. The lake is the 68-metre (223 ft) deep Lake Zell, with Zell am See’s “Altstadt” (or Old Town) in the west, and with the villages of Thumersbach to the east, Erlberg to the southeast, and Schüttdorf directly to the south. Zell am Zee is approximately 100 kilometres to the east of Innsbruck and 30 kilometers the north of Großglockner.
The original Lake Zell reached somewhat further to the north and extended south to the Salzach river. The dimensions of the lake, however, haved changed over time into marsh areas. The lake has the shape of a peanut, with an area of 4.7 square kilometres (1.8 sq mi).
The mountains of the area form a horseshoe shape and are mainly forested or agricultural fields. The “Hausberg” or home mountain of Zell am See is the Schmittenhöhe (1.965 metres), which is part of the Salzburg Greywacke zone (or slate Alps). The Schmittenhöhe is a popular center for winter sports. The nearby “Hundstein” (or “Dog Stone”) at 2,117 metres (6,946 ft) is the highest peak of the Salzburg Grewacke Zone.
Zell am See was already populated in Roman times. In 740 AD, by order of the Archbishop Johannes (John) of Salzburg, monks founded the village “Cella in Bisonzio”. Zell received the rights of a market town in 1357, and its city rights on January 24, 1928.