Eisenerz, an Alpine community in the Upper Styrian region of Austria, lies in a basin formed by surrounding mountains. Especially in winter months, it frequently finds itself isolated from the outside world due to the danger or actual occurrence of avalanches. Considering its peripheral location, it was only by virtue of iron ore that Eisenerz became an industrial city with great regional significance. Iron ore has been extracted in Eisenerz since the Middle Ages, but mining did not become a profession unto itself until modem times, particularly with the industrial revolution. This is not the place to describe in detail all of the expansions and contractions the mining industry in Eisenerz has experienced over the centuries. The city has certainly both lived from mining, and suffered with it. Following World War II, and continuing into the 1960s, the industry experienced a boom, but its positive effects on employment have since been reversed by technological improvements and rationalisation. Employment in mining operations peaked at 4,000 workers in the early 1960s, but has declined steadily since that time.