20 imagesCarinthia, the artists of the shotgun Symbols of power, diplomatic tools, objects of destruction, witnesses of acts of heroism, weapons are not just tools or technology but also emblematic objects that occupy a special place in the history of humanity. Not only that, they are evidence of a highly specialized artisan creativity in which you have to use skills, senses and brains, preserved as works of art in noble palaces and museums or selled with stratospheric figures in international auctions. There are few places where over the centuries there have been created combinations of craft skills, natural resources and technologies necessary to create weapons renowned for their precision, but also for an elegance that still transforms them into the object of desire for each collector. One of these, probably the most extraordinary, is Ferlach, a village in Carinthia in the heart of Rosental, the "Valley of Roses" rich in iron, water and pine trees. Its centuries-old relationship with firearms began in 1529 with the transfer of the capital of the Duchy of Carinthia to Klagenfurt. The first boom, so to speak, begins with the Thirty Years War, later the master armourers of Ferlach become the most important suppliers of the Habsburg monarchy, without neglecting the possible enemies as long as they are good customers. From 1793 a trademark guarantees the quality of the weapons produced in Ferlach and in 1876 the Genossenschaft was born, the Gilda of the Masters Armaioli only dissolved in 2004. Since 1880 new industrial technologies have threatened a rapid decline and the craftsmen of Ferlach specialize in shotguns. The master gunsmiths from 308 of 1845 are reduced to 7 with giving work to nine hundred people out of seven thousand inhabitants and a revenue of around ten million euros, approximate numbers because in Ferlach the discretion should be represented on the city coat of arms. The desires of every customer, even the most extravagant, here reign supreme because each weapon is unique, handmade and often signed by the gunsmith. A creative combination of different skills that probably survive only in this type of craft where engravers, jewelers, metalworking experts and blacksmiths work together. It is the customer who chooses wood, caliber, functioning mechanisms and decorations, while the length of the cane is made in relation to its physical characteristics. Nowhere else in the world is there a similar concentration in one place of master gunsmiths and at the Höhere Technische Bundeslehranstalt Ferlach, the Imperial School for the Industry of Weapons founded in 1878 boys and girls arrive from all over the world. To become the heirs of five centuries of history of rifle artists.