Tannheim in Tyrol (Tirol)
Skiing Area Tannheimer Tal, Austria
Tannheim is a village in Tyrol with a mere 1,100 residents - nevertheless, it is domestically and even internationally quite well-known as a skiing area. Tannheim is situated in the district of Reutte and generally considered to be the most significant community in the Tannheimertal, the valley where it can be found - and which was named after it.
Historically, Tannheim comprised of various hamlets that merged only in the decades since WWII, when a steady growth led to an increase in the community′s population. Tannheim′s most important immediate mountain is the Einstein, a name that is easy to remember for most people (that much about the *physical* geography of Tannheim - lame joke of the day).
Most of the Tannheimertal was populated from the Allgäu in today′s Germany, a fact you can still hear in the local dialects. In the 10th century, most of the valley became property of the bishops of Augsburg, who in turn gave it to noble landlords throughout the Middle Ages. Therefore, the amount of sightseeing you can do in Tannheim goes beyond that of the average Tyrolean skiing town. The oldest church of Tannheim is the Pfarrkirche St. Nikolaus, the parish church, which was first mentioned in a document in 1377. The original parish church was a Gothic design which was dismantled in the early 18th century.
Church Construction, Skiing & Other Attractions of Tannheim
In order to replace the old and disintegrating church, a new, Baroque building was erected - and it became a rather big one, at least by local standards. The base and outlay of the Parish Church St. Nikolaus is almost the same as for the cathedral in Innsbruck; after the parish church in Neustift im Stubaital, this church is the biggest of the diocese outside of Innsbruck. The church is now the core of Tannheim, which otherwise has to struggle hard to maintain character in several corners of the community. The commercial touch of many Tyrolean villages has not failed to fall upon Tannheim.
Beyond the parish church, Tannheim has a couple of smaller chapels and churches worth noticing in case you happen to be there during a rainy day; note that "Kapelle" is the German word for "chapel": The Mariahilf Pestkapelle was built in an attempt to spiritually fight the bubonic plague in 1649; the St. Martinskapelle was built in 1494; the St. Sebastianskapelle was built in 1653; the Herz-Jesu-Kapelle in 1796; the St. Leonhardskapelle in 1488; the St. Michaelskapelle in 1680, just like the Dreifaltigkeitskapelle; and the Landeskapelle was built more recently, in 1902. Note that Tyrol is often called "das Heilige Land Tirol" in Austria - the "Holy Land".
Tannheim is not all about skiing. If you spend a few days in the Tannheimertal during the summer season, you might be surprised to find a range of attractive offers for hiking, Nordic walking, cycling and climbing. A local Alpine lake, the Vilsalpsee, was neatly equipped with a nature reserve around it. In my opinion, the tourism authorities of Tannheim come across as a bit clumsy when they try to sell their valley as a specialist for everything. Nevertheless, the offers of the region are respectable and sufficient to provide you with enough excitement for a decent vacation both in winter and summer.
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