The 700-year-old town is situated 10km to the east of Innsbruck. During the Middle Ages it was much larger and more important than today's provincial capital of Innsbruck. The town flourished in the 13th century because of the vast deposits of salt in the area … The importance of the town increased dramatically, when during the 15th century the ducal mint at Merano in South Tyrol was moved here. Minted here was the first silver coin, the Thaler, a name, which later mutated into "dollar".
The days of embossing silver discs and salt mining are past, but what remains is a very pretty and well-preserved, historic town core.
The largest medieval town in western Austria gradually climbs up from the banks of the River Inn to the foot of the Bettelwurf mountain. The symbol for Hall is the Mint Tower (14th/15th century) together with Burg Hasegg, where the Mint Museum with the world's only roll press is to be found.
Further up in the town centre is one of the finest squares in Austria, the Obere Stadtplatz. Of special interest here are the late-Gothic St Nikolaus parish church and the old town hall. Hall's civic authorities have won a number of awards for the successful restoration of the old town.
Count Heinrich von Görz-Tirol (1295-1335), briefly king of Bohemia, referred to his residence in Hall as the "Royal Palace". The Habsburg Duke Leopold IV presented the building to the town in 1406, since when it has been used as the town hall. After the fire that devastated the town in 1447, the town hall had to be rebuilt.
Dating from this time are the magnificent beams (1451) in the "Ratsstube". The chamber is still used today, not just for council meetings, but also for weddings.
It may be visited during office hours.
Absam Pilgrimage BasilicaDetails
On 17th January, 1797, the Virgin Mary appeared on a farmhouse window. Scientists tried in vain to discover what lay behind the image. On the insistence of the population, the miraculous image of the Virgin was moved to the right-hand side altar in the parish church.
Absam then quickly grew in importance as a place of pilgrimage. On several occasions during the 19th century, members of the Austrian imperial family came to Absam to venerate the Virgin Mary.
For many believers, "Maria Absam" is a place of solace and hope. The day of the apparition, the 17th of every month, is always remembered. The main St Mary feast days are 17th January (Day of the Apparition) and 24th June (St John's Day, the church's second patron saint and when the villagers remember the transfer of the miraculous image to the parish church).
Jakob-Stainer-Haus - AbsamDetails
Address: Stainerstrasse 7, Absam - no viewings
It was here where violin-maker, Jakob Stainer, lived.
Jakob Stainer (ca. 1617 - 1683) is one of the most important craftsmen the Tyrol has ever produced. Musicians and museums from all over the world treasure the instruments made by the Absam-born maestro.
Widum - GnadenwaldDetails
The Widum (Parsonage) was built by Franz de Paula Penz (1707-1772) at his own expense.
At the time he was an assistant priest in Hall and was then sent on to Gnadenwald to become parish priest.
If you stand amid the excavations of the Wattens Himmelreich prehistoric site and cast a sweeping eye over Wattens, then inspirational thoughts will surely spring to mind: You will be able to imagine how people lived over 2,000 years ago, and also see how far they had developed and how carefully they had laid out their village. Detailed explanations about the individual houses provide an insight into village life at the time.
But as you stand there you will be captivated by the beauty of the Inn valley today.
On this settlement surrounded by a defensive embankment, the foundations of five buildings can be seen. These were probably part of the farmstead belonging to a Rhaetian nobleman. The village was inhabited from the 4th to 1st century BC, but was destroyed by a fire.
The Himmelreich open-air museum is freely accessible at all times.
From ceramics to crystal Many of the finds from Himmelreich, including tools and weapons, are displayed in Wattens' Museum of Industry and Prehistory. Visitors will see fascinating photos and artefacts, which bring alive the growth of the major Wattens businesses of Swarovski and Wattenspapier and also document the history of Wattens as a market town.