Wörgl: An Economic Centre of Tyrol
Wörgl is a city in Tyrol, is situated in the district of Kufstein and has approximately 12,000 residents. Wörgl lies in the main valley of Tyrol, the Inntal, about 55 kilometres east of Innsbruck. The location of Wörgl is a crossing point for some of Tyrol′s busiest tourism regions: The Inntal meets the Wildschönau, the Brixental, Itter, Kirchbichl and Kundl. As the Inntal has been populated early on (in Neolithic days), Wörgl looks back on a long past. However, I will deal with Wörgl′s history and the story of its own currency during the Great Depression following 1929 later on. Let me first focus on the tourism aspects.
Unlike most other places in Tyrol, Wörgl is not a typical tourist destination. There are no significant skiing facilities in the immediate surroundings and despite of the appeal of the mountains around Wörgl, it does not have a particular reputation towards hiking either. This might be in part due to the commercial and industrial touch the city has. There are several schools in Wörgl, large companies and shopping facilities; this makes Wörgl a significant centre in this part of the Inntal - but does not meet the tourist′s dreamy picture of a typically Tyrolean village. In terms of sightseeing, you can′t even count on the usual suspects (churches and chapels, a town hall and nice houses around a main square) because Wörgl was hit very badly by bombs during WWII and has very few genuinely old buildings.
The parish church is dedicated to St. Laurentius (Lawrence) and its spiritual origins go back to Roman days. Then, a chapel was built at a hilltop; the hilltop is barely noticeable today, by the way. In the early Middle Ages, a proper stone-church was built. By 1479, Tyrol′s happy days as the Habsburg′s economic powerhouse, which lasted for most of the Renaissance, could be anticipated. The old church was upgraded to a Gothic building, equipped with no less than four altars. An artefact originating from these altars is the "Wörgler Madonna". It was made between 1500 and 1510 - you can still see it in a side-nave of today′s parish church.
Construction of Current Church & WWII in Wörgl, Tyrol
In 1748, the community had grown and architecture had developed; the people in Wörgl decided to get rid of their Gothic church and build themselves a fancy new one in Baroque style. So they did. This Baroque church survived until 1836, when an arson attack on Wörgl′s city centre destroyed the building completely. A new church was built, with even less architectural value than the previous one, and extended in 1912. In the course of WWII, the church was severely damaged once again in the course of the bombings of Wörgl′s station (as stated above, I will cover history later on).
The damages were fixed, the tower extended and equipped with five new bells, and two new side-naves were built. Since then, the Pfarrkirche St. Laurentius is certainly not the most appealing church of Tyrol, but one of its biggest. Following Vatican II, the main altar was removed, frescoes painted over and paintings removed. Right next to the church, you will find the former cemetery chapel; since the cemetery was dissolved in the early 19th century, the chapel is now used for baptisms.
Other attractions are scarce. Note that in 2003, a public swimming pool opened - the biggest in Tyrol with a large array of saunas. The "Wörgler Meilensteine" are a theme-walk through Wörgl, over the course of an antique Roman mile (1480 metres). The milestones, a total of 304, present important points in the history of the past 2000 years. But now for something completely different - the promised history of Wörgl and its peculiar currency experiment. Attractions nearby Wörgl include the previously mentioned Kufstein; Rattenberg and Alpbach; Kitzbühel; and the access point to the Zillertal.
Continue with "Wörgl, Part II - History"
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