Innviertel in Upper Austria:
Travel Guide for the Upper Austrian Quarters
The province of Upper Austria is divided into four distinct cultural regions, the "Viertel" ("Quarters"): The Innviertel, the Hausruckviertel, the Traunviertel and the Mühlviertel. Of these four, the Innviertel - sometimes called Innkreis - is special, because I was born there (alongside with other Austrian celebrities, such as Adolf Hitler). The Innviertel can be found in the north-western corner of Upper Austria and became part of Habsburg Austria only in 1779. Until then, it had been called "Innbaiern" and was part of the Bavarian heartlands, belonging to Bavaria since the 6th century - which is still very noticeable in the architecture and outlay of the towns, in the dialect and the local culture.
After the Habsburg had acquired the region, teachers from Vienna were sent with instructions to work actively against the Bavarian features of the local dialects to counter-balance nationalist feelings of the local population. They succeeded only insofar as distinctly Austrian terms were introduced, but the local dialect remained a typically Bavarian one. Napoleon tried to re-draw the map again, but ever since the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the Innviertel is politically Austrian.
The Innviertel comprises of a hilly landscape with agricultural land and forests, it is densely populated (the total population is approximately 200,000) and prosperous. However, the Innviertel is by no means a touristy area. The borders of the Innviertel match with those of the political districts of Ried (my birthplace), Schärding (where I learned to walk) and Braunau (where I occasionally drive through). These borders are also echoed by the rivers Salzach, Danube and Inn.
Typical Features of the Innviertel in Upper Austria
Towards south-east, the border of the Innviertel is the Hausruck, a forested mountain range. Note that most of the historic towns of the Innviertel can be found along the Inn river - much of which is still the border to Bavaria. This is due to salt trade, which was largely responsible for the salt trade. Note the towns of Braunau (Hiterl′s birthplace), Obernberg and Schärding. A typical feature of these towns are the Baroque burgher houses in the city centres, which are covered with colourful facades and sgraffito paintings.
The Innviertel has many technology and engineering companies, engaging in the production of aeroplane parts, car parts and motorcycles, in industrial design, metal and energy industries, as well as transportation. The strong focus on industries has led to strong immigration from Turkey and the Balkans especially to bigger towns. Generally, the Innviertel is a very prosperous area even though it lacks direct access to the main industrial clusters of Upper Austria in and around Linz/Wels/Steyr.
Domestic tourism is significant in Gainberg, a thermal spa (Therme Gainberg) that was recently developed. Ried im Innkreis can be found at the most central part of the Innviertel and is the regions administrative centre. Note the monastery of Reichersberg in the same district. The Oberinnviertler Seenplatte comes with a few minor lakes and is popular for cycling and to some degree for walking; the area around Mattighofen is the flattest part of the Innviertel and also good for cycling.
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