Schwaz in Tirol & Stans - Part II
The other interesting thing about Schwaz′ church is the division of the seats within the church: The left side was reserved for the wealthy burghers, whereas the simple miners had to sit on the right side of the nave. There was even a wooden division between the two areas. Another religious sight is the Franciscan monastery with Gothic wall paintings in the cloisters from 1515.
The Franz Josef Street still appears in its original uniform fashion, despite of a devastating fire from 1809. Today, the former main street it is pedestrianized. At the end of the street, you can see the Baroque-ized manor of the Tannenberg-Enzenberg family. More importantly, the Fuggerhaus was the local residence of the Fugger family and dates back to 1525.
From this building, Anton Fugger ruled over his company, one of the World′s first multinational corporations. In a way. The Handelshaus ("trade house") nearby was built between 1500 and 1509 and is used as the town hall today. Check out its three-storey courtyard with arcades.
Medieval Schwaz & Surroundings
Following the pretty Burggasse Lane you will find the 12th century castle Burg Freundsberg on a hill, some 170 metres above the town. It contains a small museum in the castle keep with a rather unimpressive collection of mostly regional significance. A more interesting museum is the modern "Haus der Völker" ("house of the nations"), an ethnological museum based on the private collection of Gert Chesi. The local photographer and traveller spent most of his work life in Africa and Asia, gathering local artwork An unexpected sight in the heart of the Tyrolian mountains, but worth a visit nonetheless.
Back to the main attraction: The show mines of Schwaz are only about one kilometre off the town centre. You will enter the "Silberbergwerk" through the 800 metre long "Sigmundsstollen" tunnel from 1491 with a Grubenhunt train. The tour includes an exhibition that explains historic mining techniques. Altogether, Schwaz will entertain you for half a busy day or one relaxed day. If you want to spend more time in the region, you might want to go to hiking in the picturesque "Wölfsklamm" gorge near the village of Stans.
Not far from Stans, you can also see the castle Schloss Tratzberg, a former hunting lodge of Emperor Maximilian I. The Renaissance building hosts a small museum focussing on local history. Stans itself makes a good example of a typical Alpine village of Tyrol. The Kellerjoch mountain near Schwaz will provide some hiking opportunities, it is famous for great vistas on the Zillertal Alps and the Karwendel mountain range as well as the Großglockner. During the winter, many of the regional mountains are sacrificed to the skiing industry.
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