The Bayern

pillaged Schwaz


"FIRE", "HELP", "IT'S BURNING!", "SAVE YOURSELF, WHO CAN!", "CHILDREN, RUNS!", "MR. HELP!", "LOOK - NOW IS BURNING THE NEXT HOUSE", - the drama must have been indescribable, on this fateful May 15, 1809. At 16 clock rose first smoke columns on Schwaz, on May 17, the place was a single, huge fire ruin. As far as Munich, the firelight above Schwaz and Vomp was visible at night. 304 buildings (including the Tannenberg Palace, the mountain directorate building, the new schoolhouse, the citizen hospital), two churches (hospital church and Bruderhauskirche), 97 barns and cowsheds, the meat bank, six grain magazines and a malting dungeon, together 411 buildings, fell victim to the fire. Two important objects were spared from the Feuersturn: the Franciscan monastery - the flaming hell had already worked its way to the monastery walls, then suddenly turned the wind (which was then classified as "miracle") - and the parish church of the Assumption. It was - let's face it - a Bavarian, one of the most destructive enemies, who saved this unique structure. The flames had already reached the transition from the (burning) Palais Enzenberg ("Grafenbogen") into the parish church. Said soldier put out the still small fire - the church was spared.

Schwazer Altstadt


Napoleon's troops,


Right! - But the neighbors of the Tyroleans, they were actually - as descendants of the Bavarians - even tribal brothers - had become Napoleon's brothers and been royally rewarded for it. Austria, England and Russia had suffered a severe defeat in 1805 at the Battle of Austerlitz against the Napoleonic troops. At the Peace of Pressburg, Tyrol and Vorarlberg fell to Bavaria, which had joined Napoleon due to French pressure and then rose to the kingdom. And so the Bavarian flag also fluttered in Tyrol from 1806 to 1814 (except in the months of 1809 when the enemies were thrown out of the country). The occupiers then began to implement a series of unpopular reforms. The traditional self-government was abolished (even the name "Tyrol" disappeared), the central government banned traditional customs, introduced the general conscription, also Tyrolean recruits for Napoleon's army should be excavated. In short - the fuse for the following wars of liberation was laid. All the more so, as even the Tyroleans had not dealt with the enemies of their time in previous arms attacks and incursions in Bavaria and the mutual hatred was therefore great.

Back to the destiny days of May 1809. At that time General Wrede pulled with an army, which included 12,000 to 15,000 men (of it at least 4000 man Kavallerie) fire-savingly through the Unterinntal direction Schwaz. There, the intruders met with fierce resistance. Dr. Hans Seewald ("The fire of Schwaz") describes the dramatic hours: "Three times the Bavarians stormed through the main street of the village Schwaz up to the Lahnbach position near the parish church, just as often they had to go back. Every house seemed transformed into a small citadel, the windows were the loopholes from which they fired, and from the roofs it rained a hail of stones. Only a fourth rush made Wrede the market master. (...) While Wrede and his officers held a blessing at the Schnapperwirtshaus in the village, his soldiers, embittered by fierce resistance and great losses, began plundering a scale they rarely saw. The Bavarians roamed the streets, penetrated all the houses, searched all the inhabitants from head to foot, tore off the clothes they liked. They ravaged the Palais Tannenberg as well as the wretched and miserable miners' huts. Where Bayern ran into a girl's hands, it was mistreated. Many who resisted or tried to flee were completely undressed and hunted through the streets of the market naked as fair-game. Numerous women and girls were outraged in the middle of the streets and squares, dragged over a hundred girls to the Bavarian camp in Vomp and raped there. "It should be noted that Wrede of Count Tannenberg several thousand gulden ransom and promised to protect the market would have. Obviously, Wrede never thought of conservation, because Bavarian soldiers later told that they had strict orders to set the place on fire. The consequences of the fire are reflected in the population development. In 1808 the market Schwaz counted 7500 inhabitants, in 1810 only 3869th In the statistics of 1828 even only 3008 inhabitants. Thank God - times have changed, Bayern and Tyrol have long been good friends again ...

According to Seewald, the fire of 1809 survived in the former business and commercial district only to the 15 houses unscathed. And - this brings us back to the beginning - the parish church.

Schwazer Pfarrkirche

It is the largest Gothic hall church in Tyrol. Paddling, not messing was announced at construction time, Schwaz was not only the largest city in Tyrol at the heyday of mining (about 20,000 inhabitants), but also the second largest in today's Austria. Innsbruck, then capital, counted a measly 5000 inhabitants.

The special architecture of the church goes back to the population explosion of that time. The three-aisled hall church built in the years from 1460 to 1478 under the direction of Hans Mitterhofer and his son Gilg turned out to be much too small after only a few years, and so in 1490 the decision to enlarge it was made. The Munich-based architect and sculptor Erasmus Grasser had the brilliant idea of ​​docking the nave with the same size, resulting in four ships - with the two aisles. In addition, the Mitterhofer church was extended by two yokes. The two main ships were not only an architectural feature - they also corresponded to the then social structure of the place: there was no single municipal administration, but the miners subject to a mountain judge and the not working in the mine citizens who were subordinate to the district judge. The northern longship was reserved for the citizens, the south choir for the miners. Obviously, both groups were not even particularly green in the church - along the middle row of columns, a 1.5-meter high wooden partition was installed. The wooden wall is long since removed and - unfortunately - also the Gothic, 18 meters high high age of the Nuremberg artist Veith shock, which today would be guaranteed World Heritage Site. 1166 guilders had given him the Schwazer cash on hand. He fell victim to the Baroque era of the church. At the beginning of the 20th century, the church was again regottisiert, from this period (1910) is the neo-Gothic main altar.

Entering the church through the main entrance on the impressive west facade, which closes Franz-Josef-Straße like a huge backdrop, the baptismal font made of Kramsacher marble (1470) is the first eye-catcher. The Baroque organ prospectus, the remains of the Gothic glass windows and the new ones by Prof. Fred Hochschwarzer (1914-1990), the side altars (the seated Madonna on the Firmian altar dates from the 15th century), the Kreuzaltar, the Fürstenchörl with the 14 coats of arms of the countries by Emperor Charles V, the epitaph for Ulrich Fugger and Hans Dreyling, the marble grave plates for Christian Tänzl and Anna Hofer - there is much to see in the Schwazer parish church. On special occasions, a climb to the five-story attic is possible. A whole forest was beaten for it at Telfs. And covered is the church with 15,000 copper plates, in the tunnels Schwazer - 500 kilometers, the tunnel network is to be a total of long - was so far more copper, namely 70 times as much as silver mined. Note: this copper load on the roof of the parish church weighs about 150 tons and - it should also be mentioned:

2,657 gold-plated

Golden Dachls


Oh yes - and there are still the two towers. The original tower hangs one meter to the north, as early as 1558 was recorded that he is "damaged and shaken". Since the Central Commission banned ringing in Vienna in 1904, a new tower was built on the east corner of the cemetery (today's city park) in 1910/1911, which now houses the bell (including the famous "Maria Maximiliana", cast in 1503 by Peter Löffler). it is one of the largest historical bells in Tyrol).

A sacred gem is the parish church in the north upstream, two-storey death chapel. Above the back porch is a tablet from 1506, which shows us our transience. "Here we are all the same, noble, knight poor and rich," is there to read. Toads, a lizard and a snake - as symbols of decay - are chiseled out of the stairs to the upper "Veitskapelle". In the chapel with the altar erected in 1511 stands the most magnificent late gothic work that has survived in Schwaz. The creator was the Allgäu carver Christoph Scheller.

And another "cultivation" should be mentioned: the "Count House", ie the Palais Enzenberg, to which yes - in lofty heights - through the "Grafenbogen" mentioned above, a direct access to the church or to the organ loft leads. Through this 1520-built gang reached the members of the family Tänzl, in whose possession the palace was then, dry feet her chair in the gallery. We are talking about that corridor in which the first flames of tongues were already burning, which were extinguished by an enemy ...

@ Peter Hörhager

Stadtführung im Dachstuhl