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Schwaz

During the 16th century, this busy commercial town in the Inn river valley was the second largest in the Tyrol. Schwaz suffered extensive damage during the battle of 1809, but it has preserved some lovely historic sights. The most impressive of these is the 15th-century Pfarrkirche, with its high coppershingled tower and beautiful, crenellated gables. The most striking elements inside are the stone balustrade of the gallery with intricate lacework (c.1520) and an impressive Baroque organ enclosure. The figures of St Anne, St Ursula and St Elizabeth on the altarpiece are original Gothic decorations. The statues of St George and St Florian, the patron saints of Austria, were added at a later date. The double cemetery chapel (1504—7) has a lovely covered staircase leading to the upper chapel, which has a carved wooden altar. The lower chapel has original 16th-century frescoes depicting the Crucifixion and the Mount of Olives. The late-Gothic Franziskanerkirche, the Franciscan church and monastery, has retained its original Gothic interior, clearly visible despite Baroque additions made in the 18th century. The cloister along the south wall of the church was built in 1509—12 by Christof Reichartinger; it shows a series of 16th-century paintings with Passion scenes. Schwaz was once a major centre for the production of silver, and one of the mines, the Silberbergwerk, is now open to the public and can be explored by train and a guided tour on foot.

Schwaz Photo Gallery

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