There are phenomena, buildings and customs in Tirol which might seem strange at first sight – but they exist.
1. A Tirolean municipality for which other Tiroleans need a passport
Although Jungholz is a Tirolean municipality, it is situated in Bavaria and you can only reach it using a German road. Strictly seen, other Tiroleans need a passport to visit Jungholz, except they are brave enough to cross the 1636-metre-high summit of Sorgschrofens – this is the only territorial connection to Tirol. If this has not confused you enough yet, then take a look at the postcode of the municipality Jungholz with its 300 inhabitants and 700 guest beds – it has an Austrian and a German one!
2. A cemetery where you will die of laughter
Usually, people cry at this kind of place, however, at this cemetery people can’t help laughing – and that’s alright, because at the Tirol Cemetery Museum in Kramsach, grave inscriptions from all over Tirol have been put together exactly for this reason. At first sight it may seem disrespectful of the dead, but in former times it made sense, because humour was supposed to alleviate sorrow. Besides, the inscriptions also give away some dicey details about the deceased person – details which these persons might have wanted to take to their grave.
3. A temple built out of Tirolean stones
At the waterfront of the Hundstalsee lake, a small mountain lake above the Inzinger alpine pasture, Heinz Triendl and Rober Tribus built a temple out of stones from the surrounding area without using any cementing material at all. The name of the temple is Apollon – the God of Art from Greek mythology. The construction was illegal, but still the artists managed to continue building the temple. In total, it took them 22 years. Now, the temple has finally been recognised as a piece of art and is legally allowed to remain where it is. It has become a popular place for pilgrims from all over the world.
4. A mouse which lives on the Großglockner
Some time ago, a mouse was spotted on the summit of the Großglockner at 3798 m. On the internet, you can even find a video to proof this. Due to the fact, that the mouse was supposedly spotted more than once, people assume that it had settled there. Never before had a mouse been sighted at such an altitude in the Alps. But it is theoretically possible, because snow voles can survive at an altitude as high as 4,000 metres. These mice, however, only have a life expectancy of 18 months, so probably the “Glockner mouse” has already died. We don’t know (yet) if the mouse has any descendants.
5. A prawn whose home is Tirol
There are so many delicious Tirolean products. When you think of these products, prawns are not the first thing that come to your mind. And yet, the Tirolean Alpine prawns, cultured in Hall in Tirol, are a real delicacy. Without any chemical additives, without antibiotics and only with the addition of premium-quality sea salt, the Alpine prawns thrive in the Tirolean spring water. Who would have thought that!
6. The half-built house
On your way to the Rosengartenschlucht gorge in Imst, you will walk past unique houses. Probably because of reasons of space, the houses were only half-built directly along the mountain rock, some of the houses even have subterranean rooms. The “Imster Bergl”, as they call this mountain rock in the middle of the town, is the remaining part of a conglomerate of river gravel and is about 25,000 years old.
7. An airport where not everyone is allowed to land
Innsbruck’s airport is a very special one and not everyone is allowed to land here – at least not every pilot of a plane, because pilots require additional training in a flight simulator and an instruction flight with a flight instructor. The reason for this is the special topography of Tirol, and especially because of the often strong Foehn wind in Innsbruck, the pilots require special skills in order to safely start and land a plane here.
8. A lake which comes and goes whenever it wants
You have to be lucky if you want to have a swim in the Lottensee lake. This recurring mountain lake by Seefeld comes and goes whenever it wants. It is made up out of subterraneous melt water. It probably depends on the amount of snow during the winter – if there is enough melt water, the lake fills up in the spring. However, there is no proof up until now. So, maybe it just depends on the mood of the lake.
9. The upside-down house
In the municipality of Terfens, there is a house where the ceiling is on the bottom and the floor is on the top. All the furniture seems to be stuck to the ceiling. Even the old Volkswagen Beetle is hanging from the ceiling in the garage. An unusual house that invites you to see ordinary things from a different perspective. This upside-down house is definitely worth a visit!
10. A boat excursion in a place you would never have expected
The Tirolean Walter Gfader has an unusual hobby. He loves spending his leisure time in a rubber raft on the Tirolean mountain lakes. When he climbs a mountain with his large backpack, other hikers often wonder what Walter is carrying on his back. When he is pumping up his boat next to the lake, many people hardly believe their eyes.
Next time you are hiking and see something strange floating in one of the mountain lakes, then don’t worry! It isn’t anything extraterrestrial – it’s just Walter, enjoying his leisure time.
11. Count Dracula at Ambras Castle
During the 16th century, Archduke Ferdinand II. collected pictures of extraordinary people. And that’s why the only worldwide preserved portrait of Woiwoden Vlad Tepes, better known as Count Dracula, is not in Rumania but in Innsbruck. Count Dracula was a Rumanian emperor, who loved to impale criminals and enemies. It was a lot later when he was described as a vampire in a novel. The portrait has been in the possession of Ambras Castle, which by the way is believed to be the oldest museum worldwide, and you can see the portrait in the Chamber of Arts and Wonders.