The transhumance of sheep to Axams

Where: Axams; when: 6 September

Every year in Axams, on 6 September, it is possible to experience a tradition preserved in its original form. On this day, over 1,000 brown and white sheep return to their autumn and winter quarters from summer pastures high in the Fotscher Valley. Upon the healthy return of the animals, the people of Axams hold a big event to celebrate this exhausting "transhumance".

Transhumance is an old method of rural farming that is still practised today. It refers to animals being led to new pastures, sometimes over very long distances, and it is particularly common in the mountains. In Axams, the transhumance is referred to as the "Almabtrieb" and it takes place on the same day every year: 6 September. It is a wonderful event and an impressive display of how alpine farming is still maintained and nurtured in our modern times.

Mills

Mills were once one of the most important establishments in rural areas. After all, this was where flour was ground to make bread, which was the staple food for the agrarian society of the time. Two mills in the Innsbruck region are still operational and open for visitors.

Hinterlocher Mill in Oberellbögen

This historic mill is situated on the edge of a romantic forest and powered by a small mountain stream. Grain is still ground there by the mill farmers of Oberellbögen today. Milling demonstrations can be watched during a visit to the mill and are particularly great for children. The demonstrations are usually followed by a small, home-baked snack in front of the mill.

Silz Mill

The old mill in Silz is located, as you would expect, on Oberen Mühlweg (Upper Mill Road). The old building that was home to the former mill was restored by the Association of Nativity Scene Builders of Silz and, above all, Pepi Sonnweber. A bread baking day is held every first Saturday of the month. The former mill also offers guided tours and has a small mill museum, making it an interesting attraction for people of all ages.

[Translate to Englisch:] Blog Mühlen

Zachäussingen in Zirl

Where: Zirl; when: 3rd Sunday in October, start: 4.30 am; UNESCO intangible cultural heritage

The church festival in Zirl is a very special event. It starts at 4.30 am when the powerful bells of the parish church ring out to call the faithful to worship. Although it may still feel like the middle of the night, the time for sleep is over. The tradition of the "Zachäussingen" involves people gathering to sing the "Zachäuslied" and it was originally intended to instil fear in the slovenly people, thus converting and proselytising them. After two verses of the Zachäusliedes, however, follows the somewhat more uplifting church festival song – and then there's no stopping it: the music continues and people start dancing in the streets. There is also no lack of food and drink, as special "Kirtagskrapfen" (parcels of stuffed fried dough) are served throughout the village.

The Procession of Saint Giles in Igls

Where: Igls; when: Sunday after 1 September


In the village of Igls, residents go above and beyond the usual celebrations when it comes to honouring the patron saint of their local church. They do so by holding a grand procession through the village streets. The houses are decorated with flags and the procession stops off at a total of four altars that are constructed especially for the occasion.

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