Schwaz Tourist Attractions
Schwaz (535m/1,755ft; pop. 10,900) lies 28km/17mi northeast of Innsbruck, mainly on the southern bank of the Inn. From the 15th to the 17th century the town flourished thanks to its silver and copper mines. Today it is a popular tourist center, with excursions to Innsbruck, the Zillertal and the Achensee.
In Schwaz's Stadtplatz, near the bridge, stands the Late Gothic Fuggerhaus (turrets with oriel windows, arcaded courtyard), a relic of the days when the great merchant family of the Fuggers played the leading role in the mining and precious metals trade of Schwaz.
The Schwaz parish church, built in the second half of the 15th C., is the largest Gothic hall church in Tirol, roofed with 15,000 plates of beaten copper. Opposite the tall tower will be found a mortuary chapel with carved decoration (1506). The interior of the church is Baroque (1728-30), with four aisles (reticulated vaulting) and two choirs; the northern half was for the townspeople, the southern half for the miners. In the left-hand choir stands the Gothic high altar, while the right-hand one boasts three vividly colored stained glass windows of 1962. The Baroque St Anne's Altar in the south aisle has a beautiful 16th C. group of the Virgin and Child with St Anne. In the gallery is a tripartite organ.
To the east of the Schwaz parish church, higher up, stands the Franciscan Church, a Gothic hall-church (no tower) of 1515, with Roccoco ornament in the vaulting, pulpit and altars (1736) and modern windows in the choir. In the cloister (decorated with coats of arms) can be seen a striking series of 22 wall paintings of the Passion, painted in 1512-26 and restored 1937-44).
Sigmund-Erb-Stollen Silver Mine
About 1km/0.5mi east of Schwaz the former Sigmund-Erb-Stollen (silver mine) has been fitted out as a show mine. A mine railroad carries visitors into the mountain (about 800m/870yds), from where a guide takes them on a tour lasting about 45 minutes, showing them the working conditions endured by miners in the Middle Ages and more recently.
Above Schwaz to the southeast towers Burg Freundsberg (707m/2,320ft), the ancestral castle of the Frundsberg family, to which the famous mercenary leader Georg von Frundsberg (1473-1528) belonged. The castle is first recorded about 1100. The keep now houses a local museum.The castle is set atop a hill, and neighbours a quaint little church.
To the southeast of Schwaz rises the Kellerjoch (2,344m/7,691ft); there is a cableway to the Arbeser (1,880m/6,168ft), then an hour's climb to the ridge of the Kellerjoch.
Fiecht Benedictine Abbey
On the northern bank of the Inn, beyond the motorway, is the site of the Benedictine abbey of Fiecht, moved here from the St Georgenberg in 1706. From Fiecht a steep and narrow road climbs 5km/3mi to the St Georgenberg (895m/2,936ft), with its pilgrimage church of 1733, picturesquely situated above the Stallental. 2km/1.25mi south of the abbey, on the banks of the Inn, nestles the village of Vomp, with Schloss Sigmundslust (15th C.).