Lienz Tourist Attractions
Lienz, chief town of a district in East Tirol, lies in a wide basin in the valley of the Drau, which is joined here by its much larger tributary the Isel. To the south rear the rugged Lienz Dolomites. Thanks to its location on the road from the Glockner to Carinthia and the Italian Dolomites, and as the gateway to the valleys on the southern side of the Tauern, the town is busy with tourists. Lienz, probably inhabited years before by the Illyrians, was named Luenza around the year 1100, and received its town charter in 1252. From the 13th C. until 1500 it was owned by the Counts of Görz, whose seat was at Schloss Bruck from 1271 onwards. In 1501 the town and the castle were acquired by the Counts of Wolkenstein-Rodenegg.
The core of the old town, which extends along the banks of the Isel, is formed by the Hauptplatz, with the St Florian fountain. The square is dominated by the Liebburg, a mansion with two towers built in the 17th C. as a residence for the Counts of Wolkenstein and now converted into local government offices.
At the eastern end of the Lienz Hauptplatz stands the old Mortuary Chapel (Friedhofskapelle; originally 16th C.), a small building preceded by a round tower.
In Muchargasse in Lienz, which leads from Johannesplatz to the Neuer Platz, is the Franciscan Church (Franziskanerkirche), an aisleless church (altered in the 15th C.) with a Gothic "pietà" and medieval frescos; in the cloister are 18th C. wall paintings.
In Lienz, Schweizergasse leads from the Neur Platz west to the Klöstele Church (partly 13th C.) of the restored Dominican Convent; opposite in an old wooden house is the Klösterle Smithy, and open air museum since 1966.
Parish Church of St Andrä
On higher ground on the north bank of the Isel in Lienz stands the parish church of St Andrä, the finest Gothic building in East Tirol (consecrated in 1457); the choir was altered in the 18th C. By the organ loft lie the tombstones, both of red Adnet marble, of burgraves belonging to the Görz-Tirol and Wolkenstein families. The beautiful organ loft dates from 1616. The winged altars were the work of Friedrich Pacher (end of 15th C.) and the wooden crucifix in the right side altar dates from 1500.
Parish Church of St Andrä - Memorial Chapel
The whole Parish church of St Andrä churchyard in Lienz is surrounded by arcades with wall paintings. The Memorial Chapel (Totenkapelle; by Clemens Holzmeister, 1925) commemorating citizens of Lienz who died in the First World War contains four fine murals by Albin Egger-Lienz (1868-1928), who was born near Lienz and is buried in the chapel.
Schloss Bruck (724m/2,375ft; restaurant) in Lienz, built in the 13th C., with a massive keep, and enlarged in the 16th C., stands proudly on a wooded hill west of the town (1.5km/1mi from the Hauptplatz). For a time it was the seat of the Counts of Görz (Gorizia), from whom it passed to the Habsburgs in 1500. Since 1943 it has housed the East Tirol local museum (Heimatmuseum). On display are works by local artists, in particular paintings by the genre painter Franz Defregger (1835-1921) and Albin Egger-Lienz, who often chose the Tirol region and its people as the theme of his pictures. The museum also exhibits folk and natural history collections (including minerals from the mountains of East Tirol). The two story chapel is completely covered with wall paintings (1485). The imposing tower contains flags and weapons; from the top there is a fine view over the town.
To the south of Lienz, between the Drau and Gail valleys, rise the Lienz Dolomites, the northwestern part of the Gailtal Alps. Their imposing peaks, among the finest in the Austrian Alps, offer ample scope for climbers, scramblers and rock climbers, with great walls of rock rising straight up from the Drau valley.
Behind the Laserzwand (2,614m/8,577ft) rears the Grosse Sandspitze (2,772m/9,095ft), the highest peak in the whole range. To the east towers the massive Hochstadel (2,680m/8,793ft), with a north face 1,500m/4,900ft high. To the west of the Grosse Sandspitze are the Spitzkofel (2718m/8919ft) and Kreuzkofel (2694m/8839ft).
There are many well located mountain huts providing accommodation for tourists. Some five hours climb southwards from Lienz is the Kerschbaumeralm-Schutzhaus (1,902m/6,240ft; inn in summer), from which the Spitzkofel can be climbed (3.5 hours; not difficult for experienced climbers). To the east lies the Karlsbader Hütte (2,260m/7,415ft; inn in summer), in a mighty rock cirque containing two lakes; from here it is an easy one hour's climb to the Laserzwand, with impressive views down into the valleys.
North of Lienz and to the south of the Grossglockner area towers the Schober group, a massif over 3,200m/10,500ft high between the Isel and Möll valleys (Petzeck, 3,283m/10,772ft; Roter Knopf, 3,281m/10,765ft; Hochschober, 3,240m/10,630ft), with jagged peaks, finely shaped corries, many small lakes and numerous névé (permanent snow) glaciers.
In the middle of a network of paths stands the Lienzer Hütte (1,977m/6,487ft; inn in summer), some five hours north of Lienz on the Debantbach. From here there is an easy climb (2.5 hours) to the Wangenitzsee (2,508m/8,229ft; hut), to the north of which, on the Wiener Höhenweg, lie the Adolf- Nossberger-Hütte (2,488m/8,163ft) and the Elberfelder Hütte (2,346m/7,697ft), both with inn facilities in summer.
Map of Lienz Attractions