OBERGURGL-HOCHGURGL „THEN AND NOW
Records show that in 1840 the first visitors came to Gurgl, mainly researchers and landscape painters who stayed at the „Haus Kuraten". Before the 1st World War there were already 14 farms in Gurgl - (the highest parish in Europe) and the land was cultivated.
In 1931 the Swiss physics Professor Auguste Piccard and his assistant Paul Kipfer were forced to make an emergency landing with a stratospheric balloon on the Gurgler glacier. This news hit the world press and the village of Gurgl became well-known.
In 1939 Gurgl's appearance changed due to the influx of tourists. Out of the few farms the two villages of Obergurgl and Untergurgl developed and later the third village of Hochgurgl.
Today Obergurgl-Hochgurgl has 4.230 guest beds and hosts annually approx. 100.000 guests. The majority of the visitors come from Germany, Great Britain, Austria and the Benelux Countries.
THE MAN FROM THE ICE
The 5,300-year-old hunter´s perfectly preserved body was discovered in a melting glacier in the Tirolean Alps in 1991. The frozen body was remarkably well preserved and still clad in primitive clothing, including an animal hide coat and grass cape. It is believed he belonged to an agricultural community. An indication that the annual sheep drive from South Tirol / Italy across the main alpine ridge to the upper Oetztal valley has a thousands of years of tradition. Countless investigations during the last 13 years have brought to light findings and resting places from the Neolithic Age. The Ötztal "Urweg" trail invites you to go an a journey through time and discovery!
THE ÖTZTAL URWEG TRAIL
from Obergurgl to Langtalereck at the Karlsruherhütte mountain hut (2420m)
Analyses of pollen from the Gurgl pasture, where today shepherd Alfons tends his goats and sheep, have proved that already 4300 years before Christ the pastures were cultivated. Scientists of the Innsbruck University found traces of pasture cultivation at Langtalereck near Karlsruherhütte hut dating between 4360-4510 before Christ. This points out that already 6000 years ago herders from South Tirol walked their sheep across the Gurgl Eisjoch into Oetztal valley. Copper steles along these old paths invite today´s hikers to take a rest and reflect on the beauty and peacefulness of our surroundings.
Archeological Loop Trail - A Prehistoric Journey
Since the summer of 2002 archeological excavations are being made at the Gurgl Beilstein (2177m) on the initiative of Professor Gernot Patzelt, head of the Alpine Research Station in Obergurgl. Findings of silex, firestones and arrowheads, showed that this resting place was already used 1000 years ago by herders.
A new archeological loop trail up Beilstein (trail no. 9, 9a and 37) takes you on a prehistoric journey through time. Find traces of the past at the Gurgl mountain hut, or at the "Hollow Stone" above Vent, an ancient resting place of hunters and herdsmen. The Oetzidorf (Iceman Village) in Umhausen also provides a good insight into Alpine prehistory.