Hall in Tirol – streets, lanes and houses – Part I

Hall in Tirol - view from the mint tower of castle Hasegg
Hall in Tirol – view from the mint tower of castle Hasegg

 Hall in Tirol

Hall in Tirol - coat of arms
Hall in Tirol – coat of arms

The name of Hall originates from “hal” which was the old German word for salt. The town is situated at 574 m above sea level and covers an area of 5.54 km2. Its population is  12,517 habitants (1 January 2010) which gives a density of 2,259  habitants/km².

Website http://www.hall-wattens.at/en/

Hall in Tirol is a town in the Innsbruck-Land district of Tyrol, Austria. It is situated in the Inn valley, about 5 km (3 mi) east of the state’s capital Innsbruck.

  History

Hall in the County of Tyrol was first mentioned as a salina (saltern) near Thaur castle in a 1232 deed. The current name dates back to 1256, similar to Halle, Schwäbisch Hall or Hallstatt referring to the Celtic word for salt. In 1303 Hall became a town and in 1477 it got the right of coinage.

Since the 13th century the salt mine at Absam in the Hall Valley north of the town formed the main industry of the town and its surroundings. The first adit was laid out in 1272 at the behest of Count Meinhard II of Tyrol, with the brine led by a 10 km (6 mi) long pipeline to the evaporation pond at Hall. The importance of the salt is also displayed in the coat of arms showing two lions holding a cask of salt. The salt was exported to Switzerland and some regions in Germany.

The old town of Hall is one of the world’s largest preserved ensamble of historical buildings and the largest in Western Austria. It was here that salt was turned into gold.

Hall in Tirol is my latest photo project. Click on the pic for more...
Schlossergasse in summer

10 Milions tons of salt were mined in the Hall valley. It was transported along the river Inn making Hall the center of medieval trade in early Europe. The sound of horseshoes and wheels clatter on coblestones, wooden doors creak on their hinges, bells ring in the church towers and neighbours chat from window to window across narrow lanes.

Ships could go no further than Hall, and the “stacking law” forced merchants to unload their goods and offer them for sale in town. This produced good incomes , but also the trouble of dealing with currencies from near and far. In 1477 Arciduke Sisigmund,also known as “Sisigmund the Rich” moved the royal mint from Meran in South Tirol to Hall. His decision to have the first thaler – the Haller gulden, that was minted in 1486 was a real stroke of genius. The precious silver coin not only gave the dollar its name but was also the precursor of the euro. By introducing the coin, Sisigmund no longer depended on the expensive inport of gold. The silver mined in Schwaz was used to make coins which were in great demand well beyond the borders of the province.

This naturally led to economic uprising of the town and the province of Tyrol. The coins bearing the princes’ names and portraits travelled the world , promoting the public image of the rulers. They had great propaganda potential.

To improve security, Archduke Ferdinand II moved the mint from the Old Town to the fortified Hasegg castle in 1567, situated on the southern edge of the town. The mint tower , the highest tower in the castle could be seen from afar and became the symbol of power and riches – not only of the town of Hall but but also of the province Tyrol.

You can enter the old town of Hall from many sides, but I had my eye on this street for awhile.On the left , you can see the fortificated wall of Schloß Rainegg. The old corner house, situated at the crossing of the two streets is called  Nagglburg .

Waldaufstraße,Nagglburg, Salvatorgasse, Hall in Tirol , summer
Waldaufstraße,Nagglburg, Salvatorgasse, Hall in Tirol , summer

I took the right street called “Salvatorgasse”.  The street was originally called “Marktgasse”,  because of the market located here from the mid 13 century.  Its name changed to “Salvatorgasse” in 1890 when the St. Salvator church took fire.  It’s fascinating to find yourself in the deserted narrow streets covered with coblestones and houses with thick and uneven walls, small windows and gates big enough to let midgets pass. And let your imagination flow.

I was wondering…what this little door on the third floor could have been used for? Suicide attempts?

You can see it from the previous photo, but what’s luring in those side streets is sometimes really unexpected. An award winning young tailor. http://www.manufaktur-herzblut.com/. Decadence – tirolean style 😀

Further down the same street , a mom with her toddler were the only sign of life, aswell as two kids playing basketball in a side alley.

The Salvatorgasse ends by a crossing of several streets among which the Langer Graben, Schmiedgasse  and Shergentorgasse. At their intersection can be found a small square with the Sigismund, Archduke of Austria fountain.

Fountain of Sigismund, Archduke of Austria
Fountain of Sigismund, Archduke of Austria

Schlossergasse and Schmiedgasse are converging by a still existing blacksmith. These two lanes are named after old guilds. “Schlosser”  are locksmiths and “Schmid” are blacksmiths. “Der Geld tötet global” – Money kills worldwide.

Geld tötet, facade , Schmiedgasse, Hall in Tirol

After crossing the square and continuing straight there is another jewel in the crown of Hall – the Shergentorgasse . Vaulted arches, faded painted facades and metal bars from long gone times are still to be seen . The Shergentorgasse – Shergentor or Henchmann’s Gate was the name of the gate through which the prisonners were led on their way to execution. You can still picture it very well, standing between the austere gray stone walls of this tiny street.

Returning to the “Langer Graben” on the way to the old town main square , I  took left on the steep way up of  “Kurzer Graben“. Open side doors will give you a glance into antique furnished interiors or hidden countryards where fluffy white cats peak through mosquito nets. I am dying to visit a house , any house,  just to admire all the treasures that its owners have gathered through the centuries. Sneak peaks through open doors and lit windows make me want to see more.

Langer Graben
Langer Graben
Rosengasse / Roses lane
Rosengasse / Roses lane
Vintage sign still standing. Isn't this fantastic?
Vintage sign still standing. Isn’t this fantastic?
Hidden entrances, Hall in Tirol

Fuchshaus – first owned by a ship builder from Bavaria , who used it as corn depot. It was overtaken in 1830 by the cook family Fuchs, who prepared here their famous “haller törtchen” – pastries.

Fuchshaus, Hall in Tirol

By a cafe, turn right , and right again, by the Salt mining museum ( Bergbaumuseum ) left and there you are , you arrived at the main square or “Oberer Stadtplatz” through an off-the-beaten path.

Oberer Stadtplatz, Hall in Tirol

Read more Hall in Tirol – the main square – part II

For the lovers of urban exploration, there are these two abandonned houses on Guarinonigasse. Actually the orange house has been meanwhile restored and will soon host a lawyer in its parterre. The street and the mosaic on the facade of the second house were dedicated to doctor of the convent  – Dr. Hippolytus Guarinoni (1571-1654) . The house itself has been used as city court (if I remember right).

Abandonned houses , Hall in Tirol

The streets of the old town are used in summer for open air theater performances.Also several movies have recently have been filmed here.

Originally an aristocratic estate, the Aniserwirt was between 1700 and 1900 a beer brewery. Today it’s a guest house.
It is located at the corner of Schulgasse and Schlossergasse.
http://www.qype.at/place/164324-Gasthaus-Aniser-Braeu-Hall-in-Tirol

Aniserbräu

The gates and doors of Hall are mesmerizing. And none ressembles the next.

Somewhere in the woods, between Wiesenhöfe and Rinn, you can still find this trail sign dating from the period 1959/60, when Hall was named Solbad-Hall.

Solbad Hall - the name of Hall in Tirol in 1959/60
Solbad Hall – the name of Hall in Tirol in 1959/60

Can you tell i have found my very own Disneyland? 😀

See more posts on Hall in Tirol here.

Useful links around Hall

Shopping in Hall

a video tour through the streets of Hall

Take a virtual walk through the old town of Hall – in german

the history of Hall through the centuries – in German

Stadtmarketing Hall in Tirol

List of castles and ruins in Tirol

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5 thoughts on “Hall in Tirol – streets, lanes and houses – Part I

  1. Dear Anna – I lived in Solbad Hall as it used to be called in 1959/1960 when I was 8/9 years old. I am now 62 and a born citizen of several generations of the USA. My parents/father decided to move to Europe in 1959 for some long forgotten reason. Hall is a true treasure – I have travelled back several times. Thank you for uploading these images. My brother and I used to have violin lessons on the second floor of the “town hall” building. They make me cry with a homesickness with my “foreign country”. It is indeed a wonderful town. HJK.

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