Galtür is a municipality with 766 inhabitants (as of January 1,
2020) in the district of Landeck, Tyrol (Austria). The main line of
business is tourism due to its location in the Alps. Since April 22,
1997, Galtür has been the first official climatic health resort in
all of Tyrol.
The Rhaeto-Romanic, Alemannic and Bavarian-Tyrolean cultures overlap in Galtür. It was settled by the Engadines from the south, the Walsers and Vorarlbergers from the west and by Tyroleans from the east.
The Romanesque settlers who occupied the alpine pastures around the then still marshy valley floor at the confluence of the Vermuntbach and Jambach rivers had - as can be seen from the founding records of Schuls monastery from 1089/96 - interest obligations (cheese interest) towards landlords in the Lower Engadine and in the Vinschgau, which lasted over 700 years. The cultivation work of the Engadines is still remembered today with the name Galtür (Cultura). There was a close connection with the Engadine. For example, mule tracks and cart paths over the Silvretta passes were created at altitudes between 2500 m and 2800 m, which testify to lively trade.
Around 1300 the immigration took place through immigrant Walser from the Montafon, who were welcome by the Rhaeto-Romanic landlords. As late as the 19th century, the Churretian-Graubünden, Walser and Upper Tyrolean influences are said to have been recognizable in the speech and physiognomy of the locals.
Galtür was looted during the Thirty Years' War. The church and many houses went up in flames. The village has not recovered from this damage for a long time and the accrued tax debt was not waived until 1645.
In the 18th
century, “far-sighted” pastors made Galtür a well-known place of
pilgrimage. In the years 1776 to 1778, the church was redesigned
into the baroque building that still exists today with the help of
private donations. A “soul federation” founded in 1722, which still
exists today, made a significant contribution to this.
The first streets leading through the Paznaun were built in the 19th century. As a result, Galtür was discovered by many travelers. At that time Galtür still consisted of a church, an inn and 7 to 8 huts and could be described as very poor. With the new connection cheap food became available, prices fell and the mountain farmers continued to become impoverished. At times the ancient paths and high passes were used as smugglers' paths to ensure bare survival.
The mountain climbers who were enthusiastic about the Silvretta were on the up again. The first hotel soon followed the construction of the Jamtalhütte. With the tourists came new life and prosperity to the valley. From the middle of the 20th century, the community developed from an agricultural community to a tourist community with a focus on winter tourism. An early ski tourist was Ernest Hemingway, whose short story "An Alpine Idyll" Galtür is the setting.
The Paznaun has always been at a high risk of avalanches. Recent events are:
Avalanche disaster in Galtür: On February 23, 1999, Galtür was hit by an avalanche that claimed 31 lives. Due to heavy snowfall, the place was cut off from the outside world in February 1999; aid teams could only be flown in and holidaymakers out by helicopter.
On December 28, 1999, not far from the Jamtalhütte (2165 m), a group led by mountain guides from the DAV Summit Club was hit by an avalanche on the way back from the Rußkopf. 14 people were buried, 9 could only be rescued dead.