St. Johann in Tirol, called Sainihåns in the local dialect, is a market town with 9547 inhabitants (as of January 1, 2020) in the Austrian state of Tyrol in the Kitzbühel district. The community is located in the judicial district of Kitzbühel. In the regional dialect, the last syllable of the name is accented
St. Johann in Tirol is located in the Tiroler Unterland in the center of the Leukental. The municipality is located as a regional traffic junction and as the intersection of four valleys in a wide basin. In a north-south direction, the St. Johann basin is cut through by the Leukental, coming from the southeast the valley of the Fieberbrunner-Ache joins, to the west the Loferer Bundesstraße leads into the Sölllandl and to the north the Kössener Straße branches off over the Huber Höhe into the Kohlental from. To the north-west of St. Johann, the mountain range of the Wilder Kaiser forms a natural weather divide against Kufstein and Bavaria, in the south is the Kitzbüheler Horn, which is part of the Kitzbühel Alps. Due to the special basin location, Sankt Johann in Tirol is largely spared from the foehn storms feared in the Tyrolean Inn Valley, but receives extremely heavy snowfalls in winter due to the location on the south side of the Kaiser Mountains. The Kitzbüheler Ache, the Reither Ache and the Fieberbrunner Ache unite in the St. Johann basin to form the Großache, the main river of the Leukental, which flows into the Chiemsee in Bavaria as the Tiroler Achen. The town center lies at an altitude of 660 m above sea level. A., the highest point is the Mauckspitze in the Kaiser Mountains with a height of 2231 m above sea level. A. The municipality covers an area of 5915 hectares.
The place consists of the central main town and the surrounding districts Almdorf, Apfeldorf, Bärnstetten, Berglehen, Fricking, Hinterkaiser, Mitterndorf, Niederhofen, Oberhofen, Reitham, Rettenbach, Scheffau, Sperten, Taxa, Weiberndorf, Weitau, Winkl-Schattseite and Winkl-Sonnseite .
There are no archaeological finds from prehistoric times in St.
Johann, but in the southern part of the Leukental there was evidence
of Bronze Age mining as early as the Urnfield period around 1300 to
1100 BC, and from the 4th century BC the Celtic tribes of the
Ambisonts and alums copper mining. As early as the Bronze Age, a
mule track led through the basin of St. Johann as a connection from
the south via the Felbertauern to the Alpine foothills. From the 2nd
century BC the area belonged to the western foothills of the Celtic
kingdom of Noricum. The name of the hamlet of Sperten goes back to
Celtic language roots.
In 15 BC, the Romans conquered the Eastern Alps and the area now belonged to the Roman province of Noricum. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476, the region came to the Duchy of Bavaria in the course of the migration and the settling of the Germanic tribe of the Bavarians in the 6th and 7th centuries.
The field names Fricking, Schwentling, Obing and Reitham still remind us of the time of the Bavarian settlement. The Bavarian aristocratic family of the Liuchings, which goes back to a tribal leader named Liucho and to whom the Leukental owes its name, built up a county in the Leukental in the following centuries. The court seat for this county was at Leukenstein Castle at the foot of the Niederkaiser. It was probably destroyed by a landslide in the 13th century, which is why its exact location is no longer known today. The farm name Burgwies in the Bärnstetten district still reminds of the former residence.
From 1166 the Counts of Falkenstein appear as owners of the county in the Leukental. However, this powerful noble family died out in 1272. After that, the Leukental is no longer granted as a fief by the Bavarian duke and is subsequently administered by his officials. The seat of the court was moved from St. Johann to the city of Kitzbühel in 1297.
As early as the 8th century (probably before 738) missionaries built a baptismal church in the area of St. Johann, which was consecrated to John the Baptist and from which the name of the place is derived. The church of St. John was not mentioned in a document until 1150. The first mention of St. Johann as a parish or village community took place in the founding deed of the Chiemsee diocese in 1216, the hamlet of Apfeldorf was already mentioned earlier (around 1102–1104) in a traditional note from the Scheyern monastery as "Affoltrach in montanis videlicet in Liuchental" - that is expressly referred to as the “apple village in the Leukental”.
In the 12th and 13th centuries, another powerful noble family had extensive estates in the area of St. Johann. The Lords of Velben, who came from Oberpinzgau, owned a castle in the Rettenbach district. The farm names Oberbürg and Stallbürg still remind us today. Clearly visible traces of the terrain on a hill in the Rettenbach district of the Velben Castle, known as "Forchtenstein", have been preserved. In the immediate vicinity there was another castle, called Sperten, which was owned by the Count Palatine von Ortenburg and which is still remembered today by the court name Unterbürg.
With the first division of Bavaria, the area came to Upper Bavaria from 1255 to 1340, and due to the marriage of Countess Margarete von Tirol-Görz "Maultasch" with the Bavarian Duke Ludwig the Brandenburger as Margaret's widow estate from 1342 to 1369 to the County of Tyrol. 1392 with the third division of Bavaria to Bavaria-Ingolstadt and from 1447 to Bavaria-Landshut. Finally, in 1505, the rule of Kitzbühel was united with Tyrol under Emperor Maximilian I.
In 1446 the parish of St. Johann was placed directly under the Chiemsee bishops. St. Johann was their pastoral or summer residence until 1808.
With the opening of the copper and silver mining in 1540 at Rerobichl near Oberndorf, which at that time belonged to the municipality of St. Johann, the place achieved great wealth. In the 17th century, the Heilig-Geist-Schacht was the deepest shaft on earth at over 880 meters. Mining continued into the 18th century.
1621 St. Johann in Tirol becomes the seat of the deanery. In the 17th and 18th centuries, baroque cultural monuments were created, to which the place owes the nickname "Barockes St. Johann".
In 1786, through the Josephine parish regulation, the area to the right of the Fieberbrunner Ache (Winkl Sonnsteite, Reitham, Mitterndorf, Oberhofen, Niederhofen, Stopfenau) came from the parish of Kirchdorf to the parish of St. Johann.
During the Napoleonic Wars, the St. Johann riflemen also moved
out several times to defend the country under their captains Andreas
Augustinus Feller and Josef Hager from 1796 to 1805. Through the
Peace of Pressburg, Tyrol came to Bavaria in 1805, and the Tyrolean
riflemen began an uprising against Bavarian rule in 1809. In the
same year, the Tyrolean freedom fighter Joseph Speckbacher set up
his headquarters to defend the Unterland in the Gasthof zum Bären.
The St. Johann riflemen fight in the defense of the Strub pass and
under Captain Anton Georg Feller near Kufstein. In May 1809, Dean
Matthias Wieshofer saved the place from destruction by Bavarian and
In 1875 St. Johann was connected to the international railway network with the construction of the Giselabahn. An economic boom followed and tourism began.
Towards the end of the 19th century, the name "St. Johann im Leukental" was increasingly forgotten, and today's name "St. Johann in Tirol" became common.
During the First World War, St. Johann was spared any acts of war, but there were 138 casualties. In their honor, the war memorial was erected on the main square in 1923.
In 1927 the hamlet of Oberndorf was separated from St. Johann and became a separate community.
In St. Johann in Tirol, too, the Nazi tyranny and the Second World War claimed human lives, including 233 soldiers who died on the fronts and two victims of euthanasia. From August 1940 to June 1941 there was a branch of the Dachau concentration camp in St. Johann in Tirol. 20 political prisoners were assigned to convert a mountain farm into an SS rest home. During the Second World War, the place was spared acts of war, but the St. Johann in Tirol train station was bombed in December 1944. But the bombs missed their target and landed in a nearby field. In May 1945, several valuable works of art from the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna (Breughel, Dürer, Tizian, Velasquez, Rubens, Rembrandt) were stored in a cellar in St. Johann.
In 1954 St. Johann in Tirol received a municipal coat of arms. The green-red split shield shows the colors of the old court of the county in Leukental. The ibex horn is reminiscent of the coat of arms of the Lords of Velben, the crosier of the bishops of Chiemsee.
In 1956 St. Johann in Tirol was elevated to a market town.