Wörgl is a town with 14,059 inhabitants (as of January 1, 2020) in the Inn Valley in the Kufstein district in Tyrol, about 55 kilometers (as the crow flies) east of the provincial capital Innsbruck. The community is located in the judicial district of Kufstein. The greater Wörgl area is home to around 31,000 residents.

Wörgl was first mentioned in a document with the name “Uuergile” 1104/1116, but there was already a settlement in this area in Roman times. In 1416 the municipality was divided into two regional courts, in 1815 the municipalities of Wörgl-Kufstein and Wörgl-Rattenberg became politically independent.

In 1911, following the unification of the municipalities, it was elevated to the status of a market municipality, and in 1951 Wörgl was elevated to a municipal municipality.

During the Tyrolean freedom struggle in 1809, a major battle was fought in Wörgl. In the 1930s, Wörgl became known around the world for its wilderness experiment, and the place suffered severe destruction during World War II. Economically, Wörgl has an outstanding position in Tyrol in the service sector.

Wörgl hugs the southern sides of the Inntal and Brixental valleys in a gentle curve and is located at the intersection of Brixental, Sölllandl, Inntal and the Wildschönau high valley or at the confluence of the Brixentaler Ache and the Inn. The city is located on the wide alluvial cone of the Wörgler Bach, the Brixentaler Ache and some smaller mountain streams. In terms of population, Wörgl is the fifth largest municipality in Tyrol, but with an area of ​​19.74 square kilometers it only ranks 171st.




Wörgl before being named for the first time
According to excavations, the area of ​​Wörgl had been inhabited since the early Iron Age (1000 BC); At that time there was already brisk trade. The most extensive prehistoric excavation sites in North Tyrol are located at Grattenbergl, Egerndorfer Feld and the Wimpissinger gravel pit. A point of attraction were the existing possibilities for ore mining of the Schwazer dolomite, which is striking here; The traffic situation (route from the copper mines around Kitzbühel to the Inntal) also provided incentives for settlements to emerge. At that time, a Roman main road from Veldidena to Iuvavum led through Wörgl, which later became known as "Landtstraße Ordinarii", "Wörgler Gassen", "Kriegsstrassen" or "Salzburger Reichsstraße" - the same route through the village as today's Tiroler Straße B 171 as "Innsbrucker Straße" , "Andreas-Hofer-Platz" and "Salzburger Straße".

At the excavation site in Egerndorfer Feld, around 500 urn graves around 2500 years old were uncovered and examined in detail.

There is also evidence of a Roman settlement in today's urban area. In 1842 the remains of a Roman country house from the 2nd century AD came to light in the anger of the Unterkrumbacherhof, where a terra sigillata bowl and painted parts of the wall were found, which can be seen today in the showcases of the New Middle School Wörgl 1. The walls, made of rubble, were about 70 cm thick. The furnishings of the villa were quite luxurious, the floor consisted of solid screed, and wall paintings were found in five rooms. One room had underfloor heating (hypocaust), the required warm air was also brought up inside the walls for heating. It is possible that the heater was also used for a warm water bath (caldarium).

St. Laurentius, the parish patron, points to a pre-Germanic Christianization and even in the land maps from the years before the railway was built, the plots on the former Reichsstraße show the square shape and size that are known from the Roman arable land. Today the Dallnhof, the municipal building yard, a bus garage and the new south cemetery are located on the southern outskirts of the city within a Roman field measure (230 × 230 m) that is recognizable in today's cadastre.

In the late 6th century the Bavarians invaded the Wörgl area.

12th century to the Tyrolean fight for freedom
The first mention of Wörgl as Uuergile can be found in a document for the St. Peter monastery in Salzburg from the years 1104–1116, which speaks of a Hartuuuich de Uuergile (Hartwig von Wörgl).

In 1255 the fortified castle was first mentioned as a castellum (Latin for "fortress") in the Wilten document. Today there are only sparse remains of the wall. It is located above the Haus district, around 5 km east of the town center. From 1310 the castle was repeatedly mentioned as an important base of the ducal Bavarian rule in the Lower Inn Valley. In the course of the 14th century it appears again and again in deeds and documents until 1363 the House of Austria provided the Prince Counts of Tyrol. From now on, the focus was on Rattenberg Castle and Kufstein Fortress. The ruins, which were still known as “Burgstätten am Pfaffenberg” in 1892, were no longer occupied and have been forgotten. Today the Wörgl city coat of arms still reminds of the former regional importance of the fortified castle.

In 1416 the Wörgl area was administratively divided into two regional courts. The boundary line of the Wörgler Bach is said to go back to the two settlement centers - Wörgl-Kufstein has a Germanic (traffic route-oriented), Wörgl-Rattenberg a Romanesque (water-oriented).

It was not until 1504 that the land below the mouth of the Ziller finally fell to the Princes of Tyrol when the Kufstein Fortress was conquered by the German King and later Emperor Maximilian I.

Despite the division of the place in two, older similarities remained alive. There were probably two "village masters" (elected village chiefs, corresponds to today's mayors) and two "Trüchl" (community coffers), but one name, a common church and a unified economic community that shared the fields and forests and carried the burdens together, such as the village letter from 1609 proves, which is an informative legal document about the living conditions of this time. Right at the beginning, the Wörgler village letter explains the community rules and the position of the two village masters:

“First of all, before all the while the peat has been harvested and is subject to two kinds of jurisdiction, so a whole community and village of Alda zu Wörgl should also be outside and under itself, just as it has been from time immemorial, two village masters be set. "
- The wording of the Wörgl village letter from 1609 (excerpt)

The election of the village master took place every year around St. Martin's Day (November 11th), the community meetings were held alternately in the three restaurants Kögltafern (today Hotel Alte Post), Gratltafern (formerly Neue Post) - both in Wörgl-Kufstein - and Lamplhof ( today Gasthof Weißes Lamm) was held in Wörgl-Rattenberg.

In 1786 the first post office in Wörgl was set up in Kögltafern, and the first postmaster was the host of the inn. Until then, the post always had to be delivered or picked up in Kundl. 60 years later, the post office owned eight horses and two carriages with postilions, which supplied the area from Kirchbichl to Westendorf. The “Post im Kögl” (Alte Post) was in operation until 1891, when the station moved across the church square to Gradltafern (Neue Post).

In 1815 the two localities of Wörgl-Kufstein and Wörgl-Rattenberg were declared two separate political communities.

During this time, several well-known personalities chose the inns of Wörgl as a place to stay during a transit. For example, Emperor Ferdinand II and his wife Eleonora stayed in the village on February 4 and 10, 1622 on their return journey from Innsbruck. Leopold Mozart and his son Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart also stayed in a Wörgler courtyard on their journey from Salzburg to Italy on December 17, 1769. It was from here that the young Wolfgang wrote his first letter to his sister Nannerl. Leopold and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart also visited Wörgl in 1771, 1772 and 1773.

Furthermore, traveled along the main road through the village:
Emperor Maximilian I (1514 and 1515 twice and in 1518 “terminally ill”).
Emperor Leopold I (1665),
Duke Charles of Lorraine-Commercy (several times 1681–1690),
Prince Eugene of Savoy (1701 and 1717),
Empress Maria Theresia (1739 and 1765) and
Emperor Josef II (1765 and 1777) and others


Wörgl in the Tyrolean fight for freedom
On May 13, 1809, the "Battle of Wörgl" took place in the Tyrolean struggle for freedom under Andreas Hofer. At four o'clock in the morning General Field Marshal Carl Philipp von Wrede set out from Ellmau with his troops of over 10,000 men sent by Napoleon, which consisted mainly of Bavarian and Saxon soldiers, to recapture Tyrol in the direction of Wörgl. The Tyrolean troops, led by General Chasteler, were soon surrounded and could only be freed through the rapid intervention of an allied company; the Napoleonic troops of Wredes were already in the mood for victory. At around ten o'clock the Austrian and Bavarian troops crossed the Brixentaler Ache, and fierce defensive battles began on the Grattenbergl, in Egerndorf and on the Grattenbrücke, the only road bridge over the Ache near Wörgl. After the Austrians had managed to cross the barricaded bridge, another battle began against the Bavarians in the eastern fields near Wörgl. However, von Wredes Reiter managed to overrun the Austrian troops and the Bavarian artillery began to bombard the place. After von Wrede had bypassed the village to the north (between Söcking and the church) and bombarded the Austrian line from the west, the Austrians were forced to evacuate the burning place around noon. The retreat degenerated into a hunt around Wörgl, which resulted in high losses. Local riflemen were posted on the southern edge of the mountain to stop troops trying to circumvent the town to the south. They could no longer rush to the aid of the weak troops. The encounter cost the Austrians 38 officers, around 1,000 men were wounded, 655 of whom died. The amount of casualties at the Napoleonic camp is not known, but around 1,000 soldiers are believed to have died. The village suffered several fires and looting. The Bavarians, Saxons and French then marched through the Lower Inn Valley towards Innsbruck, pillaging and murdering, where the Second Bergisel Battle took place a few days later. The “Wörgler Reara” monument in front of the parish church, designed by Christian Plattner and inaugurated for the 100th anniversary in 1909, commemorates this day.

Rise of Wörgl during the time of Emperor Franz Joseph I.

In 1842 more than 40 people died in Wörgl from a cholera epidemic. Serious illnesses repeatedly circulated in Wörgl, which were carried off to the small town by people passing through. In 1896 the village suffered from a typhus epidemic.

In the years 1863/64, the Wörgl settlement area was raised to two independent communities, Wörgl-Rattenberg and Wörgl-Kufstein, after they had been attached to the neighboring communities of Kundl and Kirchbichl in 1815 as independent political groups and in 1854 as dependent groups. The Wörgler Bach formed the natural border between the two communities and at the same time between the judicial districts of Rattenberg and Kufstein. This division, which existed until 1910, is still reminiscent of the fact that Wörgl consists of two cadastral communities and therefore has two land registers that correspond to the old community areas and names.

Wörgl's economic rise began with the construction of the Giselabahn between 1873 and 1875 and its connection to the Lower Inn Valley Railway, which was built in 1858, making Wörgl the first Tyrolean railway junction before Innsbruck. For this reason, the Wörgl main train station is the busiest in Tyrol after the Innsbruck main train station.

Emperor Franz Joseph I is likely to have passed Wörgl about ten times by train, where he and his wife Empress Elisabeth also paid a visit to the village and the village church. After the murder of the Empress in Geneva, the “court corpse procession” stopped on November 24, 1898 in the Wörgler train station for a funeral service.

Emperor Karl I also passed the market several times by train, on July 5, 1917, he and his wife Empress Zita were received at the train station. Queen Victoria of England and Kaiser Wilhelm II also passed the town by train. During a stopover in Wörgl on April 6, 1938, Adolf Hitler was enthusiastically welcomed by numerous supporters at the train station.

In 1891, Wörgl was given a parish office when, by order of Emperor Franz Joseph, all vicariates of the monarchy were promoted to parishes. During this time there was also a significant increase in population, so that in 1912 the parish church was expanded.

On December 31, 1910, the communities of Wörgl-Kufstein and Wörgl-Rattenberg ("entern and herentern Bach") were united. There were difficulties in convincing the municipality of Wörgl-Rattenberg of the merger, as it should merge into the larger neighboring municipality of Wörgl-Kufstein. In 1910 the Wörgl-Rattenberg village chief Franz Gruber succeeded in convincing his local council, which on July 4th approved the merger. Wörgl-Kufstein's approval was given on June 23, 1910. On September 10, the two community boards met to declare legal validity, the Tyrolean state parliament approved on November 3, 1910, and one day later the k.k. Ministry of the Interior. At the time of the local unification, Wörgl had 4232 inhabitants, of which only 1280 were Wörglers (around 30%), around 1,200 came from all parts of Tyrol and Vorarlberg, around 800 were citizens of various Austro-Hungarian crown lands, and a further 700 came from other communities in the District. It is noteworthy that even then around 200 foreign citizens were living in Wörgl. On March 28, 1911, the two united village communities Wörgl-Kufstein and Wörgl-Rattenberg were raised to market in the presence of the emperor. At that time, between the train station and the village center, there was the image of a pioneer settlement in the heated optimism of progress of the early days. In the course of the market survey, the parish council moved into the first parish hall, which was a converted farm and stood in the city center in place of today's Raiffeisenplatz.

Wörgler emergency money
After the First World War, coins became increasingly rare, and the State Office for Finance (today's Ministry of Finance) issued a permit for municipalities to print their change themselves if there was a shortage. From 1919 this happened to an increasing extent, in Tyrol starting from Innsbruck they started to print emergency money. The market town of Wörgl also began issuing Wörgl emergency money in 1919 with a value of 10, 20, 30, 50, 75 and 90 Heller, which was valid until the end of 1920. The community was able to keep the amount that had not been redeemed as a profit, but the amount of this profit is no longer known. In Wörgl, several editions were necessary due to the great success.


Wörgler Schwundgeld (free money)
In Wörgl, the local cement and cellulose production had declined sharply around 1932 and the unemployment rate rose dangerously. On the one hand, the municipality had considerable tax shortfalls, on the other hand, high burdens from support payments to the unemployed. The cash register was empty and there was no end in sight. A welfare committee was set up to organize the issue of emergency money. From the end of July 1932, the municipal administration under Mayor Michael Unterguggenberger issued its own so-called labor vouchers, the Wörgler Schilling, as wages for the municipal employees. The notes were available in face values ​​of one, five and ten shillings. A total of 32,000 emergency schillings were issued, but the municipality that issued the Schwundgeld only bought a total of 8500 emergency schillings from the committee, of which only an average of around 6000 schillings were in circulation. It is believed that the actual money circulation occurred over 400 times within the 14 months.

The labor tokens were free money that was secured against circulation. The ideas supplier was Silvio Gesell's free economics. Every month, a stamp had to be bought at one percent of the face value of the note and stuck in a space provided on the front of the banknote in order to keep it valid. The money was covered by depositing cash from the community at the Wörgler Raiffeisenkasse and was linked to the schilling in the same way. With these notes municipal taxes could be paid. Local businessmen took free money in exchange.

The experiment was successful. The money cycle and economic activity revived while the rest of the country was deep in economic crisis. The project's successes were impressive:
The revenue backlog has been reduced by 34%,
the tax arrears could be reduced by over 60%.
Furthermore, there was an increase in the income from municipal taxes by 34% and
an increase in capital expenditures of the municipality of about 220%.

Until the 1980s, among other things, the inscription "built with free money" on a road bridge testified to this. In the 14 months of the experiment, the unemployment rate in Wörgl fell from 21 to 15%, while it continued to rise in the rest of the country.

The positive effects meant that the model test was praised in the press as the “Wörgl miracle”. The interest in it increased to such an extent that over a hundred other communities in the Wörgl area wanted to follow the example. The campaign also attracted considerable attention and imitated abroad and overseas. From France the finance minister and later prime minister Édouard Daladier traveled to Wörgl, and in the USA the economist Irving Fisher proposed - albeit in vain - that the American government introduce a Wörgl-like money called stamp scrip to overcome the economic crisis.

However, the Oesterreichische Nationalbank successfully appealed against the Wörgler free money campaign in court because it alone had the right to issue coins and banknotes. The Wörgl experiment and all further planning were banned. After threatening military action, Wörgl ended the experiment in September 1933.

The Unterguggenberger Institute association, headed by chairwoman Veronika Spielbichler, keeps alive the legacy of the Wörgl money experiment and brings historical experience together with current projects. An exhibition is held together with the local history museum and the city archive. Up-to-date solutions on the subject of complementary currency are compiled comprehensively and made available to a broad public.

In 1951 and 1983, free economic congresses in Wörgl recalled the currency experiment, as did a conference in 1996. The city of Wörgl officially declared 2007 the Wörgl free money year. At the end of March 2009, Mayor Abler proposed the introduction of a complementary currency based on the historical model because of the ongoing economic crisis.

In the fall of 2017, the television film "The Miracle of Wörgl" was shot. See also: section Honoring Michael Unterguggenberger

In his novel "Wasserscheiden", Alfred DeMichele transforms the events surrounding the Wörgl currency experiment into the present day and presumably honors Michael Unterguggenberger with the figure of one of the protagonists (Professor Guggenmoser).


Interwar period
On February 12, 1934, young Social Democrats took up arms in Wörgl, as in other Austrian cities, because after Adolf Hitler's seizure of power they no longer believed in a peaceful transformation of Austria. Wörgl was thus the westernmost battlefield in the Austrian civil war. In the area of ​​the train station and the former cellulose factory, there were violent exchanges of fire between the Social Democratic Republican Protection Association and the Home Guard. Mayor Michael Unterguggenberger and a cooperator were able to get the state gendarmerie commandant to postpone the standing rights to 90 minutes. During this time, the Schutzbund could be persuaded to give up, which resulted in two injured men on both sides, but no fatalities. The arriving armed forces were able to adjust the remaining resistance. Twelve “Radelsführer” were sentenced to heavy dungeon by the regional court, but in 1935 Federal President Miklas stopped the criminal proceedings against the 77 workers who were involved in the fighting in the Wörgl area.

On March 12, 1938, German soldiers, followed by the SS standard “Germany”, entered Wörgl, and the SS men withdrew to Munich on March 17. After some positive changes such as the construction of people's apartments and the large number of jobs through further projects as well as flourishing tourism, worrying circumstances quickly followed, such as the expansion of the garrison location in Wörgl, the dissolution of some associations or the imprisonment of political functionaries.

Second World War in Wörgl
From 1942 to 1944 there was a transit camp in the district of Söcking, consisting of 18 accommodation, four administrative barracks, disinfection and disinfestation stations. At times up to 1,200 people were accommodated in the camp, a total of 34 transports with 31,759 people took place. Most of the forced laborers came from the occupied territories of the Soviet Union and were among others. used in agricultural and armaments factories in western Austria and Bavaria. After the transports ended, it was used as a refugee camp, and it was demolished in the 1950s.

Wörgl was badly damaged by the Second World War. From the end of 1943, Wörgl was exposed to Allied bombing in the aerial warfare, which culminated in the Wörgl Bomb Days on February 22nd and 23rd, 1945. As part of Operation Clarion (German: "Fanfare Blast"), numerous air raids began in the Tyrolean lowlands, which reached Wörgl on February 22nd. The Allies intended to destroy the station, but due to the thick fog and the associated poor visibility, 16.5 tons of bombs dropped caused widespread destruction, but the targeted area of ​​the station was hardly hit. The following day, another 390 tons fell on the station in the form of over 1,000 bombs, which was destroyed as a result. The bombing of these two days changed the cityscape of Wörgl forever and claimed 69 lives, including 46 people living in Wörgl and 23 foreigners. 43 houses were completely destroyed, 105 houses and the parish church were significantly damaged. Even today, aerial bombs are repeatedly found during construction work, especially in the area around the station.

At least twelve wörglers died in concentration camps and other prisons. Between 1939 and 1945 during the Second World War, 236 Wörglers died in the theaters of war, 46 soldiers are missing.

Wörgl after the city elevation
Just ten days after the municipality's application to become a town, on February 16, 1951, on the initiative of the then Mayor of Wörgl and Vice-President of the Tyrolean state parliament, Kommerzialrat Martin Pichler, the Tyrolean state parliament approved. The milestone was celebrated with a three-day ceremony (August 17-19). On August 19, Federal President Theodor Körner was received at the train station, followed by a festive divine service with Prince Archbishop Andreas Rohracher and a parade through the city with 112 participating groups and around 30,000 spectators.

In 1952, the first Zamenhof monument in Austria was inaugurated in front of Wörgl's main train station, commemorating the founder of the Esperanto language. The monument in the city, which was badly damaged in the war, is intended to be a memorial for peace, which is the ultimate goal behind Zamenhof's planned language.


On Tuesday, August 23, 2005, Wörgl was badly affected by a flood of the century. At around 4 p.m. at the Aubach pump lift - in which the water carried by some streams is pumped up to the somewhat higher level of the Inn - the separating dam that separated the Wörgler Basin from the Inn broke open over a length of around ten meters. As a result, massive water ingress was registered in the western part of the city. The dam breach flooded an area of ​​around 80 hectares with an estimated 1.4 million m³ of muddy water from the Inn around two meters high. The evacuation was carried out by means of fire engines, and in the hours that followed, fire brigades rushed from South Tyrol to Lower Austria to Wörgl in order to master the masses of water. Burst oil tanks made the work difficult. This event of the century flooded around 200 buildings, two shopping centers and several warehouses, and made some buildings uninhabitable. In the new “WAVE” adventure pool in the west of the city, the 2500 m² sauna area was flooded about six meters high. The Inntal Autobahn had to be closed between the Wörgl West and Wörgl Ost exits due to undercutting. Without this breach of the dam, Kufstein would also have been a victim of the flood, as the Inn level there had already reached critical levels during this period. In Wörgl, the Brixentaler Ache and the Wörgler Bach also overflowed their banks at their confluence with the Inn. The cleaning and reconstruction work took several weeks. As a result, the community tried to improve the flood protection, for example the dam was replaced by several pump pipes into the Inn.

In 2010 the construction of the planned Tyrol Tower was shelved.

Today Wörgl is the second largest city in the Kufstein district and one of the economic centers in western Austria as well as the most important city in the Tyrolean lowlands in terms of retail sales. The city has been a member of the Tyrol Climate Alliance since 1992.


Getting there

By train
Wörgl train station is on the Kufstein - Innsbruck railway line

In the street
Wörgl is on the A12 Inntal motorway. Attention: The 5 km long, once toll-free section of the Inntal motorway from the German border near Kiefersfelden to the "Kufstein-Süd" motorway exit also has a toll! (10-day vignette).