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I am sure that not so many people in the World or even in Europe know that there isn’t only “one Tyrol” as some Tyrolean nationalist like to say, but three Tyrol(s) North, the most famous one, South and the least know East Tyrol. In this article I will explain similarities mostly in overwhelming beauty and also the differences between them to the wider audience.
What are now three regions for the long period of history was one administrative unit known as Princely County of Tyrol, which was a crown land of the Habsburg Monarchy for more than five centuries. This beautiful Alpine region was divided into three parts after the World War I. The Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye of 1919 ceded the southern part of Tyrol to the Kingdom of Italy, including present day South Tyrol with its large German-speaking majority and the rest of former County of Tyrol stayed in newly formed Austrian Republic. North and East Tyrol together make up the Austrian federal-state of Tyrol. Today Tyrol, a multi-national historical region located in the heart of the Alps, is divided between two independent states. If you are interested in a history of Tyrol, more about it, from prehistoric times and the Roman era through to the Early Middle Ages and the modern era, you can find in the Tyrolean State Museum.
Mostly, when people talk about Tyrol they reference to what is known geographically as North Tyrol, or the Tyrol from the northern side of Brenner Pass. The capital of Austrian Federal State Tyrol and former capital and the biggest city of all Tyrol Innsbruck is located here. The city of Innsbruck, with the best offer of commercial, educational and cultural institutions, is still the centre of entire region. With 150.000 inhabitants it is fifth biggest city in Austria. It is the only city in the world, beside London that has hosted Olympic Games for three times and known as the "largest ski resort in the Alps". Northern part of Tyrol together with the attaching Alpine regions is world centre of winter sports. The region is natural paradise with breathtaking lakes, numerous glaciers, romantic villages and various castles.
South Tyrol sits on the sunny side of the Alps and it represents an interesting mixture of different cultures making it a special place in Europe. It is the northernmost region in Italy, trilingual, but with the majority of the population speaking German. So don’t be surprised if you see the signs in two or event three languages. The region is totally composed of the high mountains, Dolomites being the most known of them, and their valleys. The Dolomites strike with their erosion and weathering shaped appearance. They offer some of the most dramatic mountain scenery on the planet and look like under-sea coral reefs, what they were many millennia ago.
The biggest, the most important and the capital city of South Tyrol is Bozen (in Italian Bolzano). Together with Innsbruck, it is officially the capital of the Alps. Bozen is beautiful blend of Mediterranean and Alpine influences, where you can get really good Italian espresso and Viennese cappuccino. In South Tyrolean Museum of Archaeology in Bozen you can find 5300 years old man, famous Ötzi the Iceman.
Through the division of Tyrol into three parts, East Tyrol became a bit of an oddity or exclave if we want to be technical, as it does not share a common frontier with the rest of the Federal State of Tyrol. The region is isolated from its capital Innsbruck and in order to reach it you have to drive through South Tyrol or Salzburg. East Tyrol is the home of the most famous and the largest of the six Austrian national parks the High Tauern National Park. Several mountain ranges meet in East Tyrol and the region has more than 150 independent mountain peaks with a height of at least 3000 meters, including the Austria's highest mountain, 3798 m high Großglockner. It is probably the most secluded and the wildest of the Austrian regions, with many waterfalls and huge gorges, covered with snow through large portion of the year.
Together all three North, South and East represent very definition of the Germanic Alpine stereotype. The entire Tyrolean region is natural paradise full of beautiful mountain lakes, romantic castles and beer drinking lederhosen clad locals playing oompah music and marching in bands. The place seems like a fairy tale to the most visitors. Three times Tyrol offer as much as three time of beauty.
Cover picture © Credits to iStock / faust__
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