Vom Heiligen Land Tirol. Sakrales Bauen und die Berge

From the Holy Land of Tyrol. Sacred buildings and the mountains

The extreme mountain landscape and its potential dangers were one of the reasons for the high number of sacred buildings in the Alpine region. Tyroleans have long called their region the Holy land of Tyrol, due to the many churches, chapels, monasteries, wayside shrines and crucifixes in the region, among other reasons. How was the unique religiosity of Alpine inhabitants expressed in their buildings? Is it expressed differently than in the famous church buildings of European cities? It seems that the motives for erecting sacred buildings and monuments in mountain regions are to be weighted differently and that, in addition to their primary religious function, these structures fulfilled different tasks for the population at different times. While contemplative spatial concepts were and still are at the forefront of architectural thought, earlier buildings were primarily vessels for relics, images and statues. The motive lay in conjuring up and invoking the help of God and the patron saints. Thus, while historical buildings were seen more as places of practiced rituals – to receive help from the difficulties of everyday life – the individualistic interest in contemplative places has gained momentum in modern times. The sheer number of these different typologies of structures in a wide variety of social locations is unique to Tyrol, making it easy to identify social and societal conditions in different historical periods.