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Tirol, also spelled as Tyrol, is one of the nine federal states of Austria. The region is split into two separate territories, Northern and Eastern Tirol, divided by the Salzburg federal state. The division is the result of the past arrangement of the region, as the original historical Tirol region stretched over today's Austrian borders to the territory of Italy. Thus, the area contributes to the state border with Germany to the north and Italy to the south. Tirol also neighbors the federal state of Salzburg and Kärnten (Carinthia) to the east and Vorarlberg to the west.[3] Tirol landscape, in general, is of a high-alpine mountain character, which allows for a wide selection of winter sports options, as well as summer activities such as hiking, cycling, or climbing.[7] The mountainous nature of the region is preserved by seven protection areas spread across the region.[4] Innsbruck, the capital city, is located in the central part of North Tirol. The city poses the region's cultural, historical, and economic hub; it is also a common winter competition venue.[12] 

What Tirol is known for

As a result of diverse natural conditions in the Tirol region, combined with the abundance of natural parks and protected areas, the state is a popular touristic destination. Tirol is often visited during the summer months for the relatively wide offer of outdoor activities such as cycling, mountain hiking, climbing, mountain biking, or swimming.[7] Among the popular destinations in the region belongs the Stubaier Gletschers, a steel platform at an altitude of 3200 m above sea level. The construction offers panoramic views of the surrounding Zillertaler, Stubaier Alps, and the Dolomites.[8] A considerable number of ski resorts and slopes of various difficulty are the reason for the relative attractiveness of the region during the winter months. Winter sports enthusiasts can find a wide offer of options in the area, such as skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or sledding.[7] 

Ambras Castle is among Austria's historical sites and is one of the more popular destinations in Tirol. The castle is said to be one of the world's first museums, which has been preserved in its original form to this day. Nowadays, Ambras offers various tours and collections showcasing the castle and region's history. Located in the city of Innsbruck, the castle hosts a joint festival with the city called the Innsbruck Festival of Early Music.[9] Innsbruck, the capital city of Tirol, features cultural and historical sights, such as the old town itself, with the notorious Golden Roof. The city is also known as the venue of different winter sports competitions for its mountainous setting.[12]

In close proximity to the capital city, Innsbruck is located town of Wattens, the historical headquarters of one of the world-renowned crystal and glass jewelry producers, Swarovski. Swarovski company is a family business founded in 1895 by Daniel Swarovski, whose crystal cutting skills have been traversed and preserved through generations to this day. Tirol's Wattens headquarters is the place where new cuts, shades, and sizes of crystals are created. The founder, Daniel Swarovski, with his invention of the electric machine for high precision crystal cutting, was the pioneer in the crystal business. [11]


Tirol is in Austria's territory divided into two parts, separated by an approximately seven kilometers long strip of land, which belongs to the federal state of Salzburg. The larger part, located in the northwest, is called North Tirol, whereas the smaller piece to the southeast is referred to as East Tirol.[3] Tirol is located in the mountainous landscape of the Alps. Lechtaler Alps stretch across the northwestern part of the region, while Limestone Alps with Karwendel and Kaiser ranges cover the north and northeast area. The southern part of the region includes the Silvretta, Ötztaler, Stubaier, Tuxer, Zillertaler, and Hohe Tauern mountain ranges, which belong to the Central Alps. The northern part of East Tirol is covered by the peaks of the Kitzbüheler Alps, while the Lienz Dolomites predominate in the rest of East Tirol.[2] The highest peak in the Tirol region is Großglockner, with an altitude of 3,797 m above sea level, being also the highest peak in Austria.[3] In general, the mountains and hills of the Central Alps stretching across the Tirol territory were cleared from the forests over the years and used for pasture, making the area ideal for skiing. Predominant rivers in the region are the Inn River in the North Tirol and the Drava River in the East Tirol.[2]

Seven natural parks in the Tirol region are designated for protecting and preserving the high-alpine mountain nature and its diversity. Across the region's borders protrudes the Hohe Tauern National Park, which is the largest protected area in the Alps. In Tirol's territory can also be found the largest national park in Austria, Karwendel Nature Park, inhabited by a considerable number of relatively rare plant and animal species. On the other hand, Tiroler Lech Nature Park is concerned with protecting the river Lech, its environment, and surrounding nature, as Lech is one of the last wild rivers in Central Europe.[4] 

Tirol is located in the marginal temperate zone between Atlantic, Continental, and Mediterranean influences.[5] The warmest month in the capital city, Innsbruck, is July, with an average daily temperature of 26°C, while January is the coldest month, with an average temperature of 4°C. February tends to be the driest month in Innsbruck, with an average of 38 mm of rainfall. The most precipitation falls during July, with an average of 128 mm.[6]


Tirol, often also spelled Tyrol, is nowadays one of the integrative federal states of Austria. However, the state originated from the historical Tirol region, which stretched across the present borders of Austria over to north Italy. Thus, the history is the same for both parts of the region, which is nowadays divided between two different states. The earliest archeological finds can date the first inhabitants of the Tirol area back to approximately 28,000–27,000 BC. Those excavations were made in the Tischofer Cave, which was also inhabited during the Bronze Age. The glaciers in the Ötztal Alps also discovered mummified human remnants from around 3300–3100 BC. Around 450–100 BC, Tirol was inhabited by Celts, which were later subjected to Romans. After the fall of the Roman Empire, various tribes, such as Ostrogoths, Lombard, and Slavs inhabited the territory.[1]

The name of the Tirol region is derived from the family name, the counts of Tirol, who lived in a castle located in Italy. This family ruled the territory at the beginning of the Middle Ages. However, in 1342, the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, which covered most of central Europe, married Margaret of Carinthia, who was to inherit the Tirol lands. After Margaret's death, Tirol became under the administration of the Habsburg Monarchy until 1918. In the 17th century, Tirol played an essential role as it linked Germany to Italy. The region became a bargaining counter between the Austrian archduke Ferdinand and his cousin, potential rival, Philip III of Spain. Philip III finally received the land. After World War I, the southern part of the region became part of Italy, despite the sizeable German-speaking population inhabiting the region. The administration remained unchanged after the Second World War as well. Thus, the area is now divided between Italy and Austria.[2]

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