The first traces of mankind

The first traces of mankind here harken way back to 8,000 BC, when hunters and gatherers, mainly from the Southern Tyrol region, wandered the cols of the Tux Alps. Due to the vast glaciers here, settlings could establish only much later. The Illyrians‘ sparse attempts at settling in the region during the  Bronze Age (1,200 to 800 BC) were followed by more successful endeavors by the Romans (15 BC) and then by the Baiuvarii, entering from the North. The remaining parts of the Zillertal, however, were settled from South toward North – originating from the Pfitschertal and the Ahrntal. This also explains why  South Tyrolean surnames are so common there. The presumption is that it was the Illyrians who gave the valley its name. The Ziller River, previously called “Cilares”, from which the valley derives its name, is rooted in the Illyrian word “Til”. The first documented mention of the Zillertal (as “Cillarestale”) occurred when the East Frankish King Arnulf made a donation to benefit the bishops of Salzburg in 889 AD. The Christianization of the valley took place during the 8th century – which is also when the aforementioned border between S.ben-Brixen (now the Innsbruck diocese) and Salzburg was drawn. Despite the considerable expanse of the Zillertal, its 34,000 inhabitants in its 25 parishes actually use a mere 9 % of the soil surface for permanent settlements. This is mainly due to the inhospitable, unsurmountable mountain steeps in the area. And yet, it‘s the mountain farmers of the Zillertal who couldn‘t care less: they‘ll use almost any precipice to plant some acres or meadows for their cattle. 

The Heard of Tyrol • Natural beauty • Chamois, Golden Eagle & Friends  • Giants of the Ice Age • RocK'n'Roll - Mineral Rocks • The Golden Mean • Agriculture and Economy  • Poachers and Smugglers  • Inklinant's - a tragic story   • Music an more

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