After ski party in the Alps

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The Zugspitze lies southwest of Garmish-Partenkirchen and, at 2,962 m above sea level is the highest peak in Germany. Both the valleys and the Alpine Foreland have been heavily influenced by the last ice age. The lakes were partially formed by groundwater filling the hollows carved out by the glaciers. Later the lakes silted up and formed moors like the Murnauer Moor (Moos in German). In the early Iron Age this so called Werdenfelser Land was settled by Illyrians. Even at this early stage there were close contacts with Upper Italy over the route of the present-day Brenner-Scharnitz road. From about 500 B.C. Celts invaded this region and mixed with the indigenous population. In turn the Romans conquered the Celts around 15 B.C. and annexed the region to the Province of Raetia. Occasionally the Romans adopted settlement and river names of Veneto-Illyrian or Celtic origin, some of which have survived to the present day (Partenkirchen – Partanum, Isar – Isara).

The trade route -that was already established by 195 A. D. -was upgraded. The Via Claudia Augusta now ran from Augsburg via Partenkirchen and Mittenwald to the  Brenner Pass and continued to  Bozen (Pons Drusi), where it formed a junction with the older Reschen Pass branch. The Roman road station of Partanum was the predecessor of modern-day Partenkirchen. After the collapse of the  Roman Empire and the end of the Migration Period of Bajuwaren settled from about the 6th century A.D. in the valleys.

From the Middle Ages until the Thirty Years’ War, the Werdenfelser Land was subject to the Prince-Bishop of Freising, not the Duke of Bavaria (the region derives its name from the medieval Werdenfels Castle north of  Garmisch-Partenkirchen). The castle acted chiefly to secure the military and trade route that ran through the Loisach valley and linked trading posts in Italy and Upper Bavaria.

The Werdenfels Castle,- erected by Duke Otto of Wittelsbach in 1180 -it is found in the northwest of Partenkirchen,- was transferred in 1294 to the Prince-Bishopric of Freising. Control of the northern approaches of the important European trading route by the Freising archbishopric enabled the population of the County of Werdenfels to become relatively wealthy over a long period of time. It is sometimes called the Goldener Land after the wealth derived in the Middle Ages and Renaissance from the traffic along this Rottstraße, the main route over the Alps to Augsburg.

With the onset of the Modern Period there was a significant economic boom in as a result of stronger trade relations with Italy (fuggers). The nickname Goldenes Landl (“Little Golden Land”) for the Werdenfelser Land comes from this period. This development was ended by the Thirty Years’ War and the population became impoverished. Later wars, such as the Wars of the Spanish and Austrian Succession in the early 18th century and Napoleonic Wars of the 19th century, also severely affected the population. In 1803, as a result of Napoleonic rule, the Prince-Bishopric of Freising was toppled and the Werdenfelser Land was given to Bavaria. Since 1889 the advent has become of a new source of income as the new railway link with München brought tourists to the region.

Garmisch, the Werdenfelser Land museum

The cultural centre of the land is the town Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The twin towns are famous for their winter and summer facilities. For instance after skiing is a perfect program to go to the Werdenfelser Landmuseum (it is in Garmisch). After visiting the museum you will realize that it’s not just a small town museum experience, it is also an interesting property. The building was the house of a rich merchant in the 17th century, (even the street in which the museum resides is also fascinating with the many facade painted houses).

The Museum reflects the history, culture, folklore, life style, from the surroundings of the Bavarian and Tirolean areas. The walls are full of lovely old paintings & some fantastic black & white photos of local life. Some interesting rooms made up – for instance the carnival masks, the nursery was particularly nice. Artifacts from pre-Roman time periods to the present, provide a view of the historic significance of this small community, through which a Roman supply route stretched through to Vienna, Austria. And all of it just for 1 euro entry! There is a leaflet in English but all the exhibits are in German only. Its on 3 floors with no lift. To sum up my visit I went away impressed. So it’s well worth a visit when you are in the area.

I ate in a local restaurant a fish dish in mustard sauce, it was divine!p1170756



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