Hohler Stein area in close vicinity to Vent (2,050m) is an ancient hunters' and shepherds'' base dating back to the Stone Ages (8000-4000 BC). Archaeological findings prove that Vent was a hunting are even in 8000 BC.
After the finding of the iceman Dr. Leitner of the University of Innsbruck made further investigations. He proved the existence of more Stone Age hunters' bases in the Ötztal valley, e.g. at the Hohler Stein mountain in Niedertal/Vent which is at an altitude of 2,050m and only 10km (beeline) from the place where the iceman was found.
Rofenhöfe farmhouses/ suspension bridge
The Rofenhöfe farms are located 2km above of Vent at an altitude of 2,014m. Visit the famous Haflinger breed of the farmer Franz Klotz. Leander Klotz was an ancestor of today's inhabitants. In 1848 he was the first man to climb the Wildspitze mountain. He and his brother Nikodemus were trained to be mountain guides by the glacier priest Franz Senn.
The suspension bridge was built by the Klotz brothers in 1967 and renewed by the provincial government in 1984. The bridge is 46m long. The Rofnerschlucht gorge is 31m in depth. Earlier only a small footbridge led across the Rofnerache river. Climb a number of small rocks to get to and from the bridge.
museum in the tower
Today's Museum in the Tower was formerly known as "Galerie zum alten Oetztal" installed by Hans Jäger in his private farmhouse. It is meant as a countermovement to the stream of time in order to preserve the rich cultural heritage in the rural region and its numerous traditions deeply rooted in history, which are often ignored by the so-called modern way of thinking!
A fine collection of pictures centers on the view over the mighty Ötztal Alps from different angles in the lower valley. Changing exhibitions are scheduled. After many years of collecting material, photographs and pictures, visitors can take a unique insight into the region and its varied facets.
The Piccard Memorial, which was erected in 1989, reminds of the emergency landing of Professor Auguste Piccard at the Gurgler Ferner glacier on 27 May 1931. The news of his rescue was published in newspapers all over the world. A festschrift is available at the Obergurgl-Hochgurgl tourist information office.
On 27 May 1931 Professor Auguste Piccard and his assistant Ing. Paul Kipfer start a scientific high-altitude flight in Augsburg. They are the first persons to reach the stratosphere at 16,000m of altitude in a balloon. Because of technical problems with the valve line the two scientists land at the Gurgler Ferner glacier in the Ötztal Alps by chance. Because of this event, which was in the news all over the world, this sleepy mountain village became known internationally. Auguste Piccard wrote in his logbook after his fortunate landing: "Nice, unknown high Alpine area, basket and balloon are on a glacier".
LOCAL HERITAGE MUSEUM
DThis outstanding museum located in Lehn near Längenfeld displays rural life and work in the Ötztal up to the Fifties of the 20th century.
The main part of the museum hosts a traditional, two-sided Ötztal farm with granary. Right next to the farmhouse you find a block-shaped side wing building dating back to the 17th century. The museum puts on display the modest life of Ötztal's inhabitants in past times. Besides the farmhouses visitors can take a closer look at agricultural machinery driven by Lehnbach brook's water power.
With the discovery of "Ötzi" the Iceman in 1991 the Ötztal valley has one more cultural sensation. The world-famous findings dating back to approx. 4000 BC are the archeological highlight of the entire Ötztal region. The glacier mummy was named after the Ötztal area, where he was found and is thus irrevocably connected to this valley and its mountains.
Up to 1991 the Ötztal valley was archeologically completely unexplored terrain. Subsequently research was intensified and today it is proven that already from 8000 BC people lived in this area.
Forchet geological trail
The Forchet, a vast and wood-covered rock slide area, is a landscape that has only been negligibly altered by men. It is completely different from the surrounding landscapes of the entrance of the Ötztal valley. Some 3000 years ago rock slide material (180m³) from the Tschirgant face buried the entrance of the Ötztal valley to Ambach and past Sautens. The Inn and the Ötztal Ache rivers had to clear a path through the fauna and flora. People had a hard time, too. The entire area was covered by chaotic accumulations of rocks. A wild landscape that defies cultivation still today.
Ötzi's place of finding
On 19 September 1991 two German tourists found by chance a mummified corpse in the ice of the Similaun glacier at the Hauslabjoch mountain. "Ötzi", the iceman, was found at an altitude of 3,200m and is the most ancient finding of a European hunter.
By means of radiocarbon dating it was proven that the finding dates to the chalcolithic period of the southern Alpine region. Some 5000 years ago the man left the Vintschgau area in the Italian Tirol for the mountains. Pollen analysis showed that the back of the Ötztal valley was already typical pastureland some 6000 years ago.
The story starts some 9800 years ago. The mighty glacier fields of the Ice Age move back, leaving behind a rough mountain valley full of hazards: loose masses of rock, rubbles and rugged mountain flanks. Very slowly the permafrost thaws, at least two thirds of the mountains and peaks are crashing down into the valley. Incredible masses of soil and rock form the so-called "Tauferberg" area by barricading the mountain brook coming down from "Horlachtal" valley. The water finds its own way, all of a sudden the Stuiben Falls emerge - Tirol's highest waterfall!
Piburger See lake is the result of a natural catastrophe; today it is the landmark and gem of Oetz. Originally the lake's hollow was an old valley parallel to the Ötztal valley. After the last ice age a massive rock slide blocked the valley at its south-eastern end and covered its entire bottom. That's why water impounded and formed a lake. Because of its location amidst crystal rock Piburger See lake holds very soft water. In mid-summer surface temperature reaches up to 24°C. Because of its scenic location the lake is a popular destination for hikers and swimmers.
old village center of Oetz
Despite bustling building activities since WWII and the people's desire for modern housing many buildings in the old part of Oetz have been preserved. Especially picturesque is the architecturally unspoilt center with its accumulation of old buildings, that are built close to each other.
The hamlet of Farst strikes as almost exceptional. It is referred to as the eyrie of the Ötztal valley. Located high above the legendary Engelswand rock face, visitors who dare to ascend the serpentines that were slammed into the rock, are rewarded with a dreamlike panoramic view and hearty hospitality.
Farst is one of the valley's oldest settlements. Already in the 13th century a Schwaighof farm was founded there. The Reichalm pasture, which is a 1.5-hour walk from Farst, is an insider's tip for nature lovers.