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Alpbach is a village in Western Austria in the state of Tyrol. 975 m above sea level had a population of 2,549 in 2003.
The earliest written record of the name Alpbach comes from 1150, although human settlement is known to have begun there before and around the year 1000, and a bronze axe found at Steinberger Joch (the pass leading to the Ziller Valley) in 1860 suggests that the route was already in use in the Hallstatt period.

Christianity was first brought to the region in the 7th and 8th centuries by Irish and Scottish monks, and the patron saint of the parish church is in fact St. Oswald, a former King of Northumbria.
Tourists first began arriving in Alpbach at the beginning of the 20th century and by 1938 the village had accommodation for 110 visitors. Since then this figure has increased to 2500 and Alpbach now attracts some 22,000 visitors in summer and about the same in winter for an annual total of 300,000 nights. Tourism is the main source of income for today's 2300 local residents, but there are still 105 working farms in Alpbach, the same number as a hundred years ago.

Since 1945, Alpbach has been the venue for the Alpbach European Forum, an annual two-week conference of leading figures from the worlds of science, business, the arts and politics. The Forum and the participation of so many people who have shaped the thinking of their times has given Alpbach the nickname, "The Village Of Thinkers."
Over the years, Alpbach has collected many awards and distinctions. In 1975, the Austrian Public Health Institute certified that Alpbach had the cleanest and purest air in all of Austria. It was voted "Austria's Most Beautiful Village" in 1983 by a television contest organised by Austrian Television. In June 1985, the Council of Europe in Strasbourg conferred upon Alpbach the right to fly the European flag in recognition of the community's services to European Unity. In 1993, Alpbach won "The Most Beautiful Floral Village in Europe" award.

Alpbach is also a well known ski resort and its quiet pistes are well groomed and provide beginner to intermediate runs with lots of off pistes as well as unpatrolled route 5 which is popular with the more advanced skiers

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Additional Photos by ALESSANDRO MACCHI (SWEETFREEDOM) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1478 W: 0 N: 2824] (21998)
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