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Nostalgia & Calmness, Gaschurn, Vorarlberg

Gaschurn, Vorarlberg, municipality in the district of Bludenz, alt. 979 m, pop. 1,714, area 176.78 km2, bi-seasonal tourism, situated in the upper Montafon valley close to the Swiss border; the municipality consists of the Walser settlement G. (first documented mention 1423) and the Partenen village (1499); largest municipality of Vorarlberg in terms of area.

Pfarrkirche St. Michael a historic church in neo-Romanic style, the new parish church was consecrated in 1869 by Franz Josef Rudigier, Bishop of Linz, who was born in Partenen.

Notable features of this parish church:
· Altar and ceiling pictures in late Nazarine style by Franz and Jakob Bertle, brothers from Schruns.
· High altar from the workshop of Fidelis Rudhart in Feldkirch (1911).
· The former church had a rare pulpit in the shape of a whale with Jonah the prophet.
· By the church stands the only "Tanzlaube" in Montafon, a building originally used as a social gathering place and court room.

Vorarlberg is the westernmost federal-state (Land) of Austria. Although it is the second smallest in terms of area (Vienna is the smallest) and population (Burgenland is less populated), it borders three countries: Germany (Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg via Lake Constance), Switzerland (Graubünden and St. Gallen) and Liechtenstein. The only Austrian federal state that shares a border with Vorarlberg is Tyrol to the east.

The capital of Vorarlberg is Bregenz, although Dornbirn and Feldkirch are larger cities in terms of population. Vorarlberg is also distinct in that it is the only province in Austria that does not speak an Austro-Bavarian, but rather an Alemannic dialect; it therefore culturally has much more in common with its Alemannic-speaking neighbors Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Swabia than with Bavaria and the rest of Austria.
The main rivers in Vorarlberg are the Ill (running through the Montafon and Walgau valleys into the Rhine), the Rhine (forming the border to Switzerland), the Bregenzer Ach and the Dornbirner Ach. Important lakes, apart from Lake Constance are Lüner Lake, Silvretta Lake, Vermunt Lake, Spuller Lake, the Kops Basin and Formarin Lake; the first four were created for the production of hydroelectric energy. However even before the dam for the power plant was built, Lüner Lake was the largest mountain lake in the Alps. Most of this hydroelectric energy is exported to Germany at peak times. At night energy from power plants in Germany is used to pump water back into some of the lakes.
As there are several notable mountain ranges in Vorarlberg, such as the Silvretta, the Rätikon, the Verwall and the Arlberg, there are many famous skiing regions (Arlberg, Montafon, Bregenzer Wald) and ski resorts (Lech, Zürs, Schruns, Warth, Damüls, Brand and many more). Damüls is also famous as the municipality with the most annual snowfall worldwide (on average 9.30 meters). The highest mountain is Piz Buin, whose rocky peak of 3,312 meters is surrounded by glaciers. Vorarlberg is supposed to enjoy the greatest scenic diversity within limited confines in the entire Eastern Alps; it adjoins the Western Alps. The distance from Lake Constance and the plains of the Rhine valley across the medium altitude and high alpine zones to the glaciers of the Silvretta range is a mere 90 km. (Source: vorarlberg & wikipedia)

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Additional Photos by George Rumpler (Budapestman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 8900 W: 3 N: 20435] (82620)
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