‘Birzelkapelle’ Chapel

Just less than an hour’s walk from the village of Scharnitz, isolated and hidden in the forest on the old path that leads into the Karwendel valley towards Karwendelhaus’, stands a chapel dedicated to the Mother of God. The chapel was first mentioned as far back as 1809 – it is not known, however, for what reason and by whom it was built. On account of the construction of this chapel, the whole surrounding area was placed under the safeguard of the ‘Feast of the Visitation of Mary’ – the patronage day of the Inrain farming community – which, due to the intercession of the Mother of God, is said to offer protection from storms and lightening which can be particularly dangerous in this high Alpine terrain. In 1956, the old chapel, which had fallen into a state of disrepair, was replaced by the new present-day chapel by the local farmers’ association under chairman Albert Heiß. It was designed by the Innsbruck-based architect Kelderer. The altarpiece was created by the academic painter Max Spielmann and the bell was cast by the Innsbruck bell foundry Graßmayr. The total costs of the chapel at the time amounted to approx. 50,000 ‘schillings’ (approx. 3,600 euros) which were shared by the tiny community of Inrain farmers (15 families). The families themselves also took care of the chapel’s maintenance – Eva Stahlberg, née Mimm, is currently responsible for its upkeep. It is quite heart-warming when you think how this tiny community selflessly upholds its traditions and passes them on from one generation to the next.


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