Page 17 - Lienz Treasure Chest
P. 17

The oldest painted column shrine of Tyrol.

                                                                                                            14  Column shrine in the gar-  this building was built far from
                                                                                                          den of the “Siechenhaus” (lazar   the city proper. First mentioned in
                                         Town upon Isel and Drava – Life at the Rivers                    house) – Dated around 1400, it is   1334, it is probably older than that.
                                                                                                          considered the oldest painted co-  In 1809, it was closed down. The
                                         The Drava river has its source near Toblach/Dobbiaco (South Tyrol /   lumn shrine in Tyrol. Thick shaft   southern side is adorned with the
                                         Alto Adige, Italy), runs across steep meadows and forests and thus   with a massive upper part, four ni-  1612 fresco “Resurrection of La-
                                         passes 430 vertical metres in its first ten kilometres. The watershed   ches and a pyramid roof. Painted   zarus” by Erasmus Hämmerl. The
                                         of Toblach is very important, as the Drava flows east and into the   with depictions of the Adoration   painted sundial dates back to the
                                         Black Sea, rather than west and into the Adriatic like all other sur-  of the Three Kings, the Crucifixion   early 17th century.
                                         rounding rivers. Just outside of Lienz, it becomes a popular site for   with Mary and John, Saints Doro-
                                         kayaking and, in the eastern part of the city, it joins the last Alpine   thea and Catherine between two
                                         glacier river – the Isel. The emblematic river of the High Tauern   bishops and St Christopher.
                                         National Park, the Isel, starts out as a narrow mountain stream
                                         near the Großvenediger mountain. It plunges, foaming, over rocks,   Former “Siechenhaus” (lazar
                                         thunderously burrows through deep ravines, takes in other Alpine   house), Kärntnerstraße 39 – A for-
                                         streams and then flows on as a wide, untamed river to Lienz, where   mer welfare institution of the town.
                                         it unites with the still-weak Drava. What comes from high up in the   The lazar house, or leprosorium,
                                         mountains is savage. So the wild river had to be regulated in pla-  housed incurably ill people who
                                         ces. But it was allowed to retain large parts of its original character.  posed a risk of infection. They lived
                                                                                                          under the care of the “lazar house
                                         In Lienz, right by the Spitalsbrücke leading across the Isel, you can   father”. They received a uniform and
                                         find informative charts from the High Tauern National Park on the   had to carry a wooden rattle or a
                                         subject. The “Heart River of East Tyrol” is dear to our hearts.  bell if they went out in order to alert
                                                                                                          passers-by. Like all lazar houses,

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