The History of Sölden

19 September 1991:

Mr. and Mrs. Simon from Nuernberg/Germany discover the mummified corpse of a mean near Tisenjoch glacier. Archeologists soon find out that the man has lived around 3200 years BC, that is between the Neolithic age and the Bronze Age; he later becomes known as "Ötzi" or "Ice Man".

Other scientific findings show the following:
About 900 years ago Stone Age hunters camped down at "Hohler Stein" near Vent and other places in Ötztal Valley.

Around 1000 BC:

the first immigrants come from Vinschgau via Hochjoch, Niederjoch and other passes and settle in the Ötztal Valley.

15 BC:

the Romans arrive in the Alps and found the Roman province Raetia.

Around 550 BC:

the Bavarians advance from the north into Ötztal valley; Vent and Rofen become permanent settlements.

1150:

Sölden makes its first appearance in the chrincles of the Swabian Lords of Ronsberg in Allgäu who leave farmsteads to the Ottobeuren Monastery.

13th to 16th century:

the sovereign, the Stams monastery and the Frauenchiemsee Benedictine Monastery are Ötztal's biggest landowners; most of their property consists of farms who pay their basic interest in form of small cheese loaves (up to 300 per year) and later also in cash.

1817:

Sölden is assigned to the pricinct of Silz.

1854:

Vent, which so far belonged the Kastelbell jurisdiction in South Tirol, becomes a municipality of Sölden.

19th century:

Ötztal attracs more and more mountaineers, and tourism gets under way.

1855:

there are 5 inns in the municipality of Sölden; several of the first inns are run by pastors.

1860 - 1872:

Franz Senn, a priest in Vent, realizes that tourism would better the economic situation for the locals.

1862:

foundation of the Austrian Alpine Association.

1871:

Franz Senn builds Hochjoch hospice, Ötztal's first shelter, on the trail via Hochjoch pass to South-Tirol; by the turn of the century there are already numerous mountain refuges of which most were built by the German Alpine Association.

1873:

the German and the Austrian Alpine Associations merge.

Around 1900:

Alpine skiing became more and more popular and Ötztal embarks on winter tourism.

1898 - 1903:

a road is built trough Ötztal to Sölden.

1903:

the valley's landlords publish their first joint brochure titled "The Ötztal".

1911:

the road is extended to Zwieselstein, tourism experiences a boom until the outbreak of WW I.

1914:

there are 12 inns in the muncipality of Sölden.

1918:

End of WW II - Austria is restored to its 1937 frontiers; South Tirol is ceded to Italy and a new frontier to Italy is created across the main Alpine chain; the economic problems in the area mount.

1922:

foundation of the Sölden Ski Club, winter tourism grows thanks to the development of the Hochsölden ski area.

1928:

Isidor Riml started the first hotel in Sölden.

1930:

Sölden logs 88.000 bed nights (90 % of which are attributed to summer tourism)

1933:

the "thousand mark" barrier - a kind of tourist tax - is introduced in Germany to disourage travel to Austria; the consequences for the tourism industry are severe.

1948:

construction of the first 1-seater chairlift from Sölden to Hochsölden; tourism experiences a great revival.

1953:

there are 45 inns in the municipality of Sölden.

1957:

Sölden registers 300.000 bed nights.

1966:

opening of the Gaislachkogl gondola giving access to Gaislachkogl mountain.

1968:

opening of the Timmelsjoch high Alpine road.

1971:

the ski areas of Hochsölden and Gaislachkogl are linked.

1975:

Rettenbach glacier is developed for skiing.

1985:

the municipality of Sölden records 1,5 million bed nights of which 63 % are logged in the winter alone.

2007:

there are hardly any private residences in Sölden anymore; almost all houses are geared toward accommodating tourists; all locals are directly or indirectly involved in tourism; trade and industry produce a high return thanks to the many investments in the tourism. Sölden meanwhile registers 2 million bed nights.