Natural Beauties of Austria - Martinswand near Zirl
To the east of Zirl, the mighty Martinswand (Wall of Martin) towers majestically in the heavens as an unmistakable symbol of this municipality. The Martinswand belongs to the Solstein Group of the Karwendel Range, which is part of the Limestone Alps in northern Tyrol. On the left bank of the Inn it rises steeply to a height of 1,113 meters. The "Wetterstein" limestone of which it is formed is chemically very pure and tends to become karstic, concealing many small cavities and sometimes even larger caverns. During the Ice Age the Martinswand was sharpened by the powerful Inn Valley glacier, while the surrounding mountains were rounded off. It serves as a border between the Upper and Lower Inn Valleys. In 1932 Hias Auckenthaler and Hans Frenademetz became the first to ascend the Martinswand. The famous Martinswand Grotto is located 799 meters above sea level in the middle of this steep wall. It is also known as the Maximilian Grotto, for legend has it that Emperor Maximilian ordered that a cavern be chiselled and a cross placed where he was rescued during a hunting trip.
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