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The Kloster Valley

by Theresa König last modified 2008-02-19 15:24

The Kloster Valley

One can easily see how the steep slopes are furrowed by deeply cut gullies.

Debris flows from these gullies have been looming above and threatening the settlements and the roads built on the debris cones in the valley since people began to settle here.

The Arlberg Pass in the background, lies at a relatively low altitude of 1,793 m and can be traversed on foot fairly easily. The east-west furrow of the Kloster Valley as well as the Stanzer Valley beyond the Arlberg was used as a footpath and mule track in prehistoric and Roman times as well as the early Middle Ages.

During the height of the Middle Ages this trail was improved to transport salt from Hall in Tyrol to the west, and silver ore from Bartholomaeberg and Kristberg to the east, as well as for pilgrims.

To make travelling on this important connection easier and safer, hospices and inns were built in the village of Klösterle on the right side of the valley, Stuben at the back of the valley at the foot of the ascent to the pass, and on the Arlberg pass itself in St. Christoph, and then further down in St. Anton.
In the Late Middle Ages the mule track was improved so it could be used as a cart path. Later, under the wise rule of Emperor Maximilian a postal service was set up over the Arlberg. In the years 1823 and 1824, the street was upgraded and became a state road with a regular postal service.

From 1895 to 1897 the first connecting road, the Flexenstraße, was built from Stuben to Zuers and Lech. This road was cut into the rock at dizzying heights. In the years 1880 to 1884 the Arlberg railway was cut into the foot of the steep rocky slope.

Geological studies from back then already showed correctly that the southern slopes are much gentler, but are in the process of an acute large slope movement. This was why the considerably more difficult construction on the northern side of the valley had to be dealt with. Due to unbelievable technical efforts it was possible to construct the 10,249 metre long Arlberg Tunnel -connecting Stuben and St. Anton - as well as 9 other tunnels, 31 large bridges and many kilometre long bearing walls and retaining walls with long avalanche protection roofs into the steep rocky walls.

This achievement was only made possible by the employment of up to 8,000 men and women, mainly from Trentino Italy. Unfortunately, though, the dangerous work on the ladders and planks was the cause of many casualties.

Ever since the railway was built, protective constructions have continuously been added for improved safety of the railway. Between 1884 and 1970 the railway line was repeatedly interrupted and many lives where lost because of some 1,500 avalanches, 160 rock falls and several mud flows.


P06-2 The Kloster Valley.mp3

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