The town of Schwaz in the Lower Inntal Valley is the cultural hub of the Karwendel Silver Region and is still known today as the "silver town" thanks to its long history of copper and silver mining.
Schwaz is home to around 13,000 inhabitants and lies at 545 metres above sea level, at the foot of the Kellerjoch mountain. Traversed by the Inn river, Schwaz still has many buildings dating back to the period when this small town was a hub of copper and silver mining in the Middle Ages. The Maria Himmelfahrt parish church with its two bell towers is the largest Gothic church of its kind in Tirol and the only four-span church in Europe. The Franciscan monastery dating back to the 16th century has a number of Gothic frescoes. Perched high on a hill overlooking the town is Schloss Freundsberg, a castle whose mighty tower houses the town's local history museum.
Apart from the pretty medieval oldtown, other highlights include the famous "Haus der Völker" museum, the Zeiss Planetarium and the mining museum, where visitors have the chance to follow in the footsteps of miners who worked in this region centuries ago by travelling 800 metres down into the underground tunnels. The Stadtgalerien shopping centre is a good place for a little bit of retail therapy. Away from the town centre, the surrounding region offers many activities such as hiking, mountainbiking, tobogganing and skiing in the Tux Alps and the Karwendel Mountains. In the run-up to Christmas Schwaz holds its own advent market, just one of many activities going on throughout the year. Schwaz is also home to two music festivals: the Klangspuren festival of modern music and the Outreach Festival organised in cooperation with the local music academy.