Monday, June 6, 2016

Austria 2016
700 Years of Schärding

ISSUE DATE: 4 June 2016
PHOTO:Andi Bruckner

In 2016 Schärding is celebrating a round anniversary: exactly 700 years ago, in 1316, the little village in the Upper Austrian Innviertel was elevated to the status of a town. Austrian Post is congratulating it on this important anniversary by issuing a commemorative stamp. Over 5,000 years ago the area of the Inn where the town currently stands was already being navigated by ships. Schärding was first mentioned in historical documents as Scardinga in 804. In 1248 the Bavarian Wittelsbachs became the rulers of the village, which gained considerable economic significance as a result of the trading of salt, ores and other goods via the Inn. 

In 1316 Schärding was finally granted its town charter. During the 15th century, under the rule of Louis VII, Duke of Bavaria (known as “der Bärtige”, “the Bearded”), the fortifications were significantly extended, with the medieval sections of the town wall and some gates, such as the Water and Linz gates, still standing today. In 1724 and again in 1779 the town was devastated by fire. In 1779, following the Bavarian War of Succession, Schärding passed from Bavaria to Austria. During the Napoleonic Wars the town was occupied by the French and suffered considerable damage. After the end of the war, and as a consequence of the resolutions passed in the Vienna Congress, Schärding definitively became part of the Hapsburg Empire in 1816. Nowadays the town has around 5,000 inhabitants and is a member of the “Kleine historische Städte” (small historic towns) association. 

The typical buildings for the town date from the Baroque era. Many house fronts are built in the so-called Inn- Salzach style: false façades conceal the roof and turn the buildings into a closed row of houses. The colourful façades with the sweeping gables characterise the town’s appearance to this day, with the Late Baroque Silberzeile, which is the subject for the stamp design, being particularly well-known. The different coloured façades can be traced back to the medieval guilds, each of which was assigned a particular colour e.g. blue for bakers, red for butchers. Schärding was once known as a “beer town”. As part of its 1316 town charter Schärding was granted the right to brew beer, and more than a dozen breweries provided the inhabitants of the region with the hop-based beverage. The only remaining brewery, Baumgartner, has been in Schärding for more than 400 years, and until recently Kapsreiter beer was still brewed in Schärding. 

Schärding not only has a tradition of brewing beer, but also of cheese production: the famous brand of dairy products was developed by the Schärding dairy association. To celebrate this centenary year the town of Schärding is organising a comprehensive programme of events under the heading “Die Barockstadt hat schwer was drauf!” (“The Baroque town has plenty to show off!”). At the “Jubiläums-Spectaculum” you can celebrate with the whole family at a medieval festival; the “Via Scardinga” follows a themed trail through the history of the town, and numerous exhibitions, concerts and special guided tours provide information and entertainment on various topics relating to the town, its past and its present.

Stamp images thanks to Austrian Post - Österreichische Post
La Poste