Intangible Cultural Heritage in Austria

Transhumance – the driving of sheep in the Oetztal Alps

Applicant: Kulturverein Schnals; Verein Pro Vita Alpina Österreich
Province: Tyrol
Domain: Practices concerning nature
Year of inclusion: 2011

The transhumance in the Oetztal Alps is a special form of sheep driving hikes. These hikes go over the peaks of Timmelsjoch (2494m), the Hochjoch (2885m) and the Niederjoch (3017m) and are the only cross-border transhumance in the Alps that leads across glaciers. They not only cross climatic but also national borders. Every year in early summer, around 5,000 to 5,500 sheep from South Tyrol are led to the Oetztal pastures and back again in autumn. The brown Tyrol Mountain Sheep (Bergschaf) and the Steinschaf, both of which are endangered sheep breeds, are natives of the region.