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Trip Planner Europe  /  Austria  /  Austrian Alps  /  Tirol  /  Galtur
Galtür is a village and ski resort in the upper Paznaun valley in Austrian state of Tyrol located in the Central Eastern Alps 35 km southwest of Landeck near the border of Vorarlberg and Switzerland.HistoryGaltür was settled by the Engadinern from the south, the Walsern and Vorarlbergern from the west, and Tyroleans from the east. Today the cultivation work of the Engadiner is remembered in the name Galtür, meaning Cultura. During the Thirty Years' War, Galtür was badly damaged. The church and many houses were burned down. The first roads leading through the Paznaun were built in the 19th century. During that period, Galtür consisted of a church, an inn, and eight houses, and was considered very poor. After the first hotel was built, the Jamtalhütte was soon constructed. With the advent of tourism, Galtür and the valley became prosperous.On 23 February 1999, an avalanche descended on Galtür. In less than 60 seconds, the 50 m (164 ft) high wall of snow traveling at 290 km/h (186 mph) overturned cars, destroyed buildings, and buried 57 people—of these, 31 died before rescue teams could reach them. The avalanche was considered the worst in the Alps in 40 years. Due to the continuing danger of avalanches, thousands of tourists were evacuated from the Paznaun valley via air-lift. Military and civil helicopters from Austria, Germany, Switzerland, France, and the United States were engaged in one of the biggest rescue operations of Austria's recent history. The avalanche was caused by three major weather systems from the Atlantic that produced large snowfalls totaling around 4 meters in the area. Alternating freezing and thawing created a weak layer on top of an existing snow pack, followed by additional snowfall. High winds created large snow drifts, and eventually caused roughly 170,000 tons of snow to fall on the village.
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