The Umesberger Giant Legend

Between Medraz and Neustift on the Omesbergs` farm (also named Umesberg), lived the husky Martin Tanzer, also called the „Umisberger Giant“. He was born in about 1650. Already as a young boy, his strength was renowned and feared. His parents often didn´t know how to manage him. Once his father send him to fetch an axe. The axe was never found, because Martin had chopped so deep into the Larch tree stump that it was no longer visible! On another occasion, his mother send him to the well to fetch some water. 

She received the fright of her life as young Martin pulled the whole well through the house door! Omesberger Riese

In those days and later about 300  Stubai  Blacksmith dealers carried their stocks of products in framed rucksacks and moved around from year to year travelling all over the world to present and sell their products.

This was the ultimate challenge for the husky „Umisberger“. With 90Kg of metal goods in his framed rucksack, he went to the town Schaffhausen to the custom duty office and put his load on the table. At that moment, the table collapsed.  Being impressed by the Stubai giants´ supernatural strength, the customs duty office granted him a toll exemption for the rest of his life. Also, his picture was painted on the outside wall of the customs duty office.

Umisberger also carried the huge boulders used to build the Church in Neustift. However his great strength also encouraged him to take chances. 

He would steal anything that was edible, even the best bull or ox, he would fetch from the fields or the mountain pastures to eat. One day, the farmers had had enough. They captured him and handed him over to the Imperial Guards.

The Imperial Guards shackled him with chains to take him to Innsbruck. On the way, he used all his strength to free himself from the chains and he took hold of the nearest police officer by the collar and threw him with one hand over the bridge they were travelling across. Because the other guards were so afraid of Umisberger, they ran away. Umisberger also fled. A group of farmers then hunted him down and secured him in the Telfeser meadows. A pardon from the King came too late, because the farmers hanged the Umesberger Giant from a tree.

In 1727, the painter Damian Asam painted the fresco in the Innsbruck Cathedral Church in “St. Jakob”. The killing of Umesberger by his own people because of his insatiable hunger shocked Damian so much that he painted the shackled Umesberger Giant on the arch in the church.

Pension Riese

6167 Neustift im Stubaital
Omesberg 5


Tel. +43 664 2134906

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