There are many towns and villages in the German-speaking world called Kirchberg, but the thing that makes Kirchberg in Tirol unmistakeable is its location in the rolling green hills of the Brixental Valley.
Kirchberg has a steadily growing population of over 5,000 inhabitants, making it one of the larger settlements in Tirol, a region generally characterised by small villages and hamlets. Indeed, Kirchberg itself is surrounded by several hamlets bedded into a rolling landscape which forms quite a contrast to the craggy peaks and sheer rock faces found in many other parts of Tirol.
A well-known German saying goes “Auf dem Rücken der Pferde liegt das Glück der Erde“. Roughly translated this means “No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle”. That is certainly an approach embraced by the people in Kirchberg, where jockeys of both sexes compete in harness races on the Rennbahn Frangl racecourse. However, the annual Antlassritt traditionally held on Corpus Christi is very much a men only affair. As is often the case with such customs, the origin of this impressive horseback procession through the Brixental Valley is uncertain. It is thought that the celebration combines both pre-Christian and Christian traditions.
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