BEST VIEWS WITHOUT LEAVING THE CITY CENTRE
The City Tower (“Innsbrucker Stadtturm”, in German) is situated at the heart of Innsbruck’s historic centre; the same square where everybody stops to take a picture of the Golden Roof (Goldenes Dachl). It’s one of the highest in the city and therefore an ideal place to enjoy Innsbruck’s best views.
If you are close to the Golden Roof and look up, you will see a tower 51 metres high crowned by a characteristic green dome. The tower has three different bodies with a rectangular shape, and the third one has clocks on each of its sides. Just above these clocks lies the balcony that you can visit.
We need to climb 147 steps leading to a terrace 31 metres high to enjoy this magnificent belvedere. From here you can have a privileged view of Innsbruck’s main historic buildings, such as the Golden Roof, St. James Cathedral or the Hofburg roofs, as well as its beautiful natural surroundings, river Inn, Bergisel and the Nordkette mountain range.
The tower was built in the 15th century (around 1450) as a seat for the City Council. Later, it was used as a prison and as a watchtower. It was guarded by watchmen who rang the bells every time the city faced a danger, such as a fire. The tower was protected until 1967.
The tower opens from 10:00 to 17:00, except June to September when it stays open until 20:00. Usually, it is open every day of the week, from Monday to Sunday. Regular tickets cost €3.
Herzog-Friedrich-Straße 21, 6020 Innsbruck
LET’S TRY INNSBRUCK SCHWEINEBRATEN!
There are several things in common among Central Europen countries’ cuisine. All of them eat a lot of meat, soups and stews. These countries have a cold climate during a good part of the year, so their inhabitants need heavy and filling food. That’s very true for the Tirol area, where we will find many roasted, stewed or smoked meat. “Tafelspitz”, for example, is boiled meat with cranberry sauce and “Selchfleisch mit sauerkraut” is smoked meat with fermented cabbage. Regarding soups, “Frittatensuppe”, a soup with pieces of crepe, is very much recommended. If you want to try a soup with pork meat, you can order “Rindsuppe” or “Klachlsuppe”.
To introduce you to the region’s cuisine, Europamundo recommends you try a traditional dish that can be found in every restaurant in town, the delicious “Schweinebraten”, roasted pork with garlic, really typical from the Tirolese capital.
It doesn’t imply a very complex elaboration and the most common pieces used are the head, the loin and the ham. It is essential to marinate the meat properly. It has to be rubbed with garlic and covered with enough salt and pepper and left to marinate overnight or at least for several hours. Pieces are roasted in a preheated oven at 140 degrees after spreading it with mustard or butter, with the rind down. We can add vegetables broth and everything we have used to marinate the meat (butter, salt, pepper, spices). After 40 minutes, we turn the piece, and we put some garlic in the rind. After thirty minutes or so, we can take our pork from the oven, slice it and leave it for some minutes so it can absorb all the juices. Then it is ready.
The most common side dishes to accompany the Schweinebraten are sauerkraut or the famous Knödel, balls with spinach, cheese or bacon.
Enjoy your meal! Guten Appetit!
SOUVENIR FROM TIROL
Even if the most famous shopping street is Maria Theresien Strasse (we will come back to it later), there are two narrow streets ideal for finding souvenir related to Innsbruck and the Tirol region. Both of them are close to the famous Golden Roof. The first one is a lane named Hofgasse, leading us to the Imperial Palace and the Court Church. The other one is Herzog-Friedrich-Strasse, which starts just in front of the roof.
And what are we going to find here? Every kind of little objects can be brought as a present for the family or even for ourselves.
First, we will find the Tirol hats. Locals wear them as a sign of identity. These hats are usually made of felt and have a ribbon and a feather. The whole traditional outfits are also sold in every style, colour and price range.You will also find the famous beer mugs here, made in glass and pottery, with or without cover.
Other frequent souvenirs are cowbells, even if since 2000 it has been forbidden to force animals to wear them. Nowadays, these big bells decorated with ribbons in the town or village colours are just a classic souvenir of this region.
On the other hand, if you want to buy the famous Swarovski glass products, you should visit Swaroski Kristalwellten Store placed on 39 Herzog-Friedrich-Strasse, halfway to Maria Theresian Strasse from the Golden Roof. It is worth a visit because of the several levels that work as an exhibition of glassware and not only as a store. You cannot miss the crystal stairs and the legendary chandelier Cascade, created by Vincent van Duysen.
There is a bar as well, where you will be able to taste the local wines. Glassware lovers will be happy to know that the main factory is situated 25 kilometres outside Innsbruck, in a town known as Wattens. It is also possible to visit the company’s museum.
MAXIMILIAN’S PRESENT TO HIS SECOND WIFE
The Golden Roof (Goldenes Dachl, in German) is the most photographed monument in the city and, without any doubt, the most famous and the best remembered by whoever visits Innsbruck. You cannot say you have been here if you haven’t visited this structure situated in the city centre, so let’s say something about the story of this famous balcony.
Emperor Maximilian I loved Innsbruck, and he loved it so much that he ordered to build this roof to commemorate his second marriage. He also called his mausoleum to be erected here, even though he finally rests in his birthplace, Vienna.
Maximilian I (1459 - 1519) got married two times. With his first wife, Mary of Burgundy, he had his firstborn, Philip the Fair (who married Joanna of Castille, known as the Mad). Two years after Mary’s death in 1482, the Emperor decided to marry Bianca Maria Sforza. The Golden Roof was built as a commemoration of this marriage in 1494. The erection of this balcony was committed to the Imperial Architect, Nikolaus Turing the Old. It was decorated with 2.738 golden tiles (made in fire-gilded copper mixed with gold) and designed so it could be used to enjoy the events that were frequently held in the square, such as festivals and tournaments.
In the lower part of the balcony, eight crests represent the territories under Maximilian dominion. We can also find murals and relieves as a remembrance of significant events in the Emperor’s life. Even if the balcony was created to commemorate his second marriage, his two wives are represented here.
Since 2003 the Golden Roof is home to a small museum, the Maximilianeum. The city archive is also located here. The palace is the Alpine Convention seat, a coalition of the eight countries that share the Alps, unanimously committed to the European mountain range’s sustainable development.
Golden Roof – Goldenes Dachl: Herzog-Friedrich-Strasse 15
INNSBRUCK GIANT PANORAMA PAINTING
On Bergisel hill, less than three kilometres away of Innsbruck city centre, we can find the Tyrol Panorama Museum.
Once we arrive at the parking area, our look will inevitably go to the famous Olympic ski jump Bergisel, one of the city’s true symbols. This modern ski jump replaces the original one, built in 1925, and was designed in 2011 by British Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid. From this place, we have fantastic panoramic views of Innsbruck and its monuments, and the mountains surrounding it.
It is easy to overlook the building beside it, a modern-looking museum home to an impressive painting ten metres tall and one hundred metres long. A thousand square metres filled with lots of detail will invite us to get inside it and make us believe that we are looking at a huge stage instead of a painting.
This is the Innsbruck panorama, painted by Robert Baker in 1896, representing one of the battles led by local hero Andreas Hofer.
This 360-degree canvas tells us the story of the third and last battle between French and Tyrolean in Bergisel Mountain in 1809. Tyrolean were fighting for their independence against Napoleon’s troops. The painting shows us the peasant revolt leader, Andreas Hofer, just when he is being detained. Watching the canvas, we can relive the fight between both sides, and we can see the landscape, the persecution, the fires, the atmosphere of the battles fought in those years. It is impossible to remain unaffected by this work of art and, no matter how much I try to describe it, it will be a surprise for those who decide to visit it.
The museum has other sections that document the military history of the region during the last two centuries.
Tyrol Panorama Museum: Bergisel 1-2, 6020 Innsbruck
DO YOU WANT TO CLIMB ONE OF THE HIGHEST MOUNTAINS IN INNSBRUCK?
If you want to enjoy the mountain, do a little hiking or have a beer in one of the restaurants in the Tyrolean mountains, this is without a doubt a great experience. There are two different means of transportation (funicular and cable car) to reach the Hafelekar summit (2256 metres high). It sure will be an unforgettable experience, this gateway to the mountains will allow you to know them up close, spotting shepherds refuges and experiencing on your own the wild nature of the Alps.
On the north side of the city rises the Nordkette mountain range, a popular destination among locals for short excursions, hiking days, and practising winter sports.
On the 1st of December 2007, a funicular was inaugurated there. It is known as Hungerburg, and it was designed by the famous British Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, who received the Pritzker Prize in 2004. This funicular has four stations, and in them, the architect tried to represent the ice and snow landscapes we can find on the mountain’s summit. She succeeded in that, without any doubt.
You can take this modern Hungerburg funicular in the city centre, a few metres away from the Imperial Palace, the Golden Roof and the cathedral. There is an underground station named Congress. There you can buy the tickets. There is also a river station named Lowenhaus, and one another, Alpenzoo. The last stop is Hungerburg, 857 metres high.
Ride from the first to the last station is just two kilometres long where you can climb almost 300 metres. After this, you can continue your excursion with two cable cars. The first one takes you to a station named Seegrube, which is1.900 metres high. The second one will take you up to 2.300 metres, to the Hafelekar, where you will be able to enjoy the fantastic views of the capital of Austrian Tyrol and the Alps. The ascent to the summit costs around €40.
•Funicular Hungerburgbahn (Congress-Löwenhaus-Alpenzoo-Hungerburg):
Monday to Friday: 7.15 - 19.15. Saturday and Sunday: 8.00 - 19.15.
•Seegrubenbahn cable car (Hungerburg-Seegrube):
Open every day: 8.30 - 17.30. Friday night: 18.00 - 23.30 horas
•Hafelekarbahn cable car (Seegrube-Hafelekar):
Open every day: 9.00 - 17.00.
Address: Rennweg 3. Innsbruck
EMPEROR MAXIMILIAN’S EMPTY GRAVE
The Hofkirche is probably one of the most peculiar churches in the Alps that contain Emperor Maximilian’s (1459-1519) funerary monument. Maximilian was Archduke of Austria and Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. The history regarding this mausoleum is quite impressive.
Maximilian I, loved the city of Innsbruck and transformed it for a while the cultural capital of Europe. Its location midway between north and south and its beautiful landscapes made it his favourite corner in the world. That is why he ordered many of its historical buildings to be built, including the famous Golden Roof. But he was so indebted with the town artisan’s that during one of his last trips to Innsbruck he was not allowed to enter the city.
Hence he changed his last will and decided his body would rest in his birthplace instead of the mausoleum he had been building. This is why the funerary monument in the Hofkirche (or Court Church) is empty, and Emperor Maximilian remains are buried under the altar in Saint George’s chapel in Wiener. Eustadt, his birthplace 45 kilometres outside Vienna. His heart, however, was sent to Bruges and buried beside his first wife, Mary of Burgundy. 500th anniversary of his death was celebrated in 2019.
This mausoleum is absolutely impressive. Maximilian, controlled every detail of its construction even though it wasn’t until decades after his death that it was finished. The funeral monument is placed at the church centre. Twenty-eight statues were sculpted from a total of 40 initially designed by the Emperor. These statues, almost two metres high represent different characters who were historically famous. For example, we can find his two wives, Mary of Burgundy and Bianca Maria Sforza. It is also striking the sculpture representing King Arthur. Nowadays, this church is the pantheon of the heroes of the region whose capital is Tyrol.
The most important is the venerated Andreas Hofer, who led in 1809 the Tyrolean troops fighting for their independence during the battle of Bergisel against Napoleon’s soldiers.
Church Court - Hofkirche. Tiroler Landesmuseen: Universitätsstraße 2.
WE WILL KNOW IN DETAIL INNSBRUCK’S PRETTIEST STREET
We invite you to take a colourful and lively walk, full of history. Today’s route of choice is the Maria Theresian Strasse. one of the nicest streets in town. Apart from walking and enjoying the architecture of the palaces built on both sides of it, you will be able to enjoy the colourful shops or sit in one of its cafes to relax.
Maria Theresien Strasse is named after Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, one of the most important Habsburg figures. Maria Theresa I of Austria was the wife of Francis I of Lorraine and mother of the famous Maria Antoinette. Without any doubt, she was one of the most important women in the History of Austria and Central Europe. Centuries ago, this street was outside of the medieval city walls. Later, during the 18th century, the city became bigger, and the noblemen who lived in their villas outside Innsbruck, chose this street, close to the Imperial Palace, to build their palaces. In 2009 the avenue was redesigned and became the most modern in the city.
At the beginning of our walk, we will stop in front of a church, the Spitalskirche or Old Hospital Church, placed on the right side, on number 2. The present church was built during the 18th century, even though it was partially restored after World War II. Opposite to it, on the number 7, we find Lodron Palace, built in 1744 in Rococo style.Ahead, on number 16, we can find the iconic Hard Rock Café, located on a remarkable dark building with doors and windows in red y little golden roofs.
On number 18 we will find the Town Hall. Inside it, there is one of the most modern shopping passageways in Innsbruck, the Rathaus Galerien. We will also stop by Saint Anne’s Column (Annasaüle, in German). This column was erected in 1706 on St. Anne’s Day to commemorate Tyrol’s defence during the Spanish War of Succession, in 1703. It is an ideal spot to take a picture with the Nordketten range behind. If we continue our walk, on number 31, we will find another shopping mall, Kaufhaus Tyrol.
We will keep walking to admire several palaces from the 17th and 18th centuries, such as Palais Trapp (on number 38) a d Palais Troyer-Spaur (on 39). building on number 43 deserves a special mention: the Taxispalais Kunsthalle Tirol, home to the Tyrol Art Gallery.
At the end of the street, we will find the Baroque Triumphal Arch, ordered by Maria Theresa in the 18th century to celebrate his son Maximilian’s wedding. One side of the arch represents the joy of the event. The other side represents sadness, as the empress husband, Francis I of Lorraine died during the wedding celebrations.
Address: Maria Theresien Strasse.
HOFGARTEN: HABSBURG´S HISTORICAL GARDENS
If you are looking for an ideal place to rest and relax, walk, or have a little picnic, the Imperial Garden of Innsbruck is your best option.
The Imperial Garden is in the city centre, just by the river Inn, a few minutes away from the Golden Roof and the Hofburg Palace. Because of their historical and natural value, these gardens, as the imperial gardens in Vienna, are federal property and belong to the Austrian Republic since 1919. They are under the management of the Ministry of Agriculture, Regions and Tourism.
These gardens were first created more than 600 years ago. In 1369 Duke Leopold IV ordered their creation and used them for hunting and cultivation. Later, during the duchy of Ferdinand I (mid-16th century) and his son Ferdinand II (late 16th and early 17th centuries), the gardens were altered and redesigned in Renaissance style as Italian gardens. In 1763 Empress Maria Theresa I of Austria ordered a new redesign in the Baroque style, fashionable in her days. Finally, during the mid-19th century, in 1857, they changed again to a more English style, taking the shape we can see nowadays.
This park is a green area with footpaths, surrounded by centennial trees. In the gardens, we can find many amenities. If you want to have a coffee, you can do it in the Hofgarten Cafe. You will also find the music Pavilion and the Tirol Art Gallery (Tiroler Künstlerschaft – Kunstpavillon, in German) which holds different exhibitions.
The park is frequented by locals and is the ideal spot to take a break. It is very well kept, and it’s a very pleasant place, full of different kind of plants and big trees. There is also an area for children, with a mini-fortress. As in many other Austrian and Swiss cities, we will find a huge chessboard here as well.
Timetable: The garden opens every day at 06:00 am. According to the year season, it closes between 17.30 and 22.30.
Imperial Gardens – Hofgarten: Kaiserjägerstrasse
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