The capital of Tyrol is an unforgettable sight. The jagged rock towers of the Nordkette are so close that in a few minutes you can drive from the heart of the city to more than 2,000 meters above sea level and to the mountain meadows where cowbells ring. Along with the many other sites, Innsbruck was a highlight for some friends of mine that own a company that makes trade show flooring, during their Austrian adventure. Winter and summer activities abound, and it is understandable that some visitors take a look at Innsbruck before heading up the hill.
But that is a shame because Innsbruck is Austria in a microcosm in many ways. The old town from the late Middle Ages is an illustrated book, which is managed by a Baroque cathedral and a large Habsburg castle, while its Olympic ski with excellent mountain views makes a spectacular jump between the outdoors and the urban. Here are the top must-see attractions in Innsbruck, Austria.
This Renaissance mound is located on a hill in the middle of beautiful gardens and was acquired by Archduke Ferdinand II in 1564. Don’t miss the centerpiece of the Spanish Saal, the dazzling collection of armor, and the gallery’s original Velázquez and Van Dyck. The Spanish Saal is a 43-meter long banquet hall with an inlaid wooden ceiling and Tyrolean nobles looking out from the walls. Note also the gray relief around the patio and the sunken bathtub in which the beloved Filipino of Ferdinard bathed.
Innsbrück’s joy and pride is this Gothic church, one of the most beautiful royal court churches in Europe. It was commissioned by Ferdinand I in 1553, who recruited artists such as Peter Vischer the Elder, Alexander Colin, and Albrecht Dürer. Highlights include Emperor Maximilian I empty sarcophagus (1459-1519), German Renaissance sculpture masterpiece, carefully carved from black marble.
The Hofburg was built in the 15th century for Archduke Sigmund as a castle. It was enlarged in the 16th century by Emperor Maximilian I and Baroque altered in the 18th century by Empress Maria Theresa. The heart of the luxury rococo apartments is the giant 31-meter living room. It is decorated with paintings and frescoes of Maria Theresa and her children (including Marie Antoinette) which seem strangely identical, the artist may have wanted to avoid the royal anger which results from sibling rivalry.
The golden wonder and the most striking monument of Innsbruck is this Gothic oriel, which was built for the Roman Emperor Maximilian I. it is magnificently decorated with murals and glitters with 2,657 fire-gilded copper tiles. It’s the most impressive from the outside, but the museum is well worth a visit, especially if you have a map of Innsbruck with an audio guide that takes you through history. Watch out for grotesque tournament helmets designed to look like the rival Ottoman Empire Turks.
Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum
This treasure trove of history and art moves from artifacts from the Bronze Age to the original reliefs with which the Goldenes Dachl was designed. In addition to meditating on Dutch Rembrandt masterpieces, the gallery displays an incredible collection of Austrian art, including several paintings by Kokoschka and Klimt, Gothic altarpieces, and some striking Viennese activists.