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A Day in Innsbruck

By: Cityseeker
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Annasäule

On 26 July 1703, Saint Anna's Day, the Bavarians were successfully chased out of Tyrol following disputes concerning the Spanish succession. In memory of this, grateful Tyroleans constructed the Annensäule (Pillar of Anna). Even today, a lantern on the top is lit on Saturday nights, marking a now nearly 300 year-old pledge of gratitude. The Virgin Mary (Maria Immaculata) sits astride the top of this red marble pillar. She is surrounded by Saint Kassian, Vigilius, Georg and Anna (Mary's mother). Such pillars were frequently put up in public places during the Baroque period. They usually refer to a danger or threat of some kind; examples of these are the Plague Pillar at the Wiener Graben (cemetery) and a Trinity Pillar on the Linzer Hauptplatz (main square).

Maria-Theresien-Strasse, Innsbruck, Austria, 6020
Triumphpforte

Maria Theresia had this gate built to mark the engagement of her son Leopold (later Emperor Leopold II) to the Spanish Maria Ludovica in 1744. It is reminiscent of a Roman triumphal arch. How fortunate that only a few months previously the town authorities decided to demolish the outermost town gates. Although very glitzy, the marriage in question was not a joyous one; during the festivities, Emperor Franz Stephan I suddenly died. The architect took it upon himself to modify the facade of the arches, so that the southern facing side depicted jolly figures, the north mourning ones.

Maria-Theresien-Strasse, Innsbruck, Austria, 6020
Tyrolean State Museum Ferdinandeum

Located in the city of Innsbruck, the Tyrolean State Museum has an extensive collection in various fields such as historical art, archeology, science and music. Originally, established in 1823 as Ferdinandeum, it is now a part of the Tiroler Landesmuseum which manages it. It boasts a rich collection of historic Austrian as well as International art. It has a library with a superb collection of books about general history and important art history of the region. The museum also holds various events and concerts occasionally.

Museumstraße 15, Innsbruck, Austria, 4020
Museum of Tyrolean Regional Heritage

The Museum of Tyrolean Regional Heritage or Tiroler Volkskunstmuseum at the center of the historic part of Innsbruck was founded in 1888 and is considered to be the most beautiful of its kind in Europe. Those who want to learn more about Tyrol, its way of living, and the various arts and crafts performed here should not miss this opportunity. Among other things there are original farmhouse and aristocratic rooms giving a good insight into the life of people between late Gothic to Renaissance and the Baroque period. The importance of artistic creation in the area is exemplified by many items in copper, iron and tin as well as glass and ceramics. A further focus is represented by the religious artifacts and beautiful traditional farmers clothes.

Universitätsstrasse 2, Innsbruck, Austria, 6020
Stadtturm

The, 'Town Tower' was completed in 1450 and offers a fantastic view of the Nordkette mountain range and the Old Town. In earlier times, this view was enjoyed - albeit behind bars - by prisoners who were locked up here. The more romantically inclined among you may wish to make the ascent of the tower between 7p and 11p, the best time to contemplate the surrounding vista by moonlight, before proceeding to Café Hokuspokus for a 'Mondgetränk' (moon drink) - included in the entrance price!

Herzog-Friedrich-Strasse 21, Innsbruck, Austria, 6020
Goldenes Dachl

A symbol of Maximilian I's taste for extravagance, the Goldenes Dachl is still widely considered as one of Innsbruck's most elaborate pieces of architecture. Mainly known for its shimmering balcony, its construction was commissioned by Maximilian I prior to his wedding with Bianca Maria Sforza, ordering 2,657 copper shingles to be embedded on to the royal balcony. The balcony was gilded as a gesture of goodwill to the people of Innsbruck, but this stretched the royal household's finances to such an extent that the emperor was forced to take out a loan. The balcony was used by the royal family to watch theatrical productions and other forms of court entertainment. Now it is a part of the Museum Golden Roof which offers tours of its interiors as well.

Herzog-Friedrich-Strasse 15, Innsbruck, Austria, 6020
Alpenzoo

Situated 727 meters (2385 feet) above sea level, the Alpenzoo is the highest zoo in the world. Rather than play host to a range of exotic creatures, this haven only contains animals that originate from the Alpine region. Visitors can see more than 2000 different species ranging from the tiny golden cockerel, to mammoth bison and the bearded vulture with a wing-span of more than 3 meters (10 feet). Otters play in the water and various weird and wonderful fish can be viewed in the extraordinary cold-water aquarium. The park rangers also nurture endangered species and return them to their natural habitat, the Alps. So, if you spot an eagle soaring through the skies of Innsbruck, it may well be thanks to the work of the Alpine zoo.

Weiherburggasse 37, Innsbruck, Austria, 6020
Hungerburgbahn/Nordkettenbahn

The Hungerburg rack railway has been in service since 1906, connecting the city with Upper Innsbruck and the Nordkettenbahn railway to Seegrube, 1900 meters (6233 feet) above see level, and carrying on to the 2300 meters (7545 feet) Hafelekar station. The view over the Inn valley is breathtaking, particularly from the Seegrube Restaurant, which hosts legendary club nights every Friday. Visitors to the Alpenzoo get a free ride (zoo tickets can be purchased at the station).

Hungerburgweg 7, Station Hungerburg, Innsbruck, Austria, 6020
Ambras Castle

A sprawling structure steeped in history, the Schloß Ambras is a palace in which the famous Archduke Ferdinand II once resided. Built using the Renaissance style, many sections of this grand castle were turned into a museum by the Archduke during the years in which he lived here. The Wunderkammer (Gallery of Wonders) contains a display of exquisite objects like coral, ivory, a rhinoceros' horn and other artifacts brought back to Europe by explorers. The gallery also exhibits marvelous paintings of Vlad Dracula and other interesting figures. A vast space adorned with portraits of those who once ruled Tirol, the Spanish Hall features a striking design with a carefully crafted interior. The upper part of the palace houses the Habsburg's portrait gallery: an awe-inspiring collection of works by Cranach, Mor, Titian, Van Dyck and Velásquez.

Schlossstraße 20, Innsbruck, Austria, 6020
Olympic Sliding Centre Innsbruck

Located just 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) from Innsbruck, the Olympic bobsleigh, toboggan and skeleton track unfolds spectacularly in full view of the Austrian alps, adding to the thrill of the ride. This iconic track run hosts a series of international competitions every winter, but is also open to the general public from June to September. Daring visitors can race down the high-speed track in a 4-person bobsled, piloted by an experienced professional. The sleighs race down the 1210 meters (3969 feet) track, around a roundabout, at a speed of more than 100 kilometers (62 miles) per hour, in 60 seconds.

Heiligwasserwiese 1, Innsbruck, Austria, 6080
Bettelwurfhütte

The popular mountain hut Bettelwurfhütte near the town of pilgrimage Wallfahrtsort Absam, is perched atop the serene Halltal valley at 2,077 meters (6,814 feet) above sea-level is the start and finish for many climbing and hiking tours in the surrounding mountains. Hikers may want to choose the Grosser Bettelwurf at 2,250 meters (7,381 feet) or the Kleiner Bettelwurf as their targets. Furthermore, there are trails leading from the Stempeljoch to the Pfeishütte and from the Lafatscherjoch to the Hallangerhaus. The owner Christian Gschnitzer welcomes his guests with Tyrolean hospitality and traditional cuisine. After a demanding hike, this is the ideal place for some much-needed relaxation.

Halltal, In der Nähe von Karwendel, Absam, Austria, 6067
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