Innsbruck, the “Bridge over the Inn”, is the capital of Austria’s Tirol and home to one of Europe’s most delightful historic old town centres. Surrounded by the craggy peaks of the Austrian Alps, it scores both as an Alpine playground and as a showcase for Habsburg Empire heritage.
Innsbruck’s most famous landmark is a roof. But not just any roof. The Goldenes Dachl, the “little golden roof”, is adorned with 2,657 fire-gilt copper tiles that glimmer in the sun and reflect the glory days of Emperor Maximilian I, who made Innsbruck his imperial capital 500 years ago. “Insprucke”, the historic name of the town is derived from the original meaning “Bridge over the Inn”. Coveted by empires and dynasties throughout its history, Innsbruck is a living treasure house of history and culture. Architectural gems like the splendid Imperial Palace lurk around every corner of the old town. Its worthwhile Giant’s Hall and Baroque Cellar give visitors a palpable sense of the elegance and wealth of the former Habsburg Dynasty. Nearby Court Church, also called “Schwarzmanderkirche“ (literally “Black Men Church”), houses the empty tomb of Emperor Maximilian I and the City Tower provides sweeping views of the old town and – you guessed it – of the Golden Roof. Lively Maria-Theresien-Straße is the main pedestrianised artery of Innsbruck. Architecturally, expect a mix of the past and present. Historic façades live harmoniously with the subtle concrete façade of Kaufhaus Tyrol retail complex, which was designed by British architect David Chipperfield.