A trip to Innsbruck would not be complete without taking time to visit the famed Tirol Panorama. The museum is an architectural masterpiece in its own right, and it offers a journey through the history of Tirol, building up to the key event that is the battle between Napoleonic troops and the Tyrolean rebels led by Andreas Hofer in 1809, which took place in the exact spot the museum is located today.
The most famous battle was the Third Battle of the Bergisel in which the Tyroleans fought off the invaders on August 13, 1809. The battle was memorialized in a vast, century-old panoramic painting that is 1,000 square meters (10,764 square feet) in area and constitutes the centerpiece of the museum. The huge and historic 360-degree cyclorama not only helps to retrace the dramatic events unfolding amidst the impressive scenery of the Bergisel, but is also remarkable in its artistic qualities. It is accentuated with bullet shredded trees, cannons, and war-torn land, giving the viewer the perspective of being in the battle. The Tirol Panorama also is filled with numerous displays that provide visitors with a wonderful way to learn more about the area within the large, permanent exhibition entitled “Showcase Tyrol”. The history of Tirol is explored in detail in many exhibits, covering the topics of religion, nature, politics, anthropology and local culture. Some exhibits are whimsical in nature and feature displays like a cable car gondola and various stuffed animals. The Tirol Panorama is linked to the Kaiserjäger Museum (Museum of the Tyrolean Imperial Infantry) by an underground passage. Documenting Tirol’s military history of the 19th and 20th century, the museum's historic collection is tied closely to the drama that unfolded on the Bergisel. After visiting the museums, take a walk along the 2.2-kilometer Panorama Loop Trail that circles Bergisel Mountain and offers amazing and uninterrupted panoramic views of Innsbruck and its Alpine surroundings. Trailhead is at the Tirol Panorama Museum.