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Innsbruck is the capital city of the federal state of Tyrolmarker in western Austriamarker. It is located in the Innmarker Valley at the junction with the Wipptal (Sill Rivermarker), which provides access to the Brenner Passmarker, some south of Innsbruck. Located in the broad valley between high mountains, the Nordkette (Hafelekar, ) in the north, Patscherkofelmarker ( ) and Serlesmarker ( ) in the south, it is an internationally renowned winter sports centre, and hosted the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics. It is to host the 1st Winter Youth Olympics in 2012. The word bruck comes from the German word Brücke meaning "bridge" which leads to "the bridge over the Inn".


Earliest traces suggest initial inhabitation in the early Stone Age. Surviving pre-Roman place names show that the area has been populated continuously. In the fourth century the Romans established the army station Veldidena (the name survives in today's urban district Wiltenmarker) at Oenipons (Innsbruck), to protect the economically important commercial road from Veronamarker-Brennermarker-Augsburgmarker.

The first mention of Innsbruck dates back to the name Oeni Pontum or Oeni Pons which is Latin for bridge (pons) over the Inn (Oenus), which was an important crossing point over the river Innmarker. The city's seal and coat of arms show a bird's-eye view of the Inn bridge, a design used since 1267. The route over the Brenner Passmarker was then a major transport and communications link between the north and the south, and the easiest route across the Alps. The revenues generated by serving as a transit station enabled the city to flourish.

Innsbruck became the capital of all Tyrol in 1429 and in the fifteenth century the city became a centre of European politics and culture as emperor Maximilian I also resided in Innsbruck in the 1490s. The city benefited from the emperor's presence as can be seen for example in the so called Hofkirchemarker. Here a funeral monument for Maximilian was planned and erected partly by his successors. The ensemble with a cenotaph and the bronze statutes of real and mythical ancestors of the Habsburgian emperor are one of the main artistic monuments of Innsbruck.

In 1564 Ferdinand II, Archduke of Austria received the rulership over Tirol and other Further Austrian possessions administrated from Innsbruck up to the 18th century. He had Schloss Ambrasmarker built and arranged there his unique Renaissance collections nowadays mainly part of Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Museummarker. Up to 1665 a stirps of the Habsburgian dynasty ruled in Innsbruck with an independent court. In the 1620s the first opera house north of the Alps was erected in Innsbruck (Dogana).

In 1669 the university was founded. Also as a compensation for the court as emperor Leopold I again reigned from Vienna and the Tyrolean stirps of the Habsburg dynasty had ended in 1665.

During the Napoleonic wars Tyrol was ceded to Bavariamarker, ally of France. Andreas Hofer led a Tyrolean peasant army to victory on the Berg Isel against the combined Bavarian and French forces, and then made Innsbruck the centre of his administration. The combined army later overran the Tyrolean militia army and until 1814 Innsbruck was part of Bavaria. After the Vienna Congress Austrian rule was restored. The Tyrolean hero Andreas Hofer was executed in Mantua; his remains were returned to Innsbruck in 1823 and interred in the Franciscan church.

In 1938 Austria was annexed by Nazi Germany in the Anschluss. Between 1943 and April 1945, Innsbruck experienced twenty-one bomb attacks and suffered heavy damage. The KZ Innsbruck-Reichenau concentration camp was located here.

In 1929, the first official Austrian Chess Championship was held in Innsbruck.


Year 1900 1951 1961 1971 1981 1991 2001 2007
Population 49,727 95,055 100,959 116,104 117,287 118,112 113,392 117,915


Due to its altitude and position in Central Europe far from the coast, Innsbruck has an hemiboreal climate (Köppen classification : Dfb).Winters are cold - colder than those of most major European cities -, and snowy. Winter nights can get frigid, occasionally dropping to .

Spring is brief; days start to get warm, often over but nights remain cool or even freezing.

Summer is highly variable and unpredictable. Days can be cool and rainy, or sunny and extremely hot, sometimes hitting . In summer, as expected from an alpine climate, the diurnal temperature variation is often very high as nights always remain cool ( on average, but sometimes dipping as low as ).

The average annual temperature is .

Main sights

The Alte Innbrücke, The Bridge over the Inn River at Altstadt, The Old City of Innsbruck.
The Alte Innbrücke facing the Altstadt
Kaiserliche Hofburg with view of the Nordkette.
Beautiful Building at Innsbruck.


  • Golden Roof
  • Kaiserliche Hofburg (Imperial Court)
  • Hofkirchemarker (Imperial Church) with the cenotaphmarker of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor
  • Altes Landhaus (old federal state parliament)
  • Alte Innbrücke (The Inn Bridge, spanning the Inn River at the Altstadt, a bridge has existed at this point since at least 1080 A.D.)
  • Altstadt (Old Town)
  • Annasäule
  • Helblinghaus
  • Maria-Theresien-Straße (Main Street)
  • Tiroler Landestheater Innsbruck (Theatre)
  • Triumphpforte
  • Bergiselschanzemarker, designed by Zaha Hadid.
  • New Hungerburgbahn, designed by Zaha Hadid.


  • Riesenrundgemälde
  • Schloss Ambrasmarker
  • Tiroler Landesmuseum
  • Tiroler Volkskunstmuseum
  • Zeughaus
  • Tiroler Museumsbahnen
  • Kaiserjägermuseum


  • Ursulinenkirche
  • Dom zu St. Jakob (St. James's Cathedral, often wrongly called St Jacob's Cathedral)
  • Hofkirchemarker
  • Stift Wilten
  • Wiltener basilika
  • Spitalskirche
  • Liebfrauenkirche
  • Jesuit Church

Parks and gardens

Cultural events

As a very popular tourist destination, Innsbruck organizes the following events every year:

  • Four Hills Tournament (Vierschanzentournee)
  • Innsbrucker tanzsommer
  • Bergsilvester (New Year's Eve)
  • Festwochen der Alten Musik (Weeks of Ancient Music)
  • Christkindlmarkt (Christmas fair)
  • Tyrolean Evenings with the Gundolf Family at the Sandwirt Restaurant


Due to its location between high mountains, Innsbruck serves as an ideal place for skiing in winter, and mountaineering in summer. There are several ski resorts around Innsbruck with the Nordkette served by a cable car and additional chair lifts further up. Other ski resorts nearby include Axamer Lizum, Patscherkofelmarker, Iglsmarker, Seefeldmarker, Tulfesmarker and Stubai Valley. The glaciated terrain in the latter makes skiing possible even in summer months.

The Olympic Winter Games were held in Innsbruck twice, first in 1964, then again in 1976, when Coloradomarker voters rejected a bond referendum in 1972 to finance the Denvermarker games, originally awarded in 1970. The 1976 Winter Olympics were the last games held in the German-speaking Alps (Austriamarker, Germanymarker, or Switzerlandmarker).

Along with St. Moritzmarker, Switzerlandmarker and Lake Placid, New Yorkmarker in the United Statesmarker, it is one of three places which have twice hosted the Winter Games. It also hosted the 1984 and 1988 Winter Paralympics.

On December 12, 2008, Innsbruck was chosen as host of the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games to be held from January 13 to January 22, 2012.

Other notable events held in Innsbruck include the Air & Style Snowboard Contest from 1994 to 1999 and 2008 and the Ice Hockey World Championship in 2005. Together with the city of Seefeldmarker, Innsbruck organized the Winter Universiade in 2005. Innsbruck's Bergiselschanzemarker is one of the hills of the famous Four Hills Tournament.

Innsbruck is home to the football club FC Wacker Innsbruck, which will play in the Austrian Football First League (second tier) in 2008-09. FC Wacker Innsbruck's stadium, Tivoli Neumarker, is one of eight stadiums hosting Euro 2008 which took place in Switzerlandmarker and Austria in June 2008.

The city also hosted an American Football final, Eurobowl XXII between the Swarco Raiders Tirol and the Raiffeisen Vikings Vienna.

Economy and education

The city has a highly developed tram system.
Innsbruck is the cultural and economic center of western Austriamarker and is one of the most famous and substantial tourist centres, with more than a million overnight stays. It is also a university city.

In Innsbruck there are some 78,000 employees and about 8,000 places of work. 35,000 people shuttle every day into Innsbruck.


Tourism is the most important source of income for the city authority, largely because of Innsbruck's beautiful town centre with its historic buildings, the friendly ambience and the extensive sport facilities both in winter and in summer.


Innsbruck is located along the A12/A13 corridor, providing freeway access to Veronamarker, Italymarker and Munichmarker, Germanymarker. The A12 and A13 converge near Innsbruck, at which point the A13 terminates.

Innsbruck Airport terminal building
Innsbruck Hauptbahnhofmarker, the most important railway station of Innsbruck and Tyrol, is one of the busiest railway stations in Austria. The Austrian east-west railway crosses the south-west route through the Brenner passmarker, connecting northern Italy and southern Germany.

Innsbruck Airportmarker provides services including Frankfurt, London, and Vienna.

Local public transport is provided by Innsbrucker Verkehrsbetriebe (IVB), a public authority operating a network of bus and tram routes. The metre-gauge tram network consists of two city lines, 1 and 3, and two lines serving the surrounding area: line 6, the Innsbrucker Mittelgebirgsbahn to Iglsmarker, and line STB, the Stubaitalbahn running through the Stubai Valley to Fulpmesmarker. The network is planned to be enlarged during the coming years to reach Hall in Tirolmarker in the east and Völsmarker in the west (thus replacing a former tram line [closed in the late 1960s] from Innsbruck to Solbad Hall, as Hall in Tirol was then known). Numerous bus lines serve the inner city and connect it with surrounding areas. Until 2007 the bus network included two trolleybus routes, but these were abandoned in preparation for planned expansion of the tram network.

In December 2007, the Hungerburgbahnmarker, a funicular service to the district of Hungerburg, was reopened after a two-year closure for extensive rebuilding, with partial realignment and a new extension across the Inn Rivermarker and into central Innsbruck. The line was also equipped with new vehicles. The rebuilt line is operated by a private company, Innsbrucker Nordkettenbahnen.


Innsbruck is home to the oldest grammar school (Gymnasium) of Western Austria, the "Akademisches Gymnasium Innsbruckmarker". The school was founded in 1562 by the Jesuit order and was the precursor of the university, founded in 1669.

Innsbruck hosts several universities. The most well-known are the University of Innsbruckmarker (Leopold-Franzens-Universität), the Innsbruck Medical Universitymarker, and the MCI Management Center Innsbruckmarker.


The results of the 2006 local elections were:


  • The international headquarters of SOS Children's Villages, one of the world's largest charities, is located in Innsbruck.
  • The internationally active NGO Austrian Service Abroad was founded in Innsbruck in 1992 by Andreas Maislinger and Andreas Hörtnagl. It's central office is located at Hutterweg, Innsbruck.
  • Innsbruck has two universities, the Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruckmarker and the Innsbruck Medical Universitymarker. The Innsbruck Medical University has one of Europe's premier ski injury clinics.
  • Douglas Adams claimed that he got his idea for the novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy during a visit to Innsbruck in 1971, lying stoned in a field looking up at the stars.
  • Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen, an international fellowship programme for visual and new media arts, is located in Innsbruck.
  • The international headquarters of MED-EL, one of the largest producers of cochlear implants, is located in Innsbruck.
  • Innsbruck boasts two large lakes, Baggersee and Lansersee. These lakes are popular hangouts for locals during the spring and summer.
  • In the TV series Friends (Season 1, "The One With the Stoned Guy"), Chandler claims that he had waited tables during the Olympic Games in Innsbruck 1976. (Although he would have been about 8 years old at the time.)
  • The first thirteen books of the Chalet School series by Elinor Brent-Dyer are based in the mountains around Innsbruck, and contain many visits and references to the city, most notably in The School at the Chalet (published 1925)

Panoramic view to west.
Panoramic view looking down.

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Innsbruck is twinned with:


See also


  1. Christine O'Keefe. Concentration Camps.
  2. Statistik Austria [1], City of Innsbruck Website [2]
  3. [3] Grüne Innsbruck
  4. [4] Gemeinderat Gebi Mair

External links

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