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Innsbruck, in Austrian Tyrol, is located at the junction of the Inn and the Wipp Rivers. The city is surrounded by mountains, like the Hafelekar (2334 m) to the north and the Patscherkofel (2246 m) and Serles (2718 m) south of the city.
One of Innsbruck's main tourist attractions, Schloss Ambras, lies outside the center. The castle was built in Renaissance style during the second half of the sixteenth century on the spot of an earlier medieval fortress. The halls, such as for example the Spanish Hall, are beautifully decorated with frescoes. The castle also houses an extensive armor collection, a portrait gallery and a Chamber of Art and Curiosities. The garden surrounding the castle, landscaped in English style, is also a feast for the eye.
In the city center, the Golden Roof is one of the most photographed attractions. It is the roof of a balcony that was specially built for Emperor Maximilian I in 1500 to observe festivities on the central square from a sheltered position. The balcony was decorated with 2657 gilded copper tiles.
The Hofburg was built in Gothic style in the fifteenth century, but renovated in Baroque style in the eighteenth century. The huge Giant's Hall is richly decorated and contains various portraits of the Habsburg family, including a painting of a young Marie-Antoinette, the future Queen of France.
Following the death of Maximilian I, his son Ferdinand I built the Hofkirche to accommodate the sarcophagus containing his father's corpse. It's a richly decorated church with the tomb in the center, where Maximilian is not buried though. His corpse remained in the capital of Vienna. The sarcophagus is decorated with reliefs representing scenes from the Emperor's life. The tomb is surrounded by larger-than-life bronze statues of family members and Austrian heroes.
The Innsbruck Cathedral, also called the Cathedral of St James, was built in the first half of the eighteenth century. The Baroque church has a colossal façade with two towers. The outside does not look spectacular, but you will change your opinion when you see the interior. Near the main altar you can see the painting Madonna and Child by Lucas Cranach the Elder.
The Tyrolean State Museum is better known as the Ferdinandeum and is Innsbruck's most important museum. It has a large collection of art and utensils as well as archeological finds. The State Museum really consists of several museums. The brand new Tirol Panorama which was inaugurated in 2011, is also part of it. This huge canvas of over a thousand square meters is on display in a building on the Bergisel. The painting gives a panoramic view of the Tyrolean fight for freedom against the French-Bavarian rule in 1809.
You can see the Bergisel Ski Jump from practically anywhere in the city. This 47-meter-high ski jump, designed by Zaha Hadid, is a true work of art. Various beautiful walking routes have been plotted in the surrounding area.
Swarovski is one of the leading manufacturers of crystal in the world. Swarovski Crystal Worlds was opened in 1995, to mark the company's centennial anniversary. After a drive of about fifteen minutes outside Innsbruck, you will reach an artificial hill. It's a giant head with a waterfall flowing from its mouth. Inside you enter a magical world with various Chambers of Wonder that are all about crystal. From the smallest to the largest crystal object in the world, impressive light shows and multimedia presentations. It also includes crystal works of art by for example Andy Warhol and Salvador Dalí. You can of course also buy crystal objects, such as jewelry as well as works of art.
In the vicinity of Innsbruck you will find various ski runs and towns that are especially popular during the winter months. During summer months the various towns around the city are relatively quiet; an ideal time to take long mountain walks.
As mentioned above, Innsbruck receives most tourists in the winter and the city can therefore be fairly busy that time of year. Finding a free parking space during those months can be difficult. We recommend parking your rental car in one of the underground parking garages. Please note though that parking rates in garages are rather high.
Innsbruck Airport is one of the main regional airports in the Alpine region. The airport is located three kilometers southwest of the city and is easy to reach by rental car via freeway A12.