During our skiing trip to Tyrol, Austria, we decided to spend one day in Innsbruck the capital of the Alps and famous for its baroque architecture and its breathtaking mountain panorama. As the weather was quite bad, we had to forget about the panorama but still enjoyed our walk in the beautiful old town and the visit of the Ambras castle.
THE OLD TOWN
When arriving in the city, we had to park our car in one of the many (but expensive) car parks in the city centre where we payed 2€ per hour.
Our walk started on the Herzog Friedrich Straße and its Golden Roof, a more than 500 years old gold alcove balcony built by the Emperor Maximilian.
We then continued our way to the Cathedral of St. James, which is situated in the street just behind the Golden Roof. It is worth entering the cathedral and admire its beautiful Baroque interior with its stucco works, its high dome, its altars and its organ.
By going around the cathedral, we passed by the Congress, the Innsbruck Theatre, the Court church, the Ferdinandeum (the Tyrollean State Museum) and the Rudolf’s Fountain on Bozner Platz, which was erected in 1877 to commemorate Tyrol’s 500 year anniversary as part of the Austrian Empire.
A bit further, the Triumphal Arch cannot be missed, as it looks a lot like the Arc the Triomphe in Paris. It was the Empress Maria-Theresa who ordered the building of the Arch to honor the wedding of his son Archduke Leopold in the 18th century. Through the columns of the Arch you can also see the Ski Jump sight which was the venue of the Olympic Ski Jump Competitions in 1964 and 1976.
We finished our walking tour on the famous Maria Theresien Straße with its colorful houses and baroque architecture. We had lunch at the Pub Brewery Theresienbräu which serves local food and freshly brewed beer.
In the afternoon, we visited the Ambra Castle which is situated in the hills above Innsbruck. During winter time, the entrance fee is 7€ per person (12€ in summer time). There is a public parking space available in front of the castle. Tickets can be bought at the machine for 70 cents per half an hour.
It was Archduke Ferdinand II , the son of the Emperor Ferdinand I, who turned the mediaeval fortress into a Renaissance castle as a gift to his wife, Philippine Welser.
Ferdinand II was a collector of art and, therefore, the first part of the visit in the Lower Castle is dedicated to this passion. The Chamber of Art and Wonders is actually the oldest museum in the world.
The second part of the visit led us to the older Upper Castle, where we admired the Bathing Chambers of Philippine Welser, the St. Nicolas Chapel, a collection of glassware and the inner courtyard. But the highlight of the visit was definitely the Spanish Hall, one of the most beautiful halls of the Renaissance.