Temporal and spiritual power are reflected in the ornate decoration and exuberant colour of Baroque buildings such as the Kaiserliche Hofburg (Imperial Palace) comprising impressive state rooms, and in some of its imperial apartments gold blends with red, white, green and pink to form a stylish backdrop to the ornately curved furniture, magnificent mirrors and precious silk wallpaper. From right next to the palace, visitors to Innsbruck are suddenly transported in architectural terms to the present day when they buy a ticket in the futuristic looking Nordkettenbahnen valley station to travel high up into the mountains. With its clear lines, the station designed by Zaha Hadid blends harmoniously into its Baroque surroundings.

In the Old Town, lots of facades and the arcades on the ground floor are reminiscent of times gone by when, in the 15th century, the Tyrolean territorial princes resided in the Neuhof with the most famous Renaissance oriel in Europe, the Golden Roof. Most of the buildings date back to the 15th and 16th centuries, with the one notable exception of the Helblinghaus, the pink and white decorations of which look like icing sugar and testify to the transition to early Rococo. Baroque in all its glory is also celebrated by the cathedral’s facade and interior with its magnificent altars and paintings, lush frescoes and angels floating above the heads of the faithful.

Take just a few steps outside the Old Town and you embark on a journey back through the centuries. To the north you can’t fail to be impressed by the colourful ensemble of buildings and church towers in "Anbruggen", the oldest part of Innsbruck and today known as St. Nicholas, Mariahilf and Hötting. Many of these buildings date from the 15th century and, with their towering gables, the River Inn in the foreground and the Nordkette mountains as a backdrop, they are one of the most photographed motifs in Innsbruck. Leaving the Old Town heading south, you can enjoy a stroll along the Maria-Theresien-Strasse, admire the Rococo façade of the Palais Lodron at the beginning, and a little bit further on the Palais Fugger-Taxis, the present seat of the Tyrolean government, with the Georgskapelle in its courtyard.

The palaces built by important aristocratic families marked the rise of the Imperial Court at the turn of the 17th century. Amidst all the Baroque buildings, two facades are real eye-catchers. The French architect Dominique Perrault was given the commission to remodel the Town Hall, and the result is the light-flooded Town Hall Galleries housing attractive shops, culinary meeting places and municipal offices. Directly opposite, the Kaufhaus Tyrol’s facade designed by the British architect David Chipperfield blends seamlessly into the colourful splendour of the old buildings.

Walk through a passage and you come to the BTV City Forum, the headquarters of the bank which is also linked to an exhibition area for modern art and photography. The Tyrolean architect Heinz Tesar collaborated with the architectural firm obermoser arch-omo to create the building with its sculptural façade and distinctive corner tower in 2006.

In the south of the city is one of the most beautiful Baroque buildings in the country: the Wilten Premonstratensian Abbey with the Wilten Basilica opposite. From here you can once more enjoy the harmony of contrasts, with the ski jump designed by Zaha Hadid on the Bergisel catching the eye. With this structure, the Iraqi architect created Innsbruck’s iconic modern landmark.

Innsbruck has a particularly impressive example of classic modernity in the Adambräu, a former brewery. Thanks to some sensitive interventions, the Lois-Welzenbacher-Building now provides a base for the promotion of architecture. The University of Innsbruck’s Archive for Architecture and the aut. architektur und tirol are both housed here. On its website (aut.cc), the latter not only provides an excellent overview of building in Tyrol, it also organises architecturally inspired city tours, the so-called architektouren.

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Photos, 300 dpi


The Golden Roof is the symbol of Innsbruck.

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