InnsbruckInnsbruck is the capital of the federal province of Tyrol in western Austria. It is situated on the Inn at the mouth of the Sill River in the Eastern Alps. Tyrol originated as a family name, derived from a castle near Meran (now Merano, Italy). By AD 1150 scions of the family were counts and bailiwicks (land agents) for the bishops of Trent. In 1248 the counts of Tyrol acquired extensive lands from the bishop of Brixen (Bressanone, Italy) and by 1271 had practically replaced the ecclesiastical power in the area. In 1342 the Holy Roman emperor Louis IV the Bavarian married Margaret of Carinthia, heiress to the Tyrol, to his son after declaring her marriage to a member of the House of Luxembourg null. In 1363, however, Margaret's death left the Tyrol, by previous arrangement, to the Habsburgs, who retained it until 1918. After World War I, Italy obtained the southern Tyrol, with its sizable German-speaking majority, and retained it after World War II, despite objections by Austria.

Innsbruck - Carlin TruongInnsbruck was first mentioned in 1180 as a small market town belonging to the Bavarian counts of Andech, it developed rapidly because of its strategic position at the junction of the great trade routes from Italy to Germany via the Brenner Pass and from Switzerland and Western Europe. Oeni Pontum, Latin for the bridge (Brücke) over the Inn originally carried this traffic and gave the city its name and its insignia. Innsbruck was chartered in 1239, passed to the Habsburgs in 1363, and in 1420 became the capital of Tyrol and the ducal residence under Frederick, the Duke "of the empty pockets." Napoleon gave the city to the kingdom of Bavaria, then an ally of France in 1806, and during the War of Liberation (1809) four battles were fought around Berg Isel, a hill (2,461 ft [750 m]) immediately to the south, by Tyrolian patriots led by Andreas Hofer against the Bavarians and the French.

Innsbruck InnsbruckThe old town has narrow streets lined with medieval houses and arcades. One of the most famous buildings is the Fürstenburg, with a balcony with a gilded copper roof, supposedly built by Duke Frederick and refashioned by the emperor Maximilian. Here he would sit imperiously watching the passing citizenry. Other notable landmarks include the Hofburg (1754-70, on the site of a 15th-century ducal residence) and the Franciscan, or Court, church (1553-63), containing the mausoleum dedicated to Maximilian I and the tombs of Hofer and other Tyrolean heroes. The university was founded by Emperor Leopold I in 1677, and its great library was a gift of the empress Maria Theresa in 1745. There are a number of museums in Innsbruck worth a visit including the Ferdinandeum, with prehistoric, industrial-art, and natural-history collections, the Tyrolean Folk Art Museum and  the Museum of the Imperial Rifles. The Museum of Folk Art near the Imperial Church is one of the most beautiful of its kind in Europe. With ever changing exhibits a visitor can really come to appreciate the distinctive Tyrolean culture.  Like its neighbor Switzerland, Austria has many great railway trips. The extraordinary Museum of Local Railways organized a special exhibition on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Achenseebahn Railway. 14 museums altogether invite you to linger for a while and can be easily reached with the "Museum’s Tram", Line 1, since they are all situated along one line.

InnsbruckThe world famous Imperial Church contains the tomb of Emperor Maximilian I with 28 larger than life-size bronze statues adorning the tomb of the "last knight" and representing the emperor’s relatives. The great variety of Innsbruck’s cultural and nature program can be enjoyed at particularly reasonable prices with the Innsbruck Card since the holder gets free local transportation as well as admission to all museums in Innsbruck, the Ambras Castle and the fabulous Swarovski Crystal Worlds. The Innsbruck Card costs ATS 230 for 24 hours, ATS 300 for 48 hours and ATS 370 for three days, which is without any doubt a real bargain price. Innsbruck is one of the most popular tourist and health resorts and winter-sports centers in central Europe. The Olympic Winter Games were held there in 1964 and 1976. The famous ski jump can still be seen from the center of town.

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