Walking Tour of Innsbruck, Austria
Any walking tour of Innsbruck should start at the Goldenes Dachl (Golden Roof), at the corner of Pfarrgasse and Herzog, which made famous the late-Gothic mansion whose balcony it covers. In fact, the roof is made of gilded copper tiles (refurbishment took 31 pounds of gold). The house was built in 1420 for Duke Friedrich, known as “Friedl the penniless” which prompted the addition of the gold to the roof the quell rumors of his poverty. The balcony was added by Maximillian I in 1501 as a sort of “royal box” for watching street performers below. The coats of arms are copies.
Walk south on Friedrichstrasse and pass the dramatic blue and white Heibling House on your right and the Stadtturm, a 15th century city tower (148 steps). Continue south on Friedrichstrasse across Schlossergasse and Marktgraben to Maria Theresien Strasse which continues southward. On the left is Annasaule (St Anne’s Column) which commemorates the withdrawal of Bavarian forces in the war of Spanish Succession on St Anne’s Day in 170. From here you have a classic view of Innsbruck with the Nordkette mountain range in the background. Continue south to the Triumphforte (Triumphal Arch), built in 1765 to commemorate both the marriage of Leopold II and the death of Emperor Franz I (husband of Empress Maria Theresa).
Turn left on Salurner Strasse and left again on Wilhelm Greil Strasse which ends at Museumstrasse, facing the Ferdinandeum (Tyrolean State Museum). Take a left and then right on Angerzellstrasse. At the end of the street, on the left, is the Hofkirche (Court Church) which houses the tomb of Maximillian I. Don’t miss the 16th century Silver Chapel, up the stairs opposite the entrance, with its elaborate altar and silver Madonna. Visit in the morning for pictures, since the afternoon sun is blinding. Across the street is the Tyrolean Volkskunstmuseum (Folk Art Museum) which contains, among other things, Christmas creches and a Manger exhibit.
Turn left (west) on Universitatstrasse to Rennweg. The large building diagonally in front of you is the Hofburg, Maximillian I’s imperial palace. Noteworthy is the Giant’s Hall with its magnificent ceiling.
After the visit to the Hofburg, continue westward on Hofgasse to the starting point, then take a right on Pfarrgasse to Domplatz. Visit St Jacob’s Cathedral on the eastern side of the square. The cathedral dates to 1722, but the painting of the Madonna above the high altar was painted in 1520. Note also the ornate Baroque interior with its painted ceilings. Retrace along Pfarrgasse to the starting point.