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Surrounded by the enticingly jagged peaks of Tirol's Nordkette, Innsbruck is cradled by scenic views, yet there’s more to this Tyrolean capital, and fifth largest Austrian city, than peachy panoramas.
Full of character from medieval sights to modern-day architectural wonders, Innsbruck sits proudly alongside the River Inn, who’s icy, eddying waters run down from Piz Bernina, the highest mountain of the eastern Alps. Alongside the river sits colourful Tirolean houses, and framed by the snow-dusted peaks in the background, it makes quite the photo op. Wander the old town and feel the weight of history. On smoothly cobbled Herzog-Friedrich-Straße, named after Frederick IV of Habsburg, the buildings hover between Gothic and Renaissance, look up and see frescos, ornate facades and elegant bay windows, restored in cheery hues. Once a major hub of the Roman Via Imperia trade route and link between the north and south Alps, the city then developed a cultural focus; Emperor Maximilian settled here in 1490.
Today, you can explore the sights of the old including the gleaming, copper-gilded Golden Roof (Goldenes Dachl) built in celebration of Emperor Maximilian I and Bianca Maria Sforza’s wedding in 1494, the Habsburg-era Imperial Palace (Hofburg), Triumphal Arch (Triumphpforte) and the baroque cathedral. Juxtapose your experience with the modernist too including Zaha Hadid’s futuristically designed stations on the Nordkette funicular, which is also your stairway to the mountains – easily accessible from Innsbruck, you can be hitting the pistes in winter or enjoying classic Alpine scenes on hikes and bikes in summer.
Affectionately termed by its motif of ‘chic-shock-Baroque’, the Hotel Weißes Kreuz, originally built in 1465, is a timely marriage of its opulent Baroque past with a high concept design that pays homage to the rhythm of change that has taken place over centuries.read more