Old Town, Innsbruck
In the Old Town, with its narrow house-fronts, handsome doorways and oriel windows, there are many examples of old Tirolese architecture, in which southern influence is detectable (for example, in the arcaded house fronts); and Innsbruck's past importance as a ducal residence is reflected in its sumptuous Renaissance, Baroque and Roccoco buildings. The semi-circular quarter of the Old Town, enclosed by a ring of streets known as the Graben ("Moat") is now a pedestrian precinct.
The arcaded Herzog-Friedrich-Strasse, lined with handsome burghers' houses, enters the Old Town quarter from the south and makes straight for the famous Goldenes Dachl, the "Golden Roof", which is every tourist's first objective. This magnificent Late Gothic oriel window roofed with gilded copper tiles was built in 1494-96 to commemorate Maximilian I's marriage to Bianca Maria Sforza and served as a box from which the court watched civic festivities in the square below. The house behind, completely rebuilt in 1822, was previously a ducal palace (the Neuer Hof), formed by the conversion, at some time after 1420, of two earlier burghers' houses. The lower balustrade is decorated with coats of arms, the open balcony above with 10 figural reliefs.The Golden Roof is made up of 2,657 gilded copper tiles.
The building with the "Golden Roof" now houses the Olympia Museum, showing videos of the most important events from the Winter Olympics of 1964 and 1976. Also on display are items depicting the Olympic winners and postage stamps issued to commemorate the Games.
The beautiful Helblinghaus opposite the Goldenes Dachl cannot fail to attract attention. Originally Late Gothic, it was remodeled in Baroque style about 1730; note particularly the stucco facade with cherubs, acanthus leaves and other decorative ornamentation.The Helblinghaus is named in honor of Sebastien Helbling.
Nearby the Helblinghaus in Innsbruck's Old Town is the Goldener Adler ("Golden Eagle"), one of the oldest inns in Innsbruck (16th C.), in which Goethe stayed in 1786 and from which Andreas Hofer (the Tirolese patriot) addressed the people in 1809.The Goldener Adler has been visited by esteemed and famous guests such as emperors and musicians in the past. Located in the heart of the old town, the Golden Eagle Inn is a traditional yet stylish and comfortable place for visitors.
On the eastern side of Herzog-Friedrich-Strasse rises the 57m/187ft high Stadtturm, originally built in the 14th C., together with the adjoining Old Rathaus, as a watchtower but altered at a later date. From the sentry walk 33m/108ft above the street there are good views in all directions.
At Herzog-Friedrich-Strasse No. 22 the Trautsonhaus (1541) deserves attention; it is a fine old house which shows the transition from Gothic to Renaissance architecture.
Deutschordenshaus and Burgriesenhaus
In Hofgasse, which runs east from the Goldenes Dachl, are the Deutschordenshaus (House of the Teutonic Order: No. 3) built in 1532, and the Burgriesenhaus (Castle Giant's House: No. 12), built by Duke Siegmund the Wealthy in 1490 for his court giant, Niklas Haidl.
Cathedral of St. James
Pfarrgasse, to the right of the Goldenes Dachl, leads north to the Domplatz, in which stands the Cathedral (Dom; formerly the town parish church of St James, raised to the status of cathedral in 1964), with an imposing twin-towered west front and a high dome over the choir. It was built in 1717- 24 to the design of the Baroque architect Johann Jakob Herkommer (d. 1717) and restored after suffering heavy damage in 1944 during the Second World War. The interior has ceiling paintings (Glorification of St James) and stucco work by the Asam brothers; High Baroque marble altars (1726-32), with a famous image of the Virgin ("Maria Hilf") by Lukas Cranach the Elder (c. 1530) on the high altar; and a richly carved pulpit (c. 1725). In the north aisle can be seen the imposing monument, designed by Hubert Gerhart, to Archduke Maximilian (d. 1618), Grand Master of the Teutonic Order.
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