Innsbruck is the capital city of the federal state of Tyrol in western Austria. It is located in the Inn Valley at the junction with the Wipptal (Sill River), which provides access to the Brenner Pass, some 30 km south of Innsbruck. Located in the broad valley between high mountains, the Nordkette (Hafelekar, 2,334 m) in the north, Patscherkofel (2,246 m) and Serles (2,718 m) in the south, it is an internationally renowned winter sports centre, and hosted the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics. The word bruck comes from the German word Brücke meaning "bridge" which leads to "the bridge over the Inn".
Earliest traces suggest initial inhabitation in the early Stone Age. Surviving pre-Roman place names show that the area has been populated continuously. In the fourth century the Romans established the army station Veldidena (the name survives in today's urban district Wilten) at Oenipons (Innsbruck), to protect the economically important commercial road from Verona-Brenner-Augsburg.
The first mention of Innsbruck dates back to (Oeni Pontum or oeni pons which is Latin for bridge (pons) over the Inn (Oenus), which was an important crossing point over the river Inn. The city's seal and coat of arms show a bird's-eye view of the Inn bridge, a design used since 1267. The route over the Brenner Pass was then a major transport and communications link between the north and the south, and the easiest route across the Alps. The revenues generated by serving as a transit station enabled the city to flourish.
Innsbruck became the capital of all Tyrol in 1429 and in the fifteenth century the city became a centre of European politics and culture as emperor Maximilian I also resided in Innsbruck in the 1490s. The city benefited from the emperor's presence as can be seen for example in the so called Hofkirche. Here a funeral monument for Maximilian was planned and erected partly by his successors. The ensemble with a cenotaph and the bronze statutes of real and mythical ancestors of the Habsburgian emperor are one of the main artistic monuments of Innsbruck.
In 1564 Ferdinand II, Archduke of Austria received the rulership over Tyrol and other Further Austrian possessions administrated from Innsbruck up to the 18th century. He had Schloss Ambras built and arranged there his unique Renaissance collections nowadays mainly part of Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Museum. Up to 1665 a stirps of the Habsburgian dynasty ruled in Innsbruck with an independent court. In the 1620s the first opera house north of the Alps was erected in Innsbruck (Dogana).
In 1669 the university was founded. Also as a compensation for the court as emperor Leopold I again reigned from Vienna and the Tyrolean stirps of the Habsburg dynasty had ended in 1665.
During the Napoleonic wars Tyrol was ceded to Bavaria, ally of France. Andreas Hofer led a Tyrolean peasant army to victory on the Berg Isel against the combined Bavarian and French forces, and then made Innsbruck the centre of his administration. The combined army later overran the Tyrolean militia army and until 1814 Innsbruck was part of Bavaria. After the Vienna Congress Austrian rule was restored. The Tyrolean hero Andreas Hofer was executed in Mantua; his remains were returned to Innsbruck in 1823 and interred in the Franciscan church.
In 1938 Austria was annexed by Nazi Germany in the Anschluss. Between 1943 and April 1945, Innsbruck experienced twenty-one bomb attacks and suffered heavy damage. The KZ Innsbruck-Reichenau concentration camp was located here.
Due to its altitude and position in Central Europe, far from the coast, Innsbruck has an hemiboreal climate (Köppen classification : Dfb). Winter is cold - colder than those of most major European cities -, and snowy. Winter nights can get frigid, occasionally dropping to -12°C.
Spring is brief; days start to get warm, often over 15°C, but nights remain cool or even freezing.
Summer is highly variable and unpredictable. Days can be cool (17°C) and rainy, or sunny and extremely hot, sometimes hitting 34°C. In summer, as expected from an alpine climate, the diurnal temperature variation is often very high as nights always remain cool (12°C on average, but sometimes dipping as low as 6°C).
The average annual temperature is 9°C.
|Mean daily maximum temperature (°C)||1||4||11||16||21||24||26||24||21||14||8||2||14.3|
|Mean daily minimum temperature (°C)||-7||-4||-1||4||8||11||13||12||9||4||0||-4||3.8|
|Mean monthly rainfall (mm)||53||40||42||57||75||104||121||116||77||61||57||53|
|Source: The Weather Channel|
As a very popular tourist destination, Innsbruck organizes the following events every year:
The Olympic Winter Games were held in Innsbruck twice, first in 1964, then again in 1976, when Colorado voters rejected a bond referendum in 1972 to finance the Denver games, originally awarded in 1970. The 1976 Winter Olympics were the last games held in the German-speaking Alps (Austria, Germany, or Switzerland).
Along with St. Moritz, Switzerland and Lake Placid, New York in the United States, it is one of three places which have twice hosted the Winter Games. It also hosted the 1984 and 1988 Winter Paralympics. It is now bidding for the 2012 Winter Youth Olympics.
Other notable events held in Innsbruck include the Air & Style Snowboard Contest from 1994 to 1999 and 2008 and the Ice Hockey World Championship in 2005. Together with the city of Seefeld, Innsbruck organized the Winter Universiade in 2005. Innsbruck's Bergiselschanze is one of the hills of the famous Four Hills Tournament.
Innsbruck is home to the football club FC Wacker Innsbruck, which will play in the Austrian Football First League (second tier) in 2008-09. FC Wacker Innsbruck's stadium, Tivoli Neu, is one of eight stadiums hosting Euro 2008 which took place in Switzerland and Austria in June 2008.
In Innsbruck there are some 78,000 employees and about 8,000 places of work. 35,000 people shuttle every day into Innsbruck.
Innsbruck Hauptbahnhof, the most important railway station of Innsbruck and Tyrol, is one of the most frequented railway stations in Austria. The Austrian east-west railway crosses the south-west route through the Brenner pass, connecting northern Italy and southern Germany.
Innsbruck Airport provides services including Frankfurt, London, and Vienna.
The town's metre gauge tram-network consists of two city-lines and two lines serving the surrounding area — the Innsbrucker Mittelgebirgsbahn to Igls and the Stubaitalbahn into the Stubaital until Fulpmes. The network will be enlarged during the coming years to reach Hall in Tirol in the east and Völs in the west. The trolleybus service will be abandoned as the tram network is enlarged. Numerous bus lines serve the inner city and transport to surrounding areas. At the end of 2007, the Hungerburgbahn — a funicular service to the district of Hungerburg — has been inaugurated.
Innsbruck is twinned with: