Imagine my delight when the taxi stopped at our hotel, the Goldener Adler, and we were surrounded by the Christmas Market!! It was so much fun to walk around and visit the various booths selling food or Christmas gifts. One evening, a band played Christmas music from the balcony of the Goldenes Dachl museum, the city’s most famous symbol, just a few doors down from our hotel. The historic balcony was used by the Emperor Maximillian I and his wife, Bianca Maria Sforza, in the early 1500s to observe festivals and events that took place in the square below.
The weather was cooperating, so one morning, I rode the Hungerburg Funicular to take photos of the city below. The modern funicular wasn’t crowded and I enjoyed the views during the short ride up and down the mountain.
The Tyrolean Folk Art Museum and adjacent Hofkirche was an enlightening tour another morning. The museum includes an extensive collection of old handicrafts, costumes, glass, pottery, and religious folk art from the various regions of Tyrol. The Hofkirche was built in 1553 by Emperor Ferdinant I as a memorial to his grandfather Emperor Maximilian I, whose centograph includes an amazing collection of German Renaissance sculpture, 28 large bronze statues of ancestors, relatives and heroes of Ferdinand I. The tomb of Andreas Hofer, Tyrol’s national hero, is also in the Hofkirche.
Across the street from the Hofkirche, we toured the Hofburg, a former Habsburg palace considered one of the most significant buildings in the country. The Hofburg was enlarged under Emperor Maximillian I between 1459 and 1519. In 1533, it became the permanent residence of Ferdinand I and his family and in the eighteenth century, it was transformed and renovated under Empress Maria Theresa. After the sudden death of her husband, Francis I, Maria Theresa made several changes to honor his memory. The Giant’s Hall frescoes and paintings of Maria Theresa’s children and grandchildren were remarkable.
The Tyrolean State Museum, known as the Ferdinandeum, housed an impressive archaeological collection, a collection of musical instruments, as well as several works of art, the most notable, a Rembrandt. We spent several hours taking the audio tour of the museum.
Our time in Innsbruck seemed to pass quickly in our beautiful old hotel amidst the Christmas Market. We boarded the train for our next adventure, Heidelberg, looking forward to a longer visit in that destination.