Thursday, August 21, 2008

Innsbruck, Austria

The town of Innsbruck, Austria was next on our "to-do" list. To reach Innsbruck, we traveled about 1 1/2 hours from Bressanone, including a part on the famous Brenner Pass, the lowest, and easiest traveled pass running through the Alps.

Of course once we got into Austria the difference in culture was noticeable. I think this picture illustrates perfectly the strict, Germanic, rigid Austrian contrasted with the loose, sunny, easy-going Italian mentality. Two cars parked side by side, one Italian, one Austrian. You guess which is which.

A view of Innsbruck as we drove into the city.

First stop was the Cathedral. Here's Andrew standing in the square in front of the Cathedral.

This is the front of the Cathedral of St. Jakob. It was finished in 1724, and although heavily damaged by bombing during WWII it has since been repaired.

Although rather plain on the exterior, it is lavishly Baroque inside. A picture of the ceiling, interior, and high altar.

A lovely side altar with a Pieta` as a centerpiece.

A close-up shot of the high altar, magnificently gilded in silver.

An even closer picture of the painting of Our Lady of Succor by Lucas Cranach the Elder.

Even the pulpit was pretty lavish.

Augustin standing in the center aisle.

This is the royal box where the Emperor and his family would be when they attended Mass. It's situated to the left of the high altar.

The organ, mounted in the choir loft.

Our next stop was the Hofkirche, or Court Church. It was built in the late 16th century as a memorial to the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I. It contains a monument built in his honor and statues of his ancestors. This is the monument in the middle of the church. It contains 24 scenes in marble depicting scenes from his life and many other ornamentations, including a stunning grille surrounding the entire structure.

Also inside the Hofkirche is the tomb of Andreas Hofer, a Tyrolean hero who launched an uprising against Napoleon's forces. Captured and executed after he was betrayed, he is still fondly remembered by Tyroleans.

This is one of the 28 bronze statues of Maximilian's ancestors that grace the interior of the church. This one depicts Theodoric the Goth.

More statues, including King Arthur, King Ferdinand the Catholic of Spain, Archduke Sigismund of Austria, and King Clovis of the Franks.

The main altar in the church, quite lovely.

King Clovis. I found the frogs embellished on his coat of arms to be quite humorous for a French royal. :)

Alex flashing the Victory symbol in front of King Godfrey of Bouillon, also an ancestor of Maximilian. Note the crown of thorns on his head. After capturing Jerusalem from the Saracens Godfrey declared that he would never wear a golden crown where his Savior had worn a crown of thorns.

The January 6th custom of blessing the doors of houses and inscribing them with the names of the three Wise Men was quite prevalent in Innsbruck.

A monument to Leopold V.

Mom, Dad, Alex and Gus standing in front of the Kaiserliche Hofburg, or Imperial court, built in 1640.

We then took a walk along the Inn River (from which Innsbruck derives its name). The mountains in the background made a pretty view....

Alex standing in front of a suspension bridge across the river.

In Austria, of course you would expect to see this! A beer truck making the rounds.

The opera house.

This is the symbol of Innsbruck, the famous "Golden Roof". It covers a balcony from which the Tyrolean Archdukes used to watch events in the square below. The building itself was used by the Archdukes as a residence. The roof is covered with more than 2,600 gold-plated copper tiles.

A view of one of Innsbruck's street cars.

Mom stopped in a jewelry shop to get herself a charm to add to her collection.

Then we all went to get a bratwurst and beer from a stand in a public eating area.

Mom with her beer.

1 comment:

Theodore said...

Wow, great pictures! I visited Innsbruck in 1996 but don't remember it that well--I'm sure I didn't catch all the monarchical details. Miss you guys!

Speaking of visiting cathedrals, I was in Minnesota this week visiting family and we stopped in the beautiful St. Paul Cathedral, also worth a visit, even if it was the work of that notorious Americanist John Ireland...