Before you write this off as a religious post, or me trying to preach to you, let me just say, I’m not a particularly religious person. However, I can appreciate the beauty of religion, the art, the message, the architecture. For a long time throughout history most art was religious, the two are very closely intertwined. So, I thought I would take the opportunity to show you some gorgeous churches around Innsbruck whether you’d like to join them for mass, or you just want to admire their grandeur. Here are my favorite churches in Innsbruck.
Hofkirche (Court Church)
It is easy to pass by this gothic church, built in the 1500s, when walking through Innsbruck, it is located across from the Stiftskeller restaurant, down the street from the Golden Roof. The outside of this church by no means matches the beautiful interior and the treasures it holds. The Hofkirche is attached to a small museum and you can either get a ticket to see one or both, it is a little pricey at 7,- EUR for a ticket to the church, but the price is worth it for the gorgeous interior. If you’re not interested in taking pictures you could also just attend mass for free. If you buy a ticket to enter the church, you come in through a side entrance behind a row of large bronze statues. There are 28 statues, created by several different artists, which flank the large black marble tomb of Emperor Maximilian. The statues have a very imposing presence, it’s extremely interesting and yet intimidating walking past them as they stare down at you. What is really neat is that through some marriages the ancestors represented by these statues are connected to England and one statue on the right side is King Arthur himself!
Being in the city of Innsbruck it is important to note that this church also contains the tomb (and statue) of Tyrol’s national hero Andreas Hofer! There is just so much to marvel inside the Hofkirche, you wouldn’t know from the outside but this church is seriously impressive!
Dom St. Jacob – (St. James’ Cathedral)
This eighteenth-century baroque cathedral located in the old part of town, just beyond the Golden Roof, is extremely popular for tourists to visit, and with good reason! One of my favorite things in churches to see is the organ, I think it is so nice to walk into a church, then immediately look up to the back wall and check out the organ. An organ can tell you a lot about a church, and this one is not only massive, but impressive and beautiful.
Another highlight of the cathedral of Innsbruck is the canopied tomb of Archduke Maximilian III, Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights. Bronze columns support the canopy with bronze figures on top- one of which is of course the Archduke, on his knees dressed in armor. World War II really took its toll on the church, but it was restored to its full grandeur in only a few years.
With so many people interested in the church and wanting to marvel at its beauty the church has resorted to implementing a 1,- EUR fee in order to take pictures! From personal experience, I can tell you as well that the policy is ENFORCED! There are ticket machines in the back of the church and I had my ticket checked when I was observed taking pictures… which is a little bit of a bummer.
Basilika Wilten – (Wilten Abbey Basilica)
Done in the Rococo style my next choice for a must-see church in Innsbruck would have to be the Wilten Abbey Basilica. The basilica is the home of the Wilten boy’s choir and they hold beautiful concert series. The church service for the major holidays like Easter and Christmas makes it truly unique. One perk of going to this church as a tourist is that it is free, and open to be seen at anytime. Occasionally, there is a iron gate closing the public off to the main part of the church, but you can still admire the church’s beauty from behind the gate. What I like most about this church is that you can go to concerts and while listening to the music you can enjoy the beauty of the art in this historic building.
Gothic, baroque, rococo with so many churches around Innsbruck you can find it all, whether you’re religious, or just interested in art, there are so many to choose from!
All Photos : @Edith Hamberger