Christmas in Europe – Innsbruck by Day

Whilst the group went off on their optional sleigh ride , we preferred to spend our morning exploring this town with over 800 years of history. It was a bright morning, and as there was a lot to see and do, we dashed around reaching as many attractions as we could.  We found our way to the Imperial Hofburg Palace, once the seat of the Tyrolean sovereigns. Backtracking to the old town, it was interesting to see the place in daylight.  Plaques on the walls of buildings tell the medieval history of the buildings, including the Golden Adler – one of the oldest inns in Innsbruck (16th century) in which Goethe stayed in 1786 and in Hofgasse are the Deutschordenshaus (House of the Teutonic Order) built in 1532, and the Burgriesenhaus (Castle Giant’s House), built by Duke Siegmund the Wealthy in 1490 for his court giant, Niklas Haidl. Yes, and don’t forget to wonder down Giant Street.

Later in the morning we made our way to Wilten Basilica and to meet up with the group.  Along the way we passed through the Triumphal Arch on Maria-Theresien Street. The Arch was built at the request of Empress Maria Theresa to honor the marriage of her son, the Duke of Tuscany as well as to mourn the death of her husband who died during the celebrations. If you take a closer look at the Arch, the marble friezes on one side symbolizes the joyful aspect of the celebration and the other side they depict sadness.

At Wilten Basilica we saw one of the most splendid houses of worship in Tirol (check out the photos).  In the little chapel, to the left as you enter, is a rosary blessed by Pope John Paul. 


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