Innsbruck, the capital of the Tyrol, is located in the Alpine region of Austria, in the valley of the river Inn, at 580 metres above sea level. It is surrounded by mountain ranges and numerous peaks which reach an altitude of approx. 2,700 metres above sea level. The city has 140,000 inhabitants and hosts one of the oldest universities in Europe, founded in the year 1562. Today, over 30,000 students attend the university in Innsbruck. Due to its location, Innsbruck has an excellent tourist infrastructure and is best known for its rich cultural heritage, as well as for its endless opportunities in sports and recreation that include golf, hiking, climbing, rafting, paragliding, canyoning, swimming in lakes, skiing and snowboarding not only in winter time, but also in summer at one of the glaciers nearby. Innsbruck has been the host for Olympic Winter Games twice, in 1964 and 1976. In the town, some 160 restaurants, cafes and bars, most of them in walking distance to the convention center, offer traditional Tyrolean and Austrian specialities as well as international dishes.
The first recorded mention of the name 'Inspruke' dates back to 1167. The name of the town is derived from the original meaning "Bridge over the Inn". This bridge was a key factor in the development of trade and the movement of goods between regions both north and south of the Alps.
800-year-old Innsbruck owes much to the Habsburgs, who, in turn, have left a distinct imprint during their reign of Austria: Innsbruck was the Royal Seat of the Habsburgs, beginning with Emperor Maximilian I who based the imperial court here in the 1490s, suddenly placing this provincial Alpine town at the heart of European politics and culture.
Innsbruck’s rich history is interwoven with that of Emperor Maximilian I and Empress Maria Theresia. Important artists followed their call. Today, people come from all over the world to play in the mountains surrounding Innsbruck, and they get the best of both worlds - the urban sophistication of a historic city and an Alpine playground that begins where the sidewalks end.
Twice host to the Olympic Winter Games, Innsbruck boasts a rich cultural heritage coupled with a great range of premium sports facilities. The Alpine town is a true paradise for sports enthusiasts, offering everything you could possibly desire for your most complete vacation - 365 days a year.
Gourmets and connoisseurs will find a rich variety of culinary delights waiting for them in Innsbruck. The Tyroleans are also bon viveurs, and serve hearty traditional snacks with as much enthusiasm as gourmet menus. Traditional home-style cuisine is becoming increasingly influenced by the modern trend towards lighter eating, so that enjoyment and wellbeing now go hand in hand.
Culture enthusiasts visiting Tirol could take “From Cablecar to Concert Hall” as their motto. Tirol's colourful and varied culture offers an array of internationally respected highlights throughout the year, including the Innsbrucker Tanzsommer dance festival, Early Music Festival, the Tiroler Festspiele music festival in Erl or folk theatre in Telfs - all attracting a stream of visitors year after year from all over the world. To enable visitors to keep track of events, Tirol Werbung set up the website www.kultur.tirol.at, a helpful tool packed with fascinating articles and background information plus a continuously updated programme of events for the region as a whole.