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Innsbruck is situated most beautifully, wrote Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in his Italian Journey in 1816/17. Almost two hundred years later, lying in the heart of the Austrian Alps, the capital of the province of Tyrol presents itself as a centre of administration and economy. With its 131 000 inhabitants it is known as a university city and as a venue for congresses and cultural and sports events. Up to five million guests visit Innsbruck every year.
The bridge over the river Inn was an intersection of the most important European routes form north to south and east to west. It gave the settlement on the river bank the name of Innsprucke. The Romans settled in this area during the third century. They erected the fortress Veldidena at the spot where the Brenner route reaches the Inn valley. In 1239, Innsbruck was granted a town charter by Duke Otto II of Andech-Merian after whose death the city fell to the counts of Tyrol. The following centuries saw Tyrol under the reign of the Habsburgs. During the 19th century Innsbruck became an important centre of education and administration. After the building of the railway across the Brenner pass and through the Arlberg mountain the city turned into a major traffic junction which served as an impetus for all areas of public life.
With its 14 museums, almost 24 art galleries, a lively theatre scene, the International Festival of Old Music and the Summer of Dance with the world's best dancing groups, Innsbruck can quite justifiably call itself a "City of Culture". Not only in the summer does Innsbruck offer a wide variety of events and entertainment: in winter Christmas markets and carol singing provide a special festive atmosphere, and the "Innsbrucker Bergsylvester", a new year's eve celebration in the mountains, as well as the ski jumping of the Vierschanzen competition attract up to 35.000 spectators every year.
Economy and Tourism
Innsbruck is the administrative centre of Tyrol. The provincial government and tax authorities are located here as well as law courts, the federal chambers of economy and employees' organizations. Around 6 000 smaller and middle-sized businesses with about 76 000 employees characterize Innsbruck's economic situation. Among them, the service industries play a dominant role. Especially the administration of property profits by the ideal location of the city. More and more, the economic region of Innsbruck is counting on perspectives offered by the development of the European Union. In this the city serves as a connecting link between the great economic areas of Germany and Italy, and between the east of Austria, with Vienna as its centre, and Switzerland.
Tourism is one of Innsbruck's most important industries, supported by a well-developed infrastructure and professional know-how.
Up to five million tourists visit the city every year. The old town centre with its pergolas contains buildings dating from the gothic to the baroque period. Das goldene Dachl is a magnificent bay window which the emperor Maximilian had built at the end of the 15th century and which today is known as the city's emblem. The interplay between the unspoiled nature lying just outside the city's boundaries and its rich cultural life inside are a distinguishing feature of the old Royal seat. The Congresshaus Innsbruck, the second largest of its kind in Austria, functions as a meeting point for congress participants from all over the world. Not long ago, the Congress Innsbruck was elected by congress organizers as the best venue in Europe.
Knowledge and Learning
More than 23 000 students are enrolled at Innsbruck's Leopold-Franzen-University. These students come from 99 countries and form a large international community together with their world-class professors who teach at the university's seven faculties. The university hospital and the clinic affiliated to it enjoy a brilliant reputation and host numerous major conferences. The Management Center Innsbruck offers several vocational degree courses as well as seminars and courses on economically relevant topics.