Capital of the western Austrian province of Tyrol, Innsbruck is a town of 120,000 people situated within the grassy Inn Valley, along the Inn river (Innsbruck literally means 'bridge over the Inn').

Innsbruck was founded in the twelfth century, and was incorporated by the Hapsburgs some 200 years later. Maximillian I used Innsbruck as an administrative capital and a major strategic cornerstone - Innsbruck intersects three major Alpine passes - the Arlbergpass west to Switzerland, the Fernpass north to Munich and the Brenner Pass south to Venice. It was also the summer capital for Empress Maria Theresia, and the Hofberg palace was built for her.

The Bavarians with French help tried to capture Innsbruck in 1809 during the Napoleonic War, but were repelled through the efforts of local hero Andreas Hofer.

At 2000 feet asl, Innsbruck is surrounded by mountains on both sides - the limestone Nordkette Alps to its north and the Tuxer Alps to its south. Naturally this makes Innsbruck a premier skiing destination. It has hosted two Winter Olympics in 1964 and 1976.

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