The Golden Roof
Amidst the charming Old Town, a classic Austrian hybrid of Gothic and Baroque, you will find Innsbruck's greatest tourist attraction and certainly its most characteristic landmark: The Golden Roof.
Innsbruck’s Old Town is a small area of sturdy medieval houses, many attractively painted in pastel colors and supported by sloping earthquake buttresses. The main thoroughfare of the Old Town is the broad strip of Herzog-Friedrich-Strasse, which eventually opens out into a central plaza lined with arcades. Beyond, a labyrinth of alleyways invites aimless strolling.
The Golden Roof was built by Archduke Friedrich IV in the early 15th century as the residence of the Tirolean sovereigns. The Golden Roof actually is the three-story balcony on the central plaza at the heart of the Old Town. The late Gothic oriels are capped with 2,657 gold-plated copper tiles. It was constructed for Emperor Maximilian I to serve as a royal box where he could sit in luxury and enjoy tournaments in the square below.
Completed at the dawn of the 16th century, the Golden Roof was built in honor of Maximilian's second marriage, to Bianca Maria Sforza of Milan (Maximilian was a ruler who expanded his territory through marriage, not conquest). Not wishing to alienate the allies gained by his first marriage, to Maria of Burgundy, he had an image of himself between the two women painted on his balcony. The balustrade on the first floor is adorned with carved coats of arms, representing Austria, Hungary, the double-headed eagle of the Empire, Burgundy and Milan, as well as Tirol and Styria. The mural paintings show two standard-bearers with the flags of the Empire and the Province of Tirol.
Since January 2003, the Golden Roof has been housing the „International Alpine Convention’s Office“. The Alpine Convention is a coalition of eight Alpine Countries united by a shared commitment to sustainable development in the European Alps.