03 November 2022
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Book and graphic

The antiquarian Peter Adelsberger has published a catalog in which nothing less than all the complete printed vedute of Innsbruck from 1470 to 1980 are illustrated and briefly described.

Adelsberger runs the Antiquariat Gallus in Anichstraße. A book and print expert. His premises contain rare manuscripts, historical folios, valuable first editions, engravings and prints.

Peter Adelsberger has compiled a catalog of the complete printed vedute of Innsbruck from 1470 to 1980.

The overall views of Innsbruck were the subject of his diploma thesis. for 30 years he continued his research in archives and antiquarian bookshops, in libraries and private collections in Austria and abroad. "Die Stadtvedute Innsbrucks in der Druckgraphik" focuses on the overall views, because detailed vedute would have grown into a century's work - books could be filled with historical prints of Maria-Theresien-Straße or the Goldenes Dachl alone.

View into the book and onto a lithograph by Ludwig Nader, view of the city from Höttinger Riedgasse, around 1840
Innsbruck city veduta

In earlier centuries, people were not as mobile as they are today. Very few people could afford to travel. These were expensive, uncomfortable, took a long time and were dangerous. The wealthy brought foreign places into their homes through pictures and books. Created by traveling artists and scholars, who made sketches and records of their impressions, and cast them in pictures.

Innsbruck from the Weiherburg, colored lithograph without artist's note, ca. 1875; ill. © TLM/Library
Dürer's view

None other than Albrecht Dürer created the first true-to-life city view of Innsbruck, a watercolor the size of a picture postcard. Around 500 printed copies of the famous city view must have been in circulation, not one has survived the test of time.

Anyone walking through Waltherpark in the St. Nikolaus district today will pass the "Dürerblick". A concrete pavilion from the 1980s, the artist Katharina Cibulka and the architect Silvia Boday added the outlines of the well-known historical city view. The "Dürerblick" recalls the famous painter and his Innsbruck painting.

The "Dürerblick" in Waltherpark is a reminder of the first realistic depiction of Innsbruck, around 1496.

For the famous view, Dürer chose a location that was to be one of the most popular in the following centuries - somewhat elevated on the Hötting side of the Inn. The area around the Weiherburg, the hill near today's Villa Blanka, but also the area around the provincial cemetery or parish cemetery Mariahilf were particularly suitable for a beautiful "top view".

In these areas, which are now heavily built up, there used to be meadows and fields that offered an unobstructed view of the city. Today you can enjoy a fantastic panoramic view from Hermann-Buhl-Platz, directly at the mountain station of the Hungerburgbahn. Or you can enjoy one of the "viewing windows" on one of the numerous hiking trails that lead to the Hungerburg and further up.

On the numerous hiking trails in the direction of Hungerburg, parts of the city can be viewed from above again and again.

The third oldest view of Innsbruck is by Alexander Colin. The sculptor, who came from Flanders, chose the view from the east for his drawing. It serves as a model for the copperplate engraving that appeared in the fifth volume of the "Civitates" in 1598. Colin had been called to Innsbruck in 1562 to work on the Maximiliangrab. In his view of the city, he was clearly inspired by the landscape painting of his homeland. In the foreground are meadows, fields, the then still existing Amras Lake and grazing cows. In the background the city on the Inn and quite freely interpreted the surrounding mountains.

"For a long time, mountains were merely a backdrop. It was only with alpinism that the view of the mountains changed and they took on a value of their own," says Peter Adelsberger. With alpinism came tourism. The number of travel books, landscape descriptions and city views increased. Especially since printing techniques also developed further.

View of Innsbruck and the cloudy Nordkette from the southeast
Panoramic view

Like people in the past, we love the panoramic view, the unobstructed view of the city. This is demonstrated by the usually highly frequented vantage points around the city. These include the aforementioned Hermann-Buhl-Platz on the Hungerburg or the viewing terraces on the Seegrube, at the Hafelekar or at the mountain station of the Patscherkofel cable car. But also the Gloriette on the Bergisel or the bench at the new Mühlau cemetery offer a wonderful view of the Innsbruck districts, the Inn River, and the surrounding mountains.

From the Gloriette on the Bergisel, a fantastic panoramic view of Innsbruck and the surrounding area opens up.
Innsbruck towards south-east: little clear view from the Landesfriedhof/Pfarrfriedhof Mariahilf to the houses below and the old town today

At www.innsbruck.info you will find numerous hiking tips to vantage points around Innsbruck.

Photos, unless otherwise stated, © Susanne Gurschler

Peter Adelsberger, an antiquarian bookseller, has located all the printed general views of Innsbruck and packed them into a book.

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