As the saying goes: "it is impossible to imagine the city's calendar of events without them". This is 100 percent true for the city walks "Stadtarchiv findet Stadt!", which have been organized by the Stadtarchiv/Stadtmuseum Innsbruck for several years. This time the walk led to Wilten.
Once again this year there will be six guided tours on selected topics. Those who follow my blog posts know that I am quite a fan of this format. Staff and/or friends of the City Archive offer very special looks at the city's history on these walks, away from the usual suspects, so to speak. It goes from the airport to Innsbruck's alpine pastures, from soccer to neighborhood history. The last tour in June was entitled "Is Wilten Town, Village or Bobo?"
With a bright blue sky and the prospect of record heat, we met at the City Museum/City Archive in Badgasse. Where historian Niko Hofinger first gave us a brief insight into the historical development of the city of Innsbruck and Wilten. The district did not always belong to Innsbruck, but was an independent municipality for a long time. The largest landowner was the Wilten monastery. Until the incorporation in 1904, the city border ran at the level of the Hotel Goldene Krone (formerly Gasthof Gamper "Goldene Krone").
In the village
Innsbruck began to change rapidly in the middle of the 19th century. With the railroad over the Brenner and over the Arlberg, the city became a central hub. Thousands of railroad workers needed housing. In addition, Innsbruck became a garrison town, and the need for housing grew markedly. In addition, there were more and more tourists. "Eventually, today's Maximilianstrasse was surveyed as a new border road," Hofinger recounts, showing historical maps. Trabant towns in block-edge development on greenfield sites were built, provided with water and sewage systems.
Even before that, however, Innsbruck citizens had bought land in the neighboring town, built houses and commercial enterprises and thus promoted urbanization.
At the triumphal gate
During the subsequent walk, the first port of call was, of course, the Triumphal Gate. Its imposing appearance distracts from the former border stone, which can still be found at the Hotel Goldene Krone. Impressive also the Winkler House with its wonderful ornaments. It is not for nothing that it is considered one of the most beautiful Art Nouveau houses in Innsbruck.
Charmless, but important for the city's development, the former Holiday Inn hotel (now Hilton Hotel), built on the occasion of the 1976 Olympic Games. Neither in architecture nor in proportions does the 15-story concrete building take into account its surroundings. For many then as now, it is an eyesore in the cityscape.
To the northeast of it is the administrative building of Innsbruck's municipal services, designed in the interwar period by the internationally acclaimed architect Lois Welzenbacher.
The great demand for living space does not stop at Wilten. There are new storeys, densifications in the existing buildings - a searching look upwards is enough: superstructures, elevations, sometimes discreet, sometimes spectacular.
In recent decades, prominent buildings rich in tradition have repeatedly given way to soulless new buildings, such as the Hentschelhof, the Templhof or the apartment block on Edith-Stein-Weg. As a result, many of Wilten's characteristic craft and commercial businesses in the inner courtyards also disappeared.
Today, Wilten is one of the more expensive residential areas with many medical practices, offices and student apartments. And it has a low percentage of migrant population, according to Niko Hofinger.
Which brings us to the last part of the question "Is Wilten town, village or bobo?". The term merges the words bohemian and bourgeois and means well-to-do young people with a certain lifestyle. And anyone walking through Leopoldstrasse can't help but think of a bobo neighborhood. Here you will find many small, special stores, manufactories and pubs with "alternative" menus: lots of homemade food, new creations, special dishes and drinks.
Central to the settlement of new innovative businesses was certainly the redesign of Wiltener Platzl. Today it is the heart of the district, multifunctional, usable for the Christmas market as well as for the farmers' market or flea markets - or simply for sitting, looking, eating, drinking and resting.
Old-established Wilten residents who took part in the city walk were wistful. One of the great advantages of these city walks: the participants, who are familiar with the area, complement the explanations and enrich them with their knowledge!
They listed which quaint inns closed in recent decades. They discussed which of the numerous bakers in Wilten in the 1990s had the best rolls. And they told of the "Rauscher sweater". This was the name of the garments bought at the former fashion store Rauscher.
Once again, this city walk led to places and squares, to history and stories that are otherwise rarely mentioned. The series "Stadtarchiv findet Stadt!" shows how diverse, exciting and surprising Innsbruck is and can be - for guests and locals alike.
City archive finds city!
23. September 2022 - Fly, glide and land safely
23. October 2022 - Innsbruck houses tell stories
And then again next year, of course! All further info can be found here.
A calendar of events with all events in Innsbruck can be found at www.innsbruck.info
Photos, unless otherwise stated: © Susanne Gurschler
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Innsbruck has captured her heart, and the view of the Nordkette mountains soothes her soul. A journalist, non-fiction author, bookworm, amateur photographer, dog owner and mountain walker #ghostsofinnsbruck