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The Triumphal Arch
A Roman-inspired triumphal arch surrounded by modern city life and the impressive timeless mountains: the Triumphal Arch is one of Innsbruck's most prominent sights. Like a triumphal arch of antiquity, it bears witness to Innsbruck's history.
However, the arch is actually not that old – the Baroque structure was built by order of Maria Theresa in the 18th century.
At the time, the Empress was planning the wedding of her son Archduke Leopold in Innsbruck. Many changes to the cityscape can be traced back to the imperial "wedding planner". For example, she had the medieval city gate at the entrance to Innsbruck's historic old town demolished and it was this stone that was used to build the Triumphal Arch. The arch was also richly adorned with elaborate marble reliefs and inscriptions. It stands at the end of Maria Theresien Street and thus marks the edge of the city centre.
A symbol of joy and sadness
The Triumphal Arch pays tribute to a joyous and a tragic event. The south side remains true to the wedding motto. However, a great misfortune befell Empress Maria Theresa during the celebrations, which lasted for several days. Her husband and the father of the groom died, the regent fell into deep mourning. As a result, the north side of the Triumphal Arch shows mourning motives to commemorate the sudden death of the emperor.
Innsbruck's ancient rock
Although the Triumphal Arch has only adorned the cityscape for a few hundred years, it can still be seen as an ancient feature of Innsbruck. The arch is made of Höttinger breccia: a stone that has always been mined in Innsbruck. This breccia, also called nagelfluh conglomerate rock, is very common in Innsbruck: many archways to the old town houses are made of the dotted stone and anyone who pays attention when walking through the city will have plenty of opportunity to admire it.