Cathedral of St. James
1st May – 25th October:
Monday to Saturday: 10.15 am – 6.30 pm
Sundays and public holidays: 12.30 pm – 6.30 pm
26th October – 2nd May:
Monday to Saturday: 10.15 am – 7.30 pm
Sundays and public holidays: 12.30 pm – 7.30 pm
St. James’ Cathedral – or Innsbruck Cathedral as it is often referred to – was mentioned for the first time in 1180. Since then, it has towered majestically over the roofs of Innsbruck and been part of the most important medieval Christian pilgrimage route – the Way of St. James.
The cathedral was badly damaged by earthquakes in the 16th and 17th centuries and was rebuilt between 1717 and 1724. Famous German painter Albrecht Dürer also greatly admired the impressive appearance of this significant sacred building and immortalised it in his famous watercolour.
Significant local works of art
Today, visitors from around the world are attracted to the cathedral by the unmistakable sound of the cathedral bells. Once inside, high baroque ceiling frescos by Cosmas Damian Asam show scenes from the life of St. James.
The stucco work by Ägid Quirin Asam from Munich was characteristic of the time and creates a truly unique setting. But the absolute highlight is the “Maria Hilf” painting – a masterpiece by Lukas Cranach the Elder that has become the most popular image of the Madonna and Child in the Alps and has been copied numerous times throughout the world.
The painting is originally from Dresden and was given to Innsbruck Cathedral as a gift from Archduke Leopold V in 1650. In the left wing, visitors can admire the tomb of Archduke Maximilian III – a highly-celebrated bronze masterpiece by Caspar Gras that was created around 1620. The best views of the cathedral’s spectacular interior were enjoyed by monarchs and canonesses from the galleries in the choir, which are directly connected to the neighbouring Imperial Palace.
Sacred sounds fill Innsbruck
The organ in the west gallery has 3,729 pipes and 57 registers and sounds alongside the “Mariahilferglocke” – the second largest bell in Tyrol, which was cast in Innsbruck in 1846 at the historic Grassmayr Bell Foundry.
The Innsbruck peace bells ring out daily at noon. With over 57 bells and a combined weight of 4,100 kilograms, they are the largest of their kind in Austria. Seven additional Grassmayr bells can also be found in the southern tower.