Starting early morning from Engelberg, saying goodbye to majestic Swiss country, we were headed to Innsbruck in Austria.
Enroute Innsbruck, we visited Vaduz, the capital of a tiny country called Liechtenstein. So let me just give you a short round up of Liechtenstein and Vaduz. With 160 square kms of total area, Liechtenstein is the fourth smallest country in Europe. It was once part of the Roman Empire.
After World War II, Liechtenstein was in dire financial straits . In the 20th century, its low corporate tax rates attracted many companies and soon grew to be one of the richest countries in Europe and is a billionaire tax haven. Liechtenstein today enjoys one of the highest standards of living in the world! Vaduz, its capital is today a major centre of commerce and international banking.
Of some relevance to us Indians is that Liechtenstein celebrates its national day on Aug 15th!
Being an Alpine country, it is a popular winter sports destination. Most parts of the country are mountainous with landscapes very similar to Swiss country.
Let me take you through Vaduz with some pictures and short descriptions…
As we reached Liechtenstein….note the similarity to Swiss countryside
Vaduz has an interesting blend of old and new architecture.
Schloss Vaduz (Castle)
This 700 year old castle, lies at an elevation from the main town, almost overlooking it and is the residence of the Prince of Liechtenstein.
This centre provides visitors comprehensive information about Liechtenstein and is very useful to tourists. It is located at the centre of Liechtenstein with all measurements being taken with reference to the zero km stone here.
The Liechtenstein Centre
The main street in Vaduz lined by gift shops, cafes, beer parlours, boutiques is Stadtle Street. On this street you also find many statues and sculptures.
Some views from Stadtle Street
Liechtenstein has a host of museums dedicated to various fields. The most popular is the Postal Museum.
This museum displays a collection of stamps issued by the Principality. It also provides an insight into the postal services of yester years. One can purchase stamps at the nearby post office . These are considered treasures by philatelists.
Liechtenstein has an impressive connection with philately. Walk on the streets and you will find this peculiar sight of Stamps on the pavement.
The entrance to the Postal Museum and Street floors with stamp motifs
Liechtenstein National Museum
It houses more than 3000 exhibits highlighting the country’s history, culture and traditions.
The National Museum
The Parliament Building
Situated in the main square is the Parliament Building which houses the parliament, state archives and government offices.
The Parliament Building
After a short and crisp round up of Vaduz we headed to the Indian Restaurant here for lunch
Our group outside the Indian Restaurant at Vaduz.
After lunch, we travelled further on to Austria and reached Innsbruck.
Austria is an equally beautiful country like Switzerland….what with its Alpine ranges and green vineyards and orchards!
The beautiful Austrian landscape as we drove up
Innsbruck lies in the Tyrol region of Austria. It is located on the River Inn , the word Innsbruck means “bridge over the river Inn” .
River Inn at Innsbruck
Tucked away in the dramatic landscapes of the Alps, it is a renowned winter sports destination and has hosted several winter games like the Winter Olympics, Paralympics and Youth Olympics. It is also known for its imperial and modern architecture.
View of Innsbruck from our hotel
Innsbruck hosted the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics and the sports complexes used for that are still in use today.
Olympic Stadium Innsbruck ( the famous Ski jump can be seen in the background)
Another stadium which is now used to host various events apart from sports
Bergisel Ski Jump
The famous Ski jump used for the Winter Olympics and now being used for training and other competitions.
The Bergisel Ski Jump
Aldstadt Von Innsbruck (Old Town)
Aldstadt or Old Town is the historic core of Innsbruck. More than 500 years old, this small neighbourhood has brightly painted medieval houses on cobblestone streets and sidewalk cafes .
Street performers are a common sight here.
Views from the Old Town with some street performers too!
The Town Tower (Stradtturm)….another landmark in Old Town
The main thoroughfare of Old Town opens into a central plaza lined by arcades. The Golden Dahl is located here.
The Golden Dahl
This is by far the most famous landmark in the old town. This gold covered balcony was completed in 1500 to commemorate the marriage of Emperor Maximilian I and Bianca Maria Sforza. The royal newly weds would watch festivals and other activities in the square below from this balcony. The roof of this balcony glistens in sunlight. It is not made of gold but has fire-gilded copper tiles which cause the shine. The story ended rather sadly when Bianca could not bear a heir!
The square and Golden Dahl
The Golden Dahl
Helbling House( Wedding Cake Building)
Situated across the Golden Dahl is a peculiar building which has external decorations resembling the icing on a wedding cake. It was originally built as town house but later the icing like decorations were added . The building is uniquely designed so that it captures light.
The Wedding Cake building
Cathedral St James (Innsbruck Cathedral)
Just a minute’s walk from the square is this impressive Baroque cathedral. It was built between 1717 and 1724 dedicated to St James.
With its two bell towers and impressive dome, it it stands dominant in the old town skyline.
The Innsbruck Cathedral
The interior of the cathedral has beautiful frescoes decorating the walls and ceiling.
The main altar
The beautiful frescos on the ceiling and the walls.
After the city tour of Innsbruck, we headed to the Tyrolean folklore show. The beat of the unique wooden instruments used in the show enthralled us. See you next week with more on the folklore show. Till then, keep your comments flowing in and also your feedback. Do subscribe!