As the main church of the diocese of Innsbruck, the Cathedral of St. Jacob is enthroned on the eastern bank of the Inn and impresses its visitors with spectacular interiors and important tombs.
The magnificent St. Jacob's Cathedral is the main Roman Catholic church in Innsbruck and one of our top 10 sights in Innsbruck. It is located on the banks of the Inn River between Herrengasse and the Goldenes Dachl, right next to the Imperial Hofburg.
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The history of Innsbruck Cathedral in brief
The name of the cathedral goes back to the patron saint of the time and refers to its location on the Way of St James, one of the most important medieval pilgrimage routes leading to the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
Innsbruck has been a place of pilgrimage since 1650, when the famous image of Mary by Lucas Cranach the Elder found its way into St. James' Cathedral. In 1846, the Mariahilf bell was cast, the second largest historical bell in Tyrol. Today it announces the hour of Jesus' death from the north tower every Friday at 15:00.
In 1964, when Innsbruck became its own diocese, St. Jacob's Church was promoted to the status of bishop's church and was henceforth allowed to call itself a cathedral. In 1982 the Mariahilf bell was extended by the Innsbruck Peace Chimes, which with 48 bells are the largest chimes in Austria.
Visit to Innsbruck Cathedral
The rather plain façade of Innsbruck Cathedral is nothing compared to its magnificent interior. Seemingly every spot on the wall here is decorated with masterful frescoes, figures, stucco work, columns and marble slabs.
In addition to statues of angels and saints, birds and plant tendrils are among the decorations on the capitals and vaulting. The three angels with cross, heart and anchor that support the gilded pulpit symbolise the three divine virtues of faith, love and hope.
In the centre of the high altar in Innsbruck Cathedral there is still the famous image of the Virgin Mary by Lucas Cranach, which made Innsbruck an important place of pilgrimage in the 17th century.
Tombs in Innsbruck Cathedral
The two most important tombs in St James's Cathedral are the final resting places of Maximilian III, also known as the Deutschmeister, who was Prince of Tyrol in the early 17th century, and Archduke Eugene of Austria, Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial and Royal Army in the First World War and the last secular Grand Master of the Teutonic Order.