Innsbruck Cathedral and the 5 Beautiful Things Inside It

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In addition to the picture-perfect views and scenery, what I really love about Innsbruck are its landmarks that come with an element of surprise. Just by wandering around Old Town Innsbruck, you can stumble upon a few of them. Two of these incredible landmarks are historical religious sites, each housing some of the most stunning discoveries you can find in Innsbruck.

First up is the Hofkirche — without a doubt, it’s a must-see in Innsbruck! You’re sure to be amazed by the Black Men and Maximilian I’s cenotaph inside. Next up is the Innsbruck Cathedral. Similar to Hofkirche, Innsbruck Cathedral is a visual surprise with its stunning interiors hidden behind its rather simple exteriors. It gave me this ‘wow’ moment, which I’m sure you’ll experience too when you step inside.

But remember this: you still need to set your expectations accordingly. If you’ve already visited the grand churches in Vienna like Stephansdom, Karlskriche, or Peterskirche, or other renowned European churches, the Innsbruck Cathedral might seem like just another typical religious building in Europe. Nevertheless, I’d still recommend a visit when you’re in Innsbruck because it’s undeniably beautiful and it’s free to enter!

Let me give you a glimpse of the beautiful things/experiences that await you in Innsbruck Cathedral here. They’re the beautiful reasons why you must visit Innsbruck Cathedral.


In a nutshell, Innsbruck Cathedral is an eighteenth-century Roman Catholic Church and the seat of the Diocese of Innsbruck. Dedicated to the city’s patron, Saint James, locals also refer to it as Dom zu St. Jakob or the Cathedral of Saint James. You can easily access Innsbruck Cathedral once you find yourself in the heart of Innsbruck’s historic center. It’s just a short stroll away, mere minutes on foot from the Golden Roof, Stadtturm, Hofkirche, and Hofburg.

1. Stunning Artworks & Architecture by Asam Brothers

If there’s one beautiful aspect of Innsbruck Cathedral that I can’t emphasize enough, it would be the cathedral’s interiors. The details of these interiors left me speechless. Crafted by the famous Asam Brothers from Munich, I am one hundred percent sure that you’ll marvel as much as I did once you step inside Innsbruck Cathedral. The Asam Brothers’ masterpiece is the epitome of the beautiful German Rococo or late Baroque architectural style.

Learn more about Asam Brothers + details of Innsbruck Cathedral

I first came across the work of the Asam Brothers while exploring Munich in Bavaria, Germany.

During my research for another travel article, I discovered a small church nestled among townhouses and apartments on Sendlingerstraße. This unassuming church situated on a narrow lot, caught my eye with its inviting facade. Upon entering, I was immediately struck by the stunning interior.

The facade and the tower of Asamkirche in Sendlingerstraße, Munich, Germany
The facade and the tower of Asamkirche in Sendlingerstraße, Munich, Germany
The overwhelmingly stunning works of the Asam Brothers inside their church in Munich, Germany
The overwhelmingly stunning works of the Asam Brothers inside their church in Munich, Germany

Although the church is small, it’s visually overwhelming with beauty that can be seen everywhere. It seems that not an inch of the church is left unadorned. The light entering through the windows fills the church with an ethereal flair, creating a hair-raising sensation. If you were there, you might also think of that church as Munich’s most beautiful church.

Out of curiosity, I used Google Maps to find out the church’s name and learned that it’s called Asamkirche — the church created and owned by the Asam Brothers the very same artists who crafted the awe-inspiring interiors of Innsbruck Cathedral.

The Asam Brothers did a great job on Innsbruck Cathedral. Their work makes it one of most magnificent and important Baroque buildings in Tyrol. When you walk into the cathedral, you’ll see a lot of beautiful things like the marble floor, fancy pulpit, and amazing altars. But the real showstopper is the ceiling.

The Asam Brothers decorated the ceiling with frescoes and stucco works that are really detailed and simple awe-inspiring. One of the best parts is the series of frescoes along the main part of the cathedral. These paintings show different parts of Saint James’s life.

Cosmas Damian Asam, the older brother, made these frescoes. He was really good at making things look like they’re 3D when they’re not. One cool trick he did was to make it look like there are three extra “high” domes in the cathedral, besides the bright one above the choir. Egid Quirin Asam, the younger brother, did the stucco work. He mixed in some styles from the Renaissance era. His work has lots of shapes and bright colors that make his older brother’s frescoes stand out even more.

2. Maria Hilf (Mary of Succor)

As a devout Catholic, I was thrilled to discover that Innsbruck Cathedral is home to the revered Maria Hilf painting, also known as Mary of Succor. It holds a special place in the hearts of believers worldwide as one of the most venerated depictions of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus in all of Christendom. If you share my devotion, this beautiful religious artwork is definitely a compelling reason to visit Innsbruck Cathedral.

Interesting facts about Maria Hilf painting

Many faithful followers believe that this painting beautifully captures the dignity of the Queen of Heaven, as well as the charm and gentleness of a mother. Among the nine altars inside the cathedral, you can find this image of Mary on the high altar, which, by the way, is also a masterpiece of late Baroque craftsmanship. There, Maria Hilf sits magnificently, representing the most precious treasure of Innsbruck Cathedral.

Interestingly, for all visitors, discovering Maria Hilf is a time-transporting experience. It not only provides insight into the typical Baroque veneration of Mary over centuries but also unveils a cherished gift given almost 400 years ago by John George I, Elector of Saxony, to Archduke Leopold V and the people of Innsbruck.

3. Tomb of Archduke Maximilian III

Maria Hilf offers a glimpse into Austrian history, but it’s not the only fascinating piece of heritage inside Innsbruck Cathedral. One such treasure is the Tomb of Archduke Maximilian III, which alone is reason enough to visit Innsbruck Cathedral. It’s true, especially that the tomb of Archduke Maximilian III is considered one of the finest Austrian Mannerist sculptures — another beautiful historical masterpiece in Innsbruck.

Tomb of Archduke Maximilian III in Innsbruck Cathedral’s left arm of the transept, Innsbruck, Austria
Tomb of Archduke Maximilian III in Innsbruck Cathedral’s left arm of the transept
Interesting facts about the tomb of Archduke Maximilian III

Unlike most tombs hidden in church crypts, this one is easily visible. Imagine you’re already inside Innsbruck Cathedral, looking at the high altar in the transept. When you turn to your left, you’ll quickly spot the tomb of Archduke Maximilian III, adorned with a beautifully designed canopy. I highly recommend getting closer to appreciate its exquisite details, especially the intricately decorated pillars. They feature vine leaves, birds, and small animals, showcasing craftsmanship on par with the Black Men in Hofkirche.

From a good viewing angle, you can see a lifelike representation of Maximilian III atop his canopied tomb. The sculpture depicts the archduke kneeling on a cushion with folded hands in prayer, accompanied by Saint George standing beside him, hands resting on the archduke’s shoulders. If you’re not familiar with him, Maximilian III was the fourth son of Emperor Maximilian II and Empress Maria of Austria. In 1585, he became the Grandmaster of the Teutonic Order, earning the epithet “the German Master.”

4. Tyrol’s Loveliest Organ

Did you know that Austria is often referred to as the “Land of Music“? It’s a country that was home to legendary classical musicians like Beethoven, Mozart, and many more. Throughout Austria, you’ll find numerous places where you can attend festivals and immerse yourself in the rich musical heritage, gaining a deeper understanding and appreciation of their masterpieces.

Innsbruck, while not being the central hub of Austria’s musical culture, also has musical experiences that give its visitors a unique travel delight. In fact, Innsbruck takes pride in having the largest collection of historic organs in the country. The locals and the government work hand in hand to preserve this precious musical treasure.

So, where can you indulge in this distinctive musical culture in Innsbruck? Look no further than Innsbruck Cathedral! This magnificent venue hosts wonderful organ concerts that make one’s visit to the cathedral more special.

The giant ornate organ of Innsbruck Cathedral, Innsbruck, Austria
The giant ornate organ of Innsbruck Cathedral

While there are several other places in Innsbruck where you can enjoy similar musical experiences, I highly recommend visiting Innsbruck Cathedral. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to hear beautiful symphonies played on an organ that is widely regarded as the loveliest Baroque organ in Tyrol. Although Innsbruck Cathedral’s organ may not be as visually striking as the frescoes and stucco works of the Asam brothers, the musical experience it offers can definitely be the unique experience you can look forward to during your time in Innsbruck. 

If you want to see the organ in Innsbruck Cathedral, it is just situated above the main portals on the western side of the church. With its exquisite ornamental gilt-laden casing and beautifully carved details, you can see it there serving as a magnificent complement to the opulent high altar.

5. Hair Raising Sound of the Bells

What makes old churches like Innsbruck Cathedral truly fascinating is their ability to satisfy our wanderlust with their heavenly interiors and transport us through time with the ethereal music emanating from their organs.

In the case of Innsbruck Cathedral, it elevates this enchanting experience with its exceptional bells. This magnificent cathedral not only preserves some of Austria’s most historic bells but also proudly houses the largest and most extensive carillon in the entire country.

In fact, since 1982, Innsbruck Cathedral has been home to 48 bells, and here’s the incredible part: it’s the only carillon in Austria with a range spanning four octaves. When these bells chime, prepare to be mesmerized as they send shivers down your spine and evoke a mix of reverence and nostalgia.

So, when is the best time to experience the enchanting chimes? Make sure to be sure to go near or in front of Innsbruck Cathedral around five to ten minutes after twelve noon, and you’ll have the pleasure of hearing the complete chants of the bells ringing.

Visiting Information

Do you want to visit Innsbruck Cathedral? Here is the summary of the church’s visiting hours from their website (in German) linked in the resources section of this post. 

The cathedral’s regular opening hours are from 08:45 AM to 06:30 PM daily. However, during the period from May 2nd to October 26th, the cathedral extends its opening time until 07:30 PM. 

Please note that due to ongoing worship services, guided tours and visits are typically available at specific times. So, from Monday to Saturday, visits can commence from 10:15 AM, while on Sundays and holidays, visits start from 12:30 PM.

For worship services, the schedule is as follows: On Sundays and holidays, Holy Mass is celebrated at 10:00 AM and 11:30 AM. On weekdays, the day starts with the recitation of the Rosary at 08:55 AM, followed by Holy Mass at 09:30 AM. 

The Lower Church and Crypt are accessible on most weekdays. From Monday to Friday, they are open from 10:15 AM to 04:45 PM, and on Saturdays, they are open from 10:15 AM to 12:00 PM.

Please do keep in mind that opening hours may vary during holidays, so it’s advisable to check beforehand.


For more information about Innsbruck Cathedral, you may refer to the links below. 

If you’re planning to visit Innsbruck for a few days and haven’t sorted out your accommodation yet, I’d recommend using my partner’s hotel search and booking platform. It’s my go-to choice and I think you’ll appreciate the great hotel deals it offers. I’m a fan of its map feature which helps me quickly find the most convenient hotel. Please note that this is an affiliate link. This means I may earn a small commission when you book through it, but at no extra cost to you. Think of it as a kind way to support WanderInEurope, allowing us to continue creating insightful articles like this one. Thanks for your support!

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Innsbruck Cathedral’s absolutely beautiful, right? So, whether you’re in Innsbruck for a day or staying for two, make sure to put Innsbruck Cathedral at the top of your list with other must-see attractions in the Old Town like the iconic Golden Roof, Stadtturm, Hofburg, and Hofkirche. Also, don’t forget to check out other great spots outside the city like Ambras Castle, Tirol Panorama Museum, and Nordkette! Admission to these attractions are covered by Innsbruck City Card.

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