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Innsbruck dates from 1180, when the little market settlement on the north bank of the Inn River spread to the south bank via a new bridge that gave the settlement its name – Ynsprugg.

In 1420 Innsbruck became the ducal seat of the Tyrolean Habsburgs, but it was under the reign of Emperor Maximilian I (r 1490–1519) that the city reached its zenith in power and prestige; many of the monuments, including the shimmering Goldenes Dachl, are still visible today. Maxi­milian was not the only Habsburg to influence the city’s architectural skyline: Archduke Ferdinand II reconstructed the Schloss Ambras and Empress Maria Theresia the Hofburg.

Aside from the two world wars, Innsbruck has enjoyed a fairly peaceful existence over the centuries. More recently, its importance as a winter sports centre reached the international stage – it held the Winter Olympics in 1964 and 1976.