We're standing on the Nordkette Ridge, and on the mountain called the Haflekar, looking south and downward into Innsbruck.  The Inn stands out as a ribbon making an arc towards us, and it flows from right to left.  Most of Innsbruck is within the bend in the river.  The Altstadt or Old City of Innsbruck is near the green patch to the right of center along the Inn, and the main train station is in the center of the city.

        Innsbruck is here because this is where the Sill River comes down from the Brenner Pass through the valley in the upper center of the picture, and the Sill flows through Innsbruck and into the Inn.  You can see the Sill as a light linear sliver near the center of the city.  Two major valleys and trade routes thus come together here.  Rail lines and autobahns run east and west from here along the Inn and south (away from us) up the Sill Valley to the Brenner Pass and into Italy.

        The Inn makes the bend that you see here because it flows around the alluvial fan of the Sill.  Like other towns in the Alps, Innsbruck sits on an alluvial fan, and its earliest medieval settlement (in Wilten, not in the Altstadt) was at the apex of the fan and so at the mouth of the Sill Valley.  Only later did the building of the Inn Bridge lead to the founding of Innsbruck proper at the Altstadt.

       With the satellite image below, you look straight down on Innsbruck. The main rail yards are just right of center. The Altstadt is toward the lower right, at a slight bend in the river, and a ring of streets following its old walls defines its original outlines.



       The image below, taken from above Hötting and thus at a lower angle, shows the Inn (in the left foreground) and the Altstadt (in the fore- to mid-ground).  Landmarks include the new gray Congresshaus at the left near the river, the old tan-with-greencaps Jakobsdom or Cathedral of St. James in the central midground, the even older green-capped medieval Stadtturm or City Tower at the far right, the more recent yellow Landesstheater (State Theater) at the left, and in the far distance the very modern Olympic sports venues and the elevated Autobahn.  Our next few stops will take us down into Innsbruck.



On to the next image in the full trip down the Inn, at the western railroad bridge. Go!

On to the next image in the shorter trip of highlights.

Back to the Trip Down the Inn page, where you can choose from the full list of images.

Back to Railsback's Alpine and Glacial Geology course page.

Back to Railsback's Bruce Railsback's main page.

Email to Bruce Railsback

UGA Geology Home Page