Innsbruck is the capital city of the federal state of Tyrol (Tirol) in western Austria. It is located in the Inn Valley at the junction with the Wipptal (Sill River), which provides access to the Brenner Pass, some to the south.
Innsbruck lies about half way between Munich (Germany) and Verona (Italy). Located in the broad valley between high mountains, the so-called North Chain in the Karwendel Alps (Hafelekarspitze) to the north, and the Patscherkofel and Serles to the south.
Innsbruck is an internationally renowned winter sports centre, and hosted the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics as well as the 1984 and 1988 Winter Paralympics. Innsbruck also hosted the first Winter Youth Olympics in 2012. The word bruck comes from the same root as the modern German word "Brücke" meaning "bridge" which leads to "the bridge over the Inn".
Earliest traces suggest initial inhabitation in the early Stone Age. Surviving pre-Roman place names show that the area has been populated continuously. In the 4th century the Romans established the army station Veldidena (the name survives in today's urban district Wilten) at Oenipons (Innsbruck), to protect the economically important commercial road from Verona-Brenner-Augsburg.
The first mention of Innsbruck dates back to the name Oeni Pontum or Oeni Pons which is Latin for bridge (pons) over the Inn (Oenus), which was an important crossing point over the Inn river. The Counts of Andechs acquired the town in 1180. In 1248 the town passed into the hands of the Counts of Tyrol. The city's seal and coat of arms show a bird's-eye view of the Inn bridge, a design used since 1267. The route over the Brenner Pass was then a major transport and communications link between the north and the south, and the easiest route across the Alps. The revenues generated by serving as a transit station enabled the city to flourish.
In 1669 the university was founded. Also as a compensation for the court as Emperor Leopold I again reigned from Vienna and the Tyrolean stirps of the Habsburg dynasty had ended in 1665.
The Tyrolean hero Andreas Hofer was executed in Mantua; his remains were returned to Innsbruck in 1823 and interred in the Franciscan church.
In 1929, the first official Austrian Chess Championship was held in Innsbruck.