Domkirche St. Jakob (Innsbruck)


Domkirche St. Jakob is a beautiful cathedral that was erected between 1717 and 1722. Its high altar is adored by a fresco of Madonna and Child by Lucas Cranach the Elder.



The church mentioned in a contract from 1180 as “ecclesia in foro” or “div chirche in dem markt” probably already existed in 1181/82. The first documented mention of a St. Jakobskirche in Innsbruck dates from 1270. The oldest surviving view of the Gothic church was created in 1494 in a watercolor by Albrecht Dürer, and in 1556 it was depicted in the Schwaz mine book. In 1643 St. Jakob became an independent parish, while previously it was a subsidiary church of Wilten. The parish coat of arms shows the pilgrim's staff and pilgrim's shell of St. James. In 1650 the famous miraculous image of Mariahilf by Lucas Cranach the Elder was placed in the church, which subsequently developed into a place of Marian pilgrimage. In 1689 an earthquake caused damage to the church.

Between 1717 and 1724, the new building was built in the Baroque style according to plans by Johann Jakob Herkomer and Johann Georg Fischer. In 1904 the Innsbruck parish was raised to the status of provost and the provost was granted special rights. From then on he was Apostolic Protonotary ad instar participantum for the time of his office and now had the right to wear a miter, pectoral and ring. In 1944 the church was damaged by Allied bombs. In 1964 the diocese of Innsbruck was established, which raised the parish church to the rank of a bishop's church (cathedral). In 2000, a sacrament chapel was set up in the south tower. In the same year, celebrations took place to mark the 350th anniversary of the transfer of the miraculous image of Mariahilf to what was then the parish church, with the simultaneous inauguration of the new cathedral organ. In 2003, the Trier university professor Manfred Scheuer was ordained the fourth bishop of the diocese by his predecessor Alois Kothgasser in the cathedral of St. Jakob. In addition to his function as cathedral and city pastor, Propst Huber was also dean of the Innsbruck deanery until the 2018 dean election.

The consecration of the church to St. James points to Innsbruck's location on the pilgrimage route (Way of St. James) to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, one of the three most important pilgrimage sites of the Middle Ages alongside Jerusalem and Rome.

During an emergency archaeological excavation in front of the church portal carried out on the occasion of the cathedral restoration in 2022, remains of the foundations of the former 15th-century Nothelfer chapel and a priest's crypt were found.



The tomb of Maximilian III is in the church. Deutschmeister, Prince of Tyrol 1612-1618. The draft comes from Caspar Gras, according to another opinion from Hubert Gerhard[3], the cast from Heinrich Reinhart. Particularly interesting are the Solomon's Columns, which are decorated with plants, snails, birds and grasshoppers, among other things. The sovereign is kneeling at the top with St. George and the dragon. St. Georg was the patron saint of Tyrol until 1772, then St. Josef followed. Since 2005, Saint George has been the second national patron to Saint Joseph.

A tombstone also commemorates Archduke Eugen, commander-in-chief of the Austro-Hungarian army in World War I, also a member of the Teutonic Order.

The gilded pulpit is the work of Nikolaus Moll around 1724. The pulpit is supported by the personified three divine virtues: faith (angel with cross), love (angel pointing to the heart), hope (angel with anchor).

The ceiling frescoes are by Cosmas Damian Asam, the stucco by Egid Quirin Asam. This is baroque illusion painting.

In the center of the high altar retable is the Mariahilf image by Lukas Cranach the Elder. The high altar itself was created in 1729 by Cristoforo Benedetti and his son Teodoro. The floor in the choir room and other side altars, which were commissioned by the Prince-Bishop of Brixen Kaspar Ignaz von Künigl, also come from the two.



The large organ on the west gallery was built between 1998 and 2000 by the Austrian organ building workshop Pirchner (Steinach a. Br.) in the case of the organ by Johann Kaspar Humpel from 1725, using pipe material from the previous organ. The instrument has mechanical playing and register actions and a total of 57 registers (3729 pipes).



The Mariahilfglocke (also known as the Great Parish Bell) is the second largest historical church bell in Tyrol. It was cast by the Grassmayr bell foundry in Innsbruck in 1846 and is housed in the north tower. Every Friday at 3 p.m. it commemorates the hour of Christ's death. The seven bells, newly acquired in 1961 and 1965, come from the same foundry and hang in the south tower. The Innsbruck peace carillon has been housed in the north tower since 1982; it includes 48 bells and is therefore the largest and most extensive carillon in Austria. The bells, weighing a total of 4,100 kg, were cast in the Dutch bell foundry Eijsbouts and ring out daily at 12:10 p.m.

In September 2018, the old cracked bell 5 was replaced with a new one.