The Roman Catholic Court Church is located in the center of Innsbruck, on the edge of the old town. It is also called the Franciscan Church or Schwarzmander Church (Schwarzmander = black men). It was built between 1553 and 1563 as the site for the tomb of Emperor Maximilian I. However, the monarch, who died in 1519, had himself buried in the castle of Wiener Neustadt. The Hofkirche is connected to the Tyrolean Folk Art Museum and is one of the five houses of the Tyrolean State Museums.
The court church and the adjacent Franciscan monastery were built
between 1553 and 1563 under Maximilian's grandson, Emperor Ferdinand I
(1503-1564), and dedicated to the Holy Cross. From the beginning it was
planned as the site of the magnificent tomb for Emperor Maximilian I.
The architect Andrea Crivelli from Trento provided the plans for the three-aisled hall church. The master builder was Nikolaus Türing d. J., whose grandfather, who came from Memmingen, had created the Golden Roof, and after Türing's death, Marx della Bolla. The Renaissance portal of the court church was made by the stonemasons Hieronymus de Longhi and Anton del Bon.
Archduke Ferdinand II had the court church refurnished and from 1577 to 1578 the Silver Chapel was built as a burial chapel.
On November 3, 1655, the former Swedish Queen Christina of Sweden publicly converted to the Catholic faith in the Hofkirche after her abdication.
Most of the stucco work preserved in the Hofkirche today dates from the end of the 17th century.
The high altar was built between 1755 and 1758 based on a design by the Viennese court architect Nikolaus von Pacassi. It is flanked by the lead cast statues of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Theresa of Avila, created in 1768 by the Innsbruck-born court sculptor Balthasar Ferdinand Moll.
Tomb of Maximilian I
The interior of the church is dominated by the empty tomb of Emperor Maximilian I, around which 28 larger-than-life bronze figures are grouped. The tomb was commissioned by Maximilian I (1459-1519) during his lifetime for the St. George's Chapel in the castle in Wiener Neustadt, but remained unfinished. It was only his grandson, Emperor Ferdinand I, who had the magnificent tomb brought to Innsbruck and erected as a cenotaph in the court church he had built especially for it. The tomb in its present form was only completed in 1584 under Archduke Ferdinand II (1529-1595).
The freedom fighter Andreas Hofer has been buried in the Hofkirche since 1823; his tomb is in the left aisle and was designed by the painter Johann Martin Schermer. Hofer's grandson Joseph (1823–1848) fell in the run-up to the Battle of Goito and was buried in the Hofkirche in 1851. Andreas Hofer's comrades-in-arms Josef Speckbacher, Joachim Haspinger and Kajetan Sweth are also buried here, as has Georg Hauger since 1935, who had transferred Hofer's bones from Mantua to Tyrol in 1823.
The tomb of Katharina Loxan, an aunt of Philippine Welser, is located above the staircase to the "Silver Chapel" connected to the court church. The sarcophagus is by Alexander Colin, the associated wrought iron grating by Paulus Kien (1582).
The "Silver Chapel" is on the floor above the church and lies above the former moat (today a passage). Archduke Ferdinand II had it built between 1577 and 1578 by court architect Hans Lucchese as a burial chapel for himself and his wife Philippine Welser, and expanded in 1587. The chapel, named after the "silver altar" with a silver-driven Madonna and her symbols, consists of two rooms separated by a lattice. In addition to the two marble tombs by Alexander Colin, it houses an Italian organ (~1580) with almost exclusively wooden pipes (Organo di legno). Restorations were carried out in 1993 and 1998 (Pierpaolo Donati and Jürgen Ahrend).
There are two organs in the Hofkirche, one by Jörg Ebert and one by Hans Mauracher:
Choir organ by Jörg Ebert
The swallow's nest organ of the Hofkirche was built by Jörg Ebert between 1555 and 1561. It has 15 registers on two manuals and an attached pedal. It is the largest, almost intact Renaissance organ in Austria - see Ebert organ in the Hofkirche Innsbruck.
The organ on the northern gallery of the Hofkirche was built in 1900 by k. u.k. Built by master organ builder Hans Mauracher in Salzburg and played at mass. It has a pneumatic action and 23 registers on two manuals and pedal. The instrument was restored in 2005 and is one of the few sound documents of German late romanticism in the Tyrolean capital.
In the tower of the Hofkirche there is a historically valuable bell
ensemble consisting of five bells. Two bells came from the bell founder
Friedrich Reinhart, and two more from the Löffler family of bell
founders. Another bell was cast by Johann Heinrich Wickrath.
Franciscan monastery in Innsbruck
A Franciscan monastery is attached to the Hofkirche. The Franciscans are responsible for the pastoral care of this church and the believers. On August 31, 2021, the public was informed that, after almost 500 years due to a lack of offspring, the Franciscans will leave the Hofkirche. In the future, the services will be held by the Capuchins.
visit to the church
The main entrance is on Universitätsstraße, diagonally opposite the Innsbruck Hofburg.
However, access to the church is only possible through the adjoining folk art museum of the Tyrolean State Museum against payment of an entrance fee.