the oldest district of Brixen
First inhabited in the Neolithic period, Stufels has long been recognised for its favourable location between the Rienz and Eisack rivers. From the Middle Ages until relatively recently, it was home to small-time traders, artisans and servants as well as poorer people looking for cheap housing. Today, many young, upcoming artists have found their creative space here and Stufels has become known as an artists’ quarter. No trip to Brixen is complete without a visit to Stufels to discover its unique charm.
The Cathedrale Square is the heart and the centre of the city. Originally an Ottonian building with Romanesque restructuring of the nave and aisles around 1200, of the crypt, the 3 apses and the 2 towers of the facade. The new baroque building from 1745-1754 with frescoes by Paul Troger and the high altar by Theodor Benedetti. Classical entrance hall by Jakob Pirchstaller around 1783.
Splendid Romanesque building with vaults of the 14th century and magnificent frescoes either of the 14th or of the 15th century, which show the development of the medieval art. A first-class sight.
Brixen was frequently hit by floods in the past. The unfortunate confluence of the rivers Rienz and Eisack favored this. Therefore, after the great flood of 1882, the confluence was regulated. Now the Rienz and Eisack rivers meet at the southern part of the Rapp gardens, which were created as part of the regulation. To underline this great step and the importance of water for Brixen, the annual Water Light Festival in May features an installation at the confluence.
This masterpiece of Austrian military architecture, whose construction began in 1833 under Emperor Franz I., was opened after just five years by Emperor Ferdinand I. in 1838. But its strategic importance and thus its reason for existence had already been lost by this time. The enormous efforts and horrendous cost were all in vain. The huge fortress was from then on only useful as a depot and over a century and a half fell into a slumber as a closely guarded military facility.
The two arcaded streets will charm you with a variety of gables and bay windows. The houses, built mostly in the and 15th and 16th century, form with its multitude of shops even today the heart of the shopping city.
Top foto spot
The Adler bridge was first documented in 1233. Originally constructed from timber, it was swept away by floods several times before being rebuilt as an iron bridge in 1883. Today it connects Stufels, the oldest district of Brixen, with the old town. The Adler bridge offers beautiful views towards the old town with its colourful buildings, bustling narrow streets and the striking White Tower of St. Michael Parish Church. It’s well worth stopping to take a quick photo before heading into the town.
at Hotel Elephant
In 1551, the King of Portugal gave his nephew, the future Emperor Maximilian II, the gift of an Indian elephant. The elephant, which was named Suleiman, famously accompanied Maximilian on his journey from Valladolid in Spain to Vienna. When the convoy stopped over in Brixen, the locals stared at the strange creature in amazement. Such was the spectacle that the landlord of the inn where Maximilian stayed arranged for a fresco depicting the elephant to be painted on the building’s façade. From then on, the inn became known as the “Hauss am Hellephandt”, and today Hotel Elephant is one of the most famous hotels in South Tyrol.
Our tip: Hotel Elephant’s gourmet restaurant Apostelstube comes highly recommended and has been awarded a Michelin star.