Innsbruck, Austria is a city known predominantly for its winter tourism, and skiing vacations. But, beneath the idyllic veneer, it is also an incredibly important cultural city as well. Known for its modern and imperial architecture, Innsbruck has a lot of history hiding just below the surface. But, it’s not just in areas of architecture that the city is important – it also has some pretty deep ties to religion.
If you were told that Innsbruck played a pivotal role in the world, you’d probably assume it was in the area of winter tourism. But, it actually provides an important and essential service for many of the religious places of worship across the world. We are talking, of course, about the legendary bells of Innsbruck. Let’s look a little closer at howe Innsbruck became the city that sold bells to the world.
This legendary foundry in Innsbruck is owned and run by Peter Grassmayr, whose family has cast bronzer and copper in the city since the late 1590s. He oversees the construction of these revered bells, which are cast at temperatures of over 1,150C, and steamed for weeks afterward. Each bell is unique and has its own story to tell, and that’s what makes them so fascinating. The foundry has its own museum where you can find out more about the bell-making process, and how it has affected Innsbruck.
Where do the bells go?
Well, after being created here, the bells then make their journey out into the world. Sure, Innsbruck is supplied, as well as the surrounding nations like Germany, Italy, and Austria. But, the rest of the world benefits from these bells as well. It’s not just Christian churches, but, indeed, any variety of religious buildings all across the globe. Mosques, monasteries, and temples, in places as far-flung as Egypt, Australia, and Tanzania.
The foundry is still very much live and fully operational, and is seen by many as being the pride of Innsbruck. Today it is Austria’s oldest family-run business, and makes bells for over 100 countries, and 8 different religions. They may be divided by beliefs, segregation, and bloody history, but, it’s poetic to think that these religions are all united by one simple item – their bells. What’s even more important is that bell casting is a dying artform, so it’s even more crucial that Innsbruck continues its tradition of bell making for generations to come.
There are a lot of great reasons to go to Innsbruck already, and now you have another one! The stunning bells that are cast here, play such an important role in the religions of the world. You get to experience something that so many people actually take for granted, and don’t even realize matters as much as it does. The instruments continue to change and evolve, but the craftsmanship endures. And the joyful ring of bells that reaches all four corners of the Earth can be traced back to this quaint city in the Alps, and that is pretty amazing to think.