A new way to climb a mountain: not far from Innsbruck’s famed “Goldenes Dachl”, an amorphous ice formation glitters in the sun. Upon closer inspection, however, it reveals itself as the lower terminus of the Hungerburgbahn hybrid funicular railway, whose striking appearance sprung from the imagination of star architect Zaha Hadid.
Architect Zaha Hadid left an indelible mark on the city of Innsbruck as early as 2002, when she designed the new Bergisel Ski Jump; with her Hungerburgbahn hybrid funicular railway five years later she again set new standards in international architecture. Most of the passengers travelling up the mountain in the spacious panorama gondolas and enjoying the spectacular views along the way are completely unaware of the technical challenges faced by the builders of the cable railway in terms of the constantly changing inclination of the ground and the rough terrain.
Just as spectacular the visual design of the stations, which imitates the morphology of the Alps in winter, is the funicular’s course: first one travels through a tunnel, then over an imposing bridge across the Inn River, and finally it traverses an incline of 46 per cent to reach the Hungerburg, at 860 metres above sea level. From there the new panorama gondola continues up to the 1,905-metre-high Seegrube, where one has tremendous views of the entire Central Inn Valley, the Stubai and Zillertal Alps, and across the Wipptal to the Italian border – and this is also where the new Alpenlounge Seegrube offers a superb dining experience. If the air here is still not thin enough for you, climb on the Hafelekarbahn and ride up to the 2,256-metre-high Hafelekar, which promises 350 days of cloud-free views a year.