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For nearly a century, a funicular system offered passage around the hills of Innsbruck. In 2007, the system was retired and replaced with something so architecturally stunning that it became a tourist destination in its own right. The journey is what matters on the Hungerburgbahn, and it happens in futuristic style.
Innsbruck Altstadt © Innsbruck Tourismus/Christof Lackner Innsbruck Altstadt © Innsbruck Tourismus/Christof Lackner

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To call the Hungerburgbahn in Innsbruck a hybrid funicular railway is both accurate and misleading, for this is much more than a railway. Travelers from around the world come not just to travel between four stations -- Congress, Löwenhaus, Alpenzoo and Hungerburg -- but to marvel at the sheer wildness of the design. Built in 2007, the system replaced the previous funicular service in operation between 1906 and 2005.

In a country renown for its architectural daring, this new collection of structures seemingly hails from another galaxy. With biomorphic undulations and futuristic curves, they celebrate the gorgeous landscape -- while ferrying you over it. Each train carries just 130 people, and the ride lasts less than ten minutes; the physical scale is small, but the artistic vision connects with a great tradition of architectural innovation throughout Austria.

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The main purpose of the two main domains and is the promotion of Austria as a holiday destination.