>Every Tirolean schoolchild knows who Andreas Hofer is, if not all the details of his life and circumstances. He is, simply put, Tirol’s best-known and most beloved Freedom Fighter. The man who organized successful resistance to Tirol’s being taken by the Bavarians (France’s ally in the Napoleonic Wars — don’t expect me to explain this long, drawn-out, revolving-cast war period. It’s too complicated for my opera singer’s brain. Suffice to say, they kept coming up with treaties, and Austria kept promising Hofer that Tirol would not be given away. And then it’d be given away.) A man betrayed by one of his own people, court-martialled and executed in Italy (Napoleon was King of Italy as well at the time. I told you it was complicated), and forever after a symbol of fierce Tirolean Independence. He was Ethan Allen and Nathan Hale rolled into one.
The site of Hofer’s most famous adventure, the Battle of Bergisel, is now home to a museum and a park with Monarchy-era monuments and statues, including the one below. The plaque at the base reads Für Gott, Kaiser und Vaterland. The Battle of Bergisel took place in 1809, and it is this year which is most closely identified with Hofer. 2009 being the 200th anniversary, there is much going on as far as cultural events and awareness in Innsbruck.
Just above the park is the entrance to the Bergisel Sprungschanze (ski jump), which I will cover at a later date.