The third battle of the Bergisol on August 3, 1809, was a nail-biter. Though the Tyroleans had the support of the Hapsburg Emperor, and the blessing of the Pope, the Bavarian army that confronted them was better trained, larger and had the backing of Napoleon. But on that date the home team won, an event that is commemorated in a dramatic, 360-degree, 1000-square-meter painting created in 1896. It's the centerpiece, quite literally, of this contemporary museum which opened in 20ll, and was designed by architect Stoll Wagner to house the painting. Visitors are given ear buds when they arrive, and view the painting with a narrator helpfully pointing out telling details (like the young women bringing wine to the troops, the anachronistic Tyrolean uniforms, and other features). The drama of the painting, and the events that inspired it, come to life quite viscerally.

Alas, the rest of the museum, and its off-shoot Kaiserjägermuseum (housed in a more traditional structure across the street), aren't nearly as compelling—at least for non-German speakers. These exhibits delve into the military, natural, and cultural history of the Tyrols, with a wealth of artifacts and photos, none of which have captions translated into English. And at this point the audiotour becomes generalized, discussing the big events of European history, rather than the signifigance of the objects visitors have right in front of them. A missed opportunity.

advertisement

Tip: If you plan to see the Bergisal Ski Jump, by acclaimed architect Zaha Hadid, get a combined ticket to see the both. It's connected to this museum via a short trail.