The Olympic diving platform
Although the most important tourist attractions of Innsbruck lie in the architectural beauties of its Old Town, it is as well impossible to leave the city without paying a quick visit to the Olympic Diving platform. This massive construction is situated outside the city, but it is visible from the Marie-Theresien-Strasse, which is the street leading to the historic city centre.
The diving platform cannot escape the eye with its towering height, the majestic bulk and the slender design. A place that has witnessed an important page of history.
The history of the diving platform is much more complex and fascinating that one could think of. Back in time, we find out that the place where the Bergisel Ski Jump lies is not just an anonymous spot. Here, in 1809 the Tyrol freedom war was fought, which saw the Tyrolean army, led by Andreas Hofer and the civil population on one side, and the French-Bavarian army on the other side. Despite its valiant defence, the Tyrolean army was defeated by the French troops. Hofen fled into the mountains, but he was betrayed and imprisoned, and after the process ordered by Napoleon, he was executed in 1810.
This place, which in the past witnessed the opposed destinies of the French and Tyrolean populations, was chosen in 1925 as the construction site for the first diving platform. This diving platform hosted the Olympic Games of 1964 and 1976.
The new Olympic diving platform
The need to renew such a majestic construction led to the examination of a high number of projects. The final choice fell on Zaha Hadid’s design. The architect, born in Iraq and resident in London, submitted his drawings for this innovative projects, and the construction terminated in September 2002 after one year work.
The diving platform, a spectacular background for agonistic competitions, subsequently turned into one of the main tourist attractions of the city. Its massive bulk can be admired from the ground all year round, but climbing the steps that lead to the spectacular view on top of its 47 metres is certainly worth it.
Apart from the panoramic restaurant there are also other attractions open to public, among which the stadium (holding a capacity of 28.000 spectators), the gondola, the lift, the panoramic café and the athletes’platform.
Some numbers of the new diving platform
- Architectural Design: Zaha Hadid
- Year of the competition for the design of the new diving platform: 1999
- Works began in: 2001
- Works terminated in: September 2002
- Total base area: 1470 mq
- Construction Area: 355 mq
- Height: 47 m