One of Austria’s most popular tourist attractions is a glittering world where music, artistry and crystal combine to provide a breathtaking visual and aural feast for the senses.
More than 10 million visitors have headed to the tiny town of Wattens, just 20 minutes from Innsbruck, since the amazing Swarovski Crystal World opened its subterranean Chambers of Wonders in 1995.
On arrival visitors are greeted by the sight of a giant’s head with illuminated crystal eyes which change colour, and a waterfall pouring out of his gaping mouth. The giant guards the entrance to the underground world where the crystal craftsmanship of the world famous Swarovski company is celebrated by fantastical works of modern art.
The 14 chambers are home to a stunning array of paintings, sculptures, installations and music, calling on the influences and talents of supreme talents as diverse as surreal artist Salvador Dali and Brian Eno, who since the days of Roxy Music has become a powerful force in the world of music.
The chambers combine light, sound and modern art. Here you can see the Taj Mahal, the Empire State Building and an Egyptian pyramid as never before. Walk into the biggest kaleidoscope in the world and see your reflection in nearly 600 mirrors. In another chamber the fashion designer Alexander McQueen left as part of his legacy a gleaming and fragile looking magical work of art combining thousands of Swarovski crystals and polished steel branches, having collaborated with fellow designer Tord Boontje.
The gallery is surrounded by beautiful gardens and an intricate maze, and in winter the mountains behind are snow capped while the waterfall gushing from the giant’s mouth turns into a glacier. And Swarovski lovers will be delighted to discover they can pass through the biggest Swarovski shop in the world.
Guests staying at the Alpine Centre will find the Swarovski Crystal World (kristallwelten.swarovski.com) an easy day visit away at less than 75 miles from the resort – take the A12 to Innsbruck and turn off at exit 61 for Wattens. And while you are in the area, complete the day with a visit to the charming city of Innsbruck, the capital of the Tyrol region.
Picture credits: LinksmanJD