Bathed with historical significance which can be stretched back to the Roman Empire, Salzburg exudes an aura of cultural richness and it has rightfully earned one of the esteemed titles, “World Heritage Site” from UNESCO. During the dominance of the Roman rules, this picturesque city of Austria was the epicenter of power which unified the prince and archbishop as one. Even after centuries, the title Archbishop of Salzburg holds an important position in the Catholic Church.
But Salzburg is evidently more than its churches, religious significance, domes and the last remains of a crumbled empire. As for the music lovers, they recognize the city to be the birthplace of the famous, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The main attraction of the tourists being the museum which was originally Mozart’s family home. To make matters more enticing, the riveting film, The sound of the Music, were shot in the backdrop of Salzburg’s formidable mountain cliffs. The city residing at the foothill of northern Alps can be seen as a place where the old historic world and new modern world collides and gives rise to a delightful experience with a scenic view.
A Journey Into the Past
The cobblestone path of Altstadt, which in native tongue is known as Durchhäuser leads to Getreidegasse, the old town market that dates back to 15th century. The winding lanes is home to numerous antique shops, wrought iron shops, boutiques, galleries, cafes, quaint courtyards, and the old houses with medieval architecture takes you back to a different era altogether. This is the best place for the tourist to collect souvenirs and take a walk down the memory lane.
The Impenetrable Walls of Fortess Hohensalzgurg
Fortress Hohensalzburg is located on Festungsberg Hill; it offers a view of the entire city of Salzburg from the fort’s colossal courtyards. Since its establishment in 1077 it has undergone several constructions and expansions. The defensive gates which restricted the entry of the invaders are a sight to behold, along with the ancient cistern and lime tree that dates back to 1539. The fort also maintains tradition by daily playing the prominent Salzburg Bull which is an organ. The interior of the palace is as grand as the exterior, with its marble doorways, gothic style and jeweled ceilings. It showcases a slice of history in its museums by displaying torture devices, paintings, artifacts, weapons and a lot more.
Mirabellgarden: the Garden of Wows
This is the main attraction of The sound of Music fans where some of the garden scenes were shot. For a long period of time, the garden could not be accessed by public; it was in 1854 that it was made accessible. The garden is part of the Mirabell Palace which is modeled in the Baroque landscape design; hence, it is dotted with various marble statues, fountain and gardens. The place was remodeled in the year 1818 in neoclassical design after a fire accident. Except the magnificent garden; the grand staircase, the Schloss Mirabell Baroque Museum and the marble hall also hold the interest of the visitors. The museum is known to exhibit artistic vigor of the 18th century.
Mozart Residence: the World of Music
The popularity of Mozart is worldwide, but it takes a different turn in this small town of Austria. In every corner of every lane the influence of Mozart becomes apparent. The present family residence of Mozart, “Mozart residence” which is located in Makartplatz square, houses the museum which was reconstructed after its destruction during the Second World War. The museum gives a glimpse of the everyday humdrum of the family members and their biographies.
Visit the Most Famous Cathedral
The most noteworthy aspect of Salzburg Cathedral is Mozart baptism. This is also one of the oldest and biggest churches which is part of the old town. Throughout the course of history, this church has been destroyed and reconstructed. The one that stands presently is influenced by Italian style of architecture. The twin tower which is 79 meter high makes a prominent landmark.
The unique features of this church are three bronze doors which symbolize faith, hope and hope respectively; and four humungous statues of Peter, Paul, St. Rupert and Virgil, Patron saints of the province. The museum attached to the church displays gothic statues, Carolingian Cross of St. Rupert, several painting and many more.
Hellbrunn: the Palace of Fountains
This palace was built solely to serve the purpose of entertainment. The archbishop of Salzburg, Markus Sittikus commissioned to build the palace in the year 1613 which spots unusual form of pleasure and fun. Most of the statues work on the basis of illusion. A simple statue has the tendency to suddenly sprout water. The benches have the same tricky nature. The décor of the palace is quite grand as well and reflects the wealth and power of the church and the state.
Take a Walk Towards the Largest Square
The old town is littered with several squares but nothing is quite exquisite as The Residenzplatz. Situated in the left bank of river Salzach, the beauty of the marble water fountain known as Residenzbrunnen attracts tourists from all over the world. Sculpted in 1661 by a famous Italian sculptor, this fountain stands 15 meters tall. God Atlas has been engraved in the marble slab along with horses and dolphins. The figure of Triton with a conch shell also has a spot in the sculpture.
Surrounding the fountains are several cafes and boutiques which allows the public to grab a bite and collect unique collectables.
Religion Meets Art
Established in 1143 and again remodeled in Rococo style in the year 1625, the St. Peter’s church is a sight of artistic creativity and splendor. Located within the bounds of St. Peter abbey, this church is also called, “the Abbey Church”. Due to its constant renovation over centuries, the church various architectural styles, but the most prominent is the Romanesque design. This impressive historical church has monuments dedicated to JM Haydn and Marianne, sister of Mozart. The abbey has a cemetery and catacombs which are open to the public.
The church has one of the oldest libraries, which has more than a thousand books but cannot be accessed by public without special permission. The abbey has shelters Stiftskeller restaurant which is another source of attraction for the tourists as it holds Mozart themed dinner events or concerts and serves the best food and wine in Salzburg.
The House of Panoramic Paintings
Salzburg has a panorama museum which is the residence of the famous panoramic painting by Johann Sattler. The 125 meter square painting depicts the life of the Salzburg civilians and a glimpse of the old city. It provides an insight to the past lives of the people who resided in the same land nearly 200 years ago.
Relive Your Childood at the Toy Museum
This activity themed museum lures the interest of both the children as well as the adults alike. Located near to the Mirabell palace, this toy museum showcases the toys and boars games of the several centuries. They give a detailed account of the reason behind of such games and its development. The activity sector of the museum allows the visitors to take part in marble run and miniature race circuit. It has an old imitation shop which allows the children to have an understanding about the trade system of the old shops.
Catch a Show at Salzburg Marionette Theatre
There are only a handful of theatres that use the mode of puppetry to narrate a story. Salzburg’s Marionette Theatre is one such unique place where life- like puppets is used. The puppets perform various plays of Shakespeare such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Other composures whom they prefer are Tchaikovsky, Mozart and Saint-Exupéry.
Gaisberg Mountains: a Trek of a Lifetime
The Gaisberg Mountains which occupies the eastern side of Salzburg offers a sense of peace and respite from the chaos of modern life. People with a taste of outdoor activities or trekking or hiking would find the place refreshing. Moreover, the place is not quite far from the main city of Salzburg. There are automobile links that connects Mirabell Palace and the mountains, making the place accessible. To assist the trekkers and hikers, a 20 km trail is marked which notifies the range of difficulty and range. Other outdoor activities that can be done are Mountain biking and paragliding.
Drop by the Celtic Museum to Gain More Insight
Salzburg is not just the birth place of one famous person. The composer of Silent Night, the famous organist Franz Xaver Gruber was born in Hallein, which is a 10 mines drive from the epicenter of the city of Salzburg. Hallein is adorned with statues, gateways and Salzach styled houses which make it a historical landmark. The museum displays and gives a small recount of the Celtic history, art, and Celtic tools used by the people of that period. One of the oldest Celtic museums of Europe, it has Celtic burial chamber which is a sight to behold.
The House of Priests: the Salzburg Residenz
The Salzburg Residenz is located in the western part of Salzburg. The colossal palace is marked by marble gateways which was not there initially but was added in 1710. This was the residence of prince bishops and is luxuriously decorated in the style of early neoclassic. The palace has notable objects like rich stucco ornaments and exquisite fireplaces. The ceiling of the castle has intricate paintings which add to its elegance.
There is a gallery that was established in 1923 which showcases the artistic creation of 16th and 19th century painters. Some of the famous painters whose masterpiece hangs on the walls of The Residenzgalerie are Brueghel, Rembrandt and Rubens.
Salzburg is surely a town of musical wealth. Neugebaude or as it is said in English, the New Residence is a building of artistic grandeur which was built in 1702. The building houses government offices but it is famous for its 35 bells which play the tune of Mozart’s collection three times per day. The bells were manufactured in Antwerp and shipped to the town of Salzburg. It is said that it took years to set up the bell in proper format so that plays the tune of famous composers. Guided tours are offered which explains the mechanism of the bells.
Take Another Church Tour
The churches of Salzburg give a glimpse of the past with the help of its architecture and The Franciscan Church is no different. The high roof of the choir makes it a prominent landmark and a sight of pure wonder. Whereas, the interior of the church has a Romanesque design which happens to be a direct contrast of the bright gothic themed choir. The carved statue of Madonna which dates back to 15th century also attracts tourists.
One Day Trip to the Eagle’s Nest
The Eagle’s Nest is not essentially a part of Salzburg but it is easily commutable. It is a Third Reich era structure which was the former retreat of Hitler. It gives a picturesque view of the Bavarian Alps and the building is rich in historical significance and architectural grandeur. An interesting fact of the building is, to reach the spot; one has to travel through an underground tunnel which is 124 meters long and then take an elevator which will again descent another 124 meters.
The adventure does not end over here, another tour can be arranged to the Bavarian mountains and the salt mines. The tour is arranged in such a manner that it provides a small account of four hundred and fifty years old history while going through the underground salt mines. It also gives a drive around the King’s Lake River which is scenic and the crystal clear appearance of the lake is soothing to the eyes of the visitors and the Bavarian Alps forms a beautiful backdrop. The last destination of the tour is Berchtesgaden, which is a small in the Austrian border. Though this mining tour is not typically centered on Salzburg, but it will surely be a refreshing experience.