Salzburg – Hohensalzburg Fortress & DomQuartier (including St. Peter’s Abbey)

As the UNESCO comments:

Salzburg has managed to preserve an extraordinarily rich urban fabric, developed over the period from the Middle Ages to the 19th century when it was a city-state ruled by a prince-archbishop. Its Flamboyant Gothic art attracted many craftsmen and artists before the city became even better known through the work of the Italian architects Vincenzo Scamozzi and Santini Solari, to whom the centre of Salzburg owes much of its Baroque appearance. This meeting-point of northern and southern Europe perhaps sparked the genius of Salzburg’s most famous son, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, whose name has been associated with the city ever since.


萨尔茨堡市历史中心: 当萨尔茨堡还是大主教统治下的一个城邦的时候,就一直在尽力保护那些建于中世纪至19世纪的珍贵城市建筑。在她广为人知之前就以其火焰样的哥特式艺术吸引了大批工匠和艺术家。后来,意大利建筑师文森佐·斯卡莫齐(Vincenzo Scamozzi)和山迪尼·索拉里(Santini Solari)为这里带来了大量巴洛克风格的建筑,通过他们的作品,这个城市也得到了更大的知名度。也许正是这种南北欧艺术的交融才成就了萨尔茨堡最著名的天才——乌夫冈·阿马戴乌斯·莫扎特(Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)。从那时起至今, 他的名字便一直和这个城市联系在一起。

1. Introduction to the city

1.1 The Sound of Music

What do you first think of when someone mentions Salzburg? For me, Mozart of course, and then it’s the movie “The Sound of Music“, a 1965 American musical drama film produced and directed by Robert Wise, and starring Julie Andrews. Being a huge success, it received five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, and in 2001, the United States Library of Congress selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry, finding it “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. I’m not sure how popular it is in your country, but in China, I can say that once you sing “Do-Re-Mi“, “The Lonely Goatherd”, “My Favorite Things”, “Edelweiss” and “So Long, Farewell”, most of the people around my age will recognize from which movie they are immediately. The film was so popular that I remember I watched it during classes (played by the teacher) in primary school, middle school and high school and my classmates and I even performed part of it in the primary school graduation ceremony. As I learnt from the info sheets provided by the tourism office, “The Sound of Music” has been seen by every one out of three Japanese tourists and is one of the main reasons for three quarters of American tourists to visit Salzburg.

Having said so much about the movie, what does it have to do with Salzburg then? In fact, the general plot is based on a real story (with certain variations) of the von Trapp family who lived here and the external scenes of the movie was shot in this city and the surrounding region. Though more than 50 years has passed, I still recognized many places that I saw in the movie. For example, the Mirabell Palace and Garden (as you can see in the first picture above), where Maria and the children were dancing and finished the song “Do-Re-Mi” at the background of the rooftops, towers and the fortress, the Felsenreitschule (as you can see in the second picture above), where the von Trapp family win first prize at the end of the film, St. Peter’s cemetery (as you can see in the third picture above), where the family hides from the Nazis, Schloss Leopoldskron, the house where the family lived in the movie, the Nonnberg Convent (as you can see in the fourth picture above), where the young Maria was a novice, the Residenzplatz Square and Residence Fountain, the Sound of Music Pavillon close to Schloss Hellbrunn and so on. I even found the narrow streets, houses and various old shops familiar and they brought back my memory not only of the movie but also of the school time with my classmates and friends, whom I meet rarely nowadays… I recommend you obtaining a map from the tourism office called “Salzburg – Die Bühne der Welt” and on it, you can see attractions marked with musical notes, which indicate the locations for shooting the movie. In my this and the following posts, I’ll also remind you of the scenes when I talk about relevant attractions. If you wanna know more about the shooting locations please click here and if you wanna know about guided tours of this particular theme, please click here.

1.2 UNESCO World Heritage

Considering I’m recently focusing on the visiting and writing about the UNESCO World Heritage sites in Europe, I decided to pay a visit to Salzburg during its 20-year anniversary of being in the UNESCO World Heritage list (1997-2017). In 1997, UNESCO officially recognized the historical center of Salzburg as a World Heritage site because of its unique cityscape influenced by both German and Italian cultures, its architecture shaped by the prince-archbishops of the former days and its significant role as a musical metropolis and the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Though currently a modern city, its distinctive architectural features have been well preserved.

Before visiting the city, I had no idea that it once served as the seat of ecclesiastical power in the heart of Europe. I guess that’s why there are so many churches and monasteries in the old town. Being a busy merchant town in the Middle Ages and the former residence of the prince-archbishops, Salzburg has an iconic ensemble of buildings dating back to different periods of time. The thriving cultural exchange between the south and north of Europe, in particular the architects and artists invited here from Italy, made the city one of the most beautiful and unique in the whole of Europe. Besides its architectural beauty, how can we ignore its role as a musical and cultural metropolis? It is well-known that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Getreidegasse 9 and over 350 of his most beautiful pieces were written here, but do not forget that it is also here that the theatre director and producer founded the famous Salzburg Festival. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why “The Sound of Music” was chosen to be based on a real Salzburg family and filmed here.

The historical center of Salzburg is accepted and protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site based on three out of the ten Selection Criteria. The fact that it was the former residence of the prince-archbishops meets criterion ii: “to exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design”. Its authentic, well-preserved and unique architectural ensemble in the city center meets criterion iv: “to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history”. Last but not least, its development in music and most famous son Mozart meet criterion vi: “to be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance”. I’ll elaborate a bit more on these three criteria in the following sections and organize my four posts about Salzburg according to them. However, I’d like to remind you that the three aspects are interconnected and it’s impossible to talk about any one of them in a strictly isolated manner without mentioning the other two.

What’s also notable in this city is the Salzburg Marionette Theatre, inscribed in the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage, on which 96 traditions in Austria are featured and 25 of them are in Salzburg Province. The theatre is particularly worth preserving due to its “highly developed form of puppet and marionette theatre”. As commented by the UNESCO, “the Salzburg Marionette Theatre has been dedicated to this art form since 1913. Aside from performance skills, it also requires passion on the craftsmanship required to carve, paint, costume and move the puppets.” I’ll talk more about this form of art when I introduce to you the Marionette Museum in the Hohensalzburg Fortress. Do you remember in “The Sound of Music“, Maria and the seven children perform a puppet show with the song “The Lonely Goatherd” to impress Captain Georg von Trapp and the Baroness? It seems the movie does try to integrate the heritage of the city.

Silent Night
Holy Night
All is calm
All is bright
Round yon virgin
Mother and child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Do you know the song above? It is certainly one of the or even the most popular Christmas carol and both its lyrics and melody are so familiar. Once I hear it either on the streets or on TV, I know that Christmas is coming. Composed in 1818 by Franz Xaver Gruber with lyrics by Joseph Mohr in the small town of Oberndorf bei Salzburg, “Silent Night” was declared an intangible cultural heritage by the UNESCO in 2011. Although the original version of the words and melody from 1818 no longer exists, four original autographs by Franz Xaver Gruber (written in his own hand) have been preserved. In the Salzburg Museum housed in the Neue Residenz, you will have the opportunity to see the only autograph from the pen of Joseph Mohr (facsimile). As you can see form the picture above, the title at that time was simply “Weihnachtslied” (Christmas Carol).

 1.2.1 Salzburg as an ecclesiastical principality and state of the Holy Roman Empire

For over 1000 years, Salzburg was part of the Holy Roman Empire with its ecclesiastical power in the hands of the archbishops. As I read from the press information, “after the Vatican, it was the second most important seat of the church, thus the name, ‘The Rome of the North’.” The Baroque squares, narrow valleys, churches and monasteries all testify to the architectural, artistic, historical and cultural legacy of the prince-archbishops. As a state of the Holy Roman Empire, Salzburg, as its name indicates (Salz means salt in German), owed its wealth to the mining of salt, ores and precious stones, which allowed the untiring building activities in the city. During this period of time, Rome, as the model, played an important role in shaping Salzburg’s appearance. A cathedral, many churches, chapels, monasteries and even graveyards were built under the influence of Italian precedents. Many of the constructions were overseen by Italian master architects including Vincenzo Scamozzi, the spiritual heir of Andrea Palladio, who designed countless masterpieces in the Veneto region. What’s particularly worth mentioning is the period between 1587 and 1612, when Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich, a great admirer of the Italian way of life, made a long-lasting impression upon the appearance of the town by transforming the medieval Salzburg into a peal of the early Baroque period. All in all, we can say that the archbishops laid the foundations for the Salzburg that we see nowadays, the city of churches.

In successfully making Salzburg a globally recognized major city in the music world, the patronage provided by the prince-archbishops to the musicians and composers in old times played a vital role. In the cathedral, you will see the magnificent main organ on the western gallery as well as the south-eastern pipe organ, the “Hoforgel” (Halo Organ) which was frequently played by W. A. Mozart. Also here, you will see the font in which both Mozart and Joseph Mohr, the lyricist for “Silent Night”, were baptized.

In order to have a better or deeper understanding of this aspect of the city, I recommend you visiting the cathedral, DomQuartier MuseumsSt. Peter’s Church, Cemetery and Catacombs, the Nonnberg Priory, the Holy Trinity Church, St. Sebastian’s Church & Cemetery, the Capuchin Monastery and the Franciscan Church. If you are particularly interested in religion, please click here to check the full list of churches that you can visit in Salzburg.

1.2.2 A musical metropolis and the birthplace and residence of  W. A. Mozart

The first thing I know about Salzburg is that it’s the city where the music genius Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born and grew up. Judging from the amount of tourists in Mozart’s Birthplace and Residence Museums, I’m certain that he is one of the main reasons why people choose to come here. Born on 27th January 1756 in Getreidegasse 9, Mozart showed prodigious ability from his earliest childhood. Already competent in keyboard and violin, he composed from the age of five and performed before the European royalty. After the completion of renovations in 2010, Mozart’s Birthplace now houses a permanent exhibition based on four themes. As you can see in the first picture above, it is one of the most frequently photographed buildings and one of the most visited museums in the world. Why? Because it is right here at this place that he wrote more than 350 of his most beautiful pieces and we can say that this house witnessed not only Mozart’s birth but also the development in his career which eventually turned him into one of the most significant composers in the world. Another building or museum I’d like to recommend to you is the Mozart Residence, where Mozart lived from autumn 1773 until 1780 before settling for the rest of his life in Vienna.

Since we are talking about Mozart, I’d like to take a “detour” for chocolate lovers. In 1890, Salzburg’s master confectioner Paul Fürst invented a praline and called it Mozartkugel (Mozart Ball) in honor of the great composer. The praline features its round shape and technically difficult concentric composition: green pistachio marzipan surrounded by a layer of nougat, and dipped into dark melted chocolate. The “Original Salzburger Mozartkugel” is a specialty still produced by hand nowadays without any artificial ingredients or preservatives and it can not be found in international supermarkets or souvenir booths but only in the four “Confiserie Fürst” shops in Salzburg. Please note that I saw many shops selling Mozartkugel wrapped with foil with the famous colorful portrait of Mozart, but that’s not the original one. The original ones can only be found in the “Confiserie Fürst” shops, as you can see from the picture above, and they are wrapped with silver foil with a portrait of Mozart in blue.

Talking about music in Salzburg, if the most famous person is Mozart, then the most famous song is probably “Silent Night“, first performed at the former St. Nikola parish church in Oberndorf bei Salzburg by the schoolmaster Franz Xaver Gruber and the young priest Joseph Mohr on Christmas Eve 1818. The lyricist Joseph Mohr was born and raised in Salzburg and the original autograph transcribed in his own hand is now preserved in the Salzburg Museum. As you might have noticed, 2018 will be the 200-year anniversary of the song and various events will take place in the city throughout the year. For example, from 24th November to 18th December 2018, the musical “Silent Night Story” written by John Debney for this occasion will be performed at the Felsenreitschule; from 30th November to 16th December 2018, the traditional Salzburg Advent Singing will introduce its own special production focusing on the “Silent Night” theme; and from 28th September 2018 to 3rd February 2019, a special exhibition called “Silent. Night. 200. Creation, Message & Commerce” will be held in the Salzburg Museum. In keeping with the six verses of the song, the exhibition comprises six thematic spaces depicting the musical qualities of the song, its dissemination, the biographies of its creators as well as its political and commercial exploitation. If you wanna know more about the advent events related to the “Silent Night” in 2018, please click here.

Did you know that Salzburg has another nickname which is “Stage of the World“? As a world-renowned musical metropolis, it holds 4500 cultural events each year. For example, at the end of January or beginning of February, the high-quality Mozart Festival, featuring fantastic soloists, conductors and orchestras such as the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Concentus Musikus, Camerata Salzburg and the Mozarteum Orchestra, attracts numerous music lovers to the city; in the spring, there are the Easter and Whitsun Festivals founded by the world-famous Salzburg-born conductor Herbert von Karajan; in the autumn, there is the Festival Jazz and the City; and in the winter during the Christmas time, probably the most beautiful time of the year, the Salzburg Advent Singing at the Large Festival Hall (Grosses Festspielhaus), the Salzburg Advent in St. Andrew’s Church and the Winterfest will surely take you into a fairyland full of music, romance, warmth, peace and winter charm. Not on time for the festivals? Don’t worry. Throughout the year, you will find Salzburg Palace Concerts in the Mirabell Palace, Fortress Concerts in the state rooms of the Hohensalzburg Fortress, Mozart Dinner Concerts in St. Peter’s and a diversified program offered by Salzburg’s Marionette Theater. If you are interested, please click here to check the ongoing events upon your arrival and maybe book your tickets in advance.

Did you notice that I didn’t mention any festivals in the summer in Salzburg? It’s not because nothing is happening during this season but because the festival is so important that I wanna dedicate a paragraph to it separately. This festival is called “Salzburger Festspiele” (Salzburg Festival in English) and is held each summer (for five weeks starting in late July) with one highlight being the annual performance of the play Jedermann (Everyman) by Hugo von Hofmannsthal. Founded in 1920 after World War I by Max Reinhardt together with a group of intellectuals and artists such as the poet and dramatist Hugo von Hofmannsthal, the composer Richard Strauss, the scenic designer Alfred Roller and the conductor Franz Schalkwho, who aimed at turning the entire city into a stage, the Salzburg Festival is one of the world’s most distinguished music festivals with many prominent guests. The Festival Halls, where the festival is held, offer a guided tour of the Felsenreitschule and the Great Festival Hall (Großes Festspielhaus) and I’ll talk more about them in my second post about Salzburg.

In general, if you wanna experience Salzburg as a musical capital, I recommend you visiting the birthplace and residence of Mozart, joining a guided tour of the Festival Halls or simply attending one of the festivals or concerts during your visit. If you are particularly interested in the Christmas carol “Silent Night“, you should visit the Salzburg Museum housed in the Neue Residenz.

1.2.3 A unique cityscape integrating northern and southern European cultures

Established at the end of the 7th century, Salzburg was ruled by Catholic bishops and archbishops up until the early 19th century. A walk in the historical center will surely make you fall in love with the city but even better, why not going up the surrounding hills such as Mönchsberg, Festungsberg and Kapuzinerberg to have a stunning view of the harmonious blend of scenic landscapes and architecture? As you can see from the four pictures above, which were taken from the viewing platforms of the three hills I mentioned just now, all the baroque churches, squares, narrow streets and houses are under your eyes. The Hohensalzburg Fortress, a baroque masterpiece, can be seen from almost everywhere in the city. Dating back to the 11th century, it is one of the largest fortifications in Europe. In the festival district, you can still find evidence of the Medieval period and the Getreidegasse is one of the most charming shopping streets in the world. The St. Peter’s Monastery accommodates the city’s most lovely cemetery and the cathedral features a mighty dome and a magnificent façade which is made of Untersberg marble. In my third post about Salzburg, I’ll recommend you some viewpoints where you can truly and fully admire the beauty of this amazing city, both in the daytime and at night.

Besides appreciating its charming scenic appearance, the best way to gain a deeper understanding of Salzburg’s cultural and historical heritage is to visit its more than 20 museums and galleries. In additions to the ones I mentioned above such as the DomQuartier, the Hohensalzburg Fortress, St Peter’s Abbey, Mozart’s Birthplace and Residence, the Festival Halls and the Salzburg Museum, I recommend to you the Salzburg Open-air Museum, one of the largest museums in Austria and one of the biggest of its kind in the world, the Panorama Museum, home to an enormous panoramic painting of the historical Salzburg city and its surroundings created by J. M. Sattler, the Stiegl-brauwelt, Europe’s biggest interactive exhibition dedicated to the world of beer, Haus der Natur, one of the most visited natural history museums in Europe featuring an aquarium and a reptile zoo, the Salzburg Christmas Museum and the Museum of Modern Art. In my four posts, I’ll cover all the museums and give you a rather detailed introduction to the ones that impressed me a lot.

Considering I was in Salzburg during the Christmas in 2017, I’d like to talk a bit more about the Salzburg Advent. The Christmas market (Christkindlimarkt in German) on the Cathedral Square and Residence Square is absolutely a highlight and I learnt from the press information sheets that with its over 525-year history, it is one of the oldest and most beautiful advent markets in the world. In fact, besides the market on the two main squares, there are more in the Sterngarten, on the Mirabell Square, at the Hohensalzburg Fortress and at the St. Peter’s. Basically the entire historical center is turned into a winter fairyland with romantic, warm and magic Christmas atmosphere. From the end of November till Christmas, the booths offer visitors not only tasty culinary delicacies but also traditional handcrafted products from Salzburg. As I mentioned above, this year, 2018, the Christmas here will be even more special because of the 200-year anniversary of the song “Silent Night”. Just a reminder, there is a Christmas Museum on the Mozart Square and I visited it because it seemed to be the “right” thing to do in such a closely related festive season. It is small but cute and if you are from western countries, I’m sure it will bring back your memory of the Christmas in your childhood. If, like me, you are from some other parts of the world, where Christmas is not really much celebrated, the museum gives you a good opportunity to learn about the history and tradition of it.

2. Practical information

2.1 Salzburg Card

Concerning your visit in Salzburg, I’d like to give you some practical information such as the Salzburg Card, the public transport, etc. By the end of this chapter, I’ll tell you the general arrangement of content of my four posts about the city and depending on how much time you have to spend here and which aspect(s) of the city you are most interested in, you can choose to read the most relevant posts in detail.

First of all, if you want to visit most of the major attractions in Salzburg such as the DomQuartier, the Hohensalzburg Fortress, the Birthplace and Residence of Mozart and so on, I strongly recommend you buying the Salzburg Card. It has several advantages and using it to explore the city is absolutely a good deal. With this card, you can enjoy:

  • one-time free entry to all the attractions and museums in the city (including the lift to go to Mönchsberg and Hohensalzburg Fortress)
  • free travel on public transport (even to the Untersberg cable car station)
  • discounts on cultural events such as concerts
  • discounts on tours and excursions.

I was rather shocked that this one card gives free access to all the attractions in the city, but after using it, I can assure you that it’s true. Nevertheless, please note that as for entering the state rooms in the Hohensalzburg Fortress, you have to use the card before 11:00 to gain free access. The card is available at most hotels, tourism offices and ticket offices in and around Salzburg and if you wanna order it online in advance, please click here. At the back of the card, remember to write down your name and the date and time of your first use because it serves as your public transport ticket. When you get your card on site, you will get a booklet called “All of Salzburg. One card. All-inclusive”, which is very useful for your trip. In one side of it, you will find a list of the attractions together with some tips, their brief introductions, opening hours and addresses while on the other side you, will see various events, tours and excursions with discounted prices.

How much does the card cost? Well, depending on the season of your visit and how long you need the card to be valid for, the prices are different. This is because in winter some attractions such as the Hellbrunn Palace and the Salzach Cruise (from November to March) are closed and suspended.

From 1st November to 30th April and from 1st November to 31st December, each card costs:

  • 24 hours: 25 €
  • 48 hours: 33 €
  • 72 hours: 38 €
  • Please note that children between 5 and 16 years old can get the card for half price.

From 1st May to 31st October, each card costs:

  • 24 hours: 28 €
  • 48 hours: 37 €
  • 72 hours: 43 €
  • Please note that children between 5 and 16 years old can get the card for half price.

Which card should you buy? Well, depending on how many days you will stay, you should buy the corresponding card. For me, I got the 72-hour one and spent entire three days there, but still, I couldn’t visit all the attractions because there are really too many. I didn’t manage to visit the Open-air Museum, the zoo, the Stiegl Beer Museum, the Mozart Sound and Film Collection and so on and I suggest that after reading my posts, you can make a choice of your “preferences”. Don’t be greedy because you can’t see everything in Salzburg during only one trip anyway and I recommend you taking your time to get close to it, explore it and understand it.

2.2 Public transport

If you live quite close to the historical city center, I don’t think buses are that important. One thing I liked a lot about Salzburg is that its attractions are quite concentrated, which means that I didn’t need to travel a long distance to visit them. I remember that except for going to the mountain Untersberg and the Stiegl-brauwelt, I visited everything on foot. Nevertheless, during your visit, if you want to go to the Open-air Museum, Salzburg Zoo, the Hellbrunn Palace and the Trick Fountains (which I didn’t visit because I didn’t have enough time), you need to take the bus. Don’t worry, all the rides are free with the Salzburg Card.

2.3 General structure of my four posts about Salzburg

In my four posts about Salzburg, I will try to elaborate on the three criteria that the city meets which make it a World Heritage site protected by the UNESCO. In the first post, I’ll talk about the fortress, the DomQuartier (including the former residence of the prince-archbishops, the cathedral and St. Peter’s Abbey), evidence of the power and influence of the archbishops. In the second post, I’ll focus on the city’s role as a musical metropolis and introduce to you the birthplace and residence of W. A. Mozart and the Festival Halls where the famous Salzburg Festival is held every summer. In the third post, I’ll recommend you some great spots to admire the beauty and charm of the city and in the last one, I’ll enhance your understanding and knowledge of its historical and cultural heritage by introducing to you some more museums such as the Salzburg Museum and the Panorama Museum. Even though I didn’t have time to visit some of the attractions that I had planned to, I’ll give you a brief introduction based on the information provided by the tourism office so that you can have more choices. Now, let’s embark on our journey in this unique city and start exploring and discovering its rich history and culture.

3. Hohensalzburg Fortress

Can you find the common feature of all the six pictures above? Yes, that’s the Hohensalzburg Fortress. The last picture was taken on top of the Untersberg, the northernmost massif of the Berchtesgaden Alps and even from there I could see clearly the fortress standing on top of the Festungsberg. In fact, except for being in the fortress itself, you can basically see it from everywhere in Salzburg, which makes it the undisputed top one landmark of the city. What is there to see in the fortress then? This is what I’ll introduce to you in this chapter.

3.1 Practical information

Opening hours:

  • January – April: 9:30 – 17:00
  • May – September: 9:00 – 19:00
  • October – December: 9:30 – 17:00
  • Advent weekends & Easter: 9:30 – 18:00

Please note:

  • the fortress is open 365 days a year, even on holidays
  • on 24th December, it closes at 14:00.

If you don’t have the Salzburg Card as I introduced in the second chapter, please click here to check various ticket types and prices. In high season (particularly in July and August), there will be a large amount of visitors so it’s recommended to buy the Early Bird Ticket online. It is valid for entry before 10:00 and at a reduced price.

The fortress is one of the largest in Europe so it’s important to know its layout and what you can visit here. First of all, I suggest you obtain an orientation plan from the ticket office located at the lower station of the funicular train. On it you can see the map of the fortress with visitable attractions marked in orange. You can either go up by walking or by taking the old fortress funicular. I recommend the funicular because there will be quite some walking in the castle so why not saving some time and energy for that? What’s more, this funicular, built in 1892, is the oldest in Austria. Isn’t it a pity if you don’t experience it?

Once you arrive at the fortress, one highlight is of course its marvelous view over the entire city and the mountains around. It is free to walk outside but if you wanna visit the interior, you need to buy tickets. There are in general two types of tickets available, that is to say, the “Standard Ticket” and the “Basic Ticket“. With the “Standard Ticket”, you can enjoy (A) a tour with audio guide through the inner rooms, gallery, torture chamber, lookout tower and the “Salzburger Stier” organ; (B) a visit to the Fortress Museum, Rainer Regiment Museum and the Marionette Museum; and (C) a visit to the Regency Rooms and the Magical Theatre. With the “Basic Card”, section C is excluded. Please note that with the Salzburg Card, you get the “Basic Ticket” but if you enter before 11:00 you get free access to the Regency Rooms.

3.2 Visiting the fortress

3.2.1 A magnificent viewpoint

Hohensalzburg Fortress (German: Festung Hohensalzburg), sitting at the top of the Festungsberg, was erected at the behest of the archbishops of Salzburg with a length of 250 m and a width of 150 m. Situated at an altitude of 506 m and with 900-year history, it is one of the largest medieval castles in Europe and provides stunning views of the city and the surrounding mountain landscape. I recommend you going there at noon or maybe a bit later because otherwise half of the city will be in the light and the other half will be in the shadow. It might not be optimal for photography lovers.

3.2.2 (A) Tour with audio guide

By going through a series of rooms with an audio guide (available in 11 languages), you will have a much better understanding of the history and development of the fortress. In the first room, you will see models of the castle during various construction stages (as you can see in the first picture in the gallery) and portraits of the archbishops who made great contributions. For example, construction of the fortress began in 1077 under Archbishop Gebhard von Helfenstein and it was gradually expanded during the following centuries. The ring walls and towers were built in 1462 under Prince-Archbishop Burkhard II von Weißpriach and afterwards, the castle was further expanded by Prince-Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach during his term from 1495 to 1519. The current external bastions, begun in the 16th century and completed in the 17th, were added as a precaution because of fears of Turkish Invasion. After going through the Torture Chamber and the Lookout Tower (which also gives a wonderful view), you will see the “Salzburg Bull” (as you can see in the last picture in the gallery) housed in the Krautturm (powder tower). With more than 200 pipes, this huge mechanical organ was commissioned in 1502 by Prince-Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach and renewed by Rochus Egedacher in 1735. One of Austria’s most famous cabaret groups is named after it.

3.2.3 (B) Fortress Museum, Rainer Regiment Museum & Marionette Museum Fortress Museum

Housed in the historical rooms of the Hohensalzburg Fortress, the Fortress Museum presents to you the history of the fortress and the life here in old times. It is arranged according to 12 different themes and you can read information about each of them on the info boards on site. Room 1 gives you a general introduction to the fortress by showing you models and maps. As one of the largest preserved Medieval castle complexes in Europe, it features 50 buildings and covers an entire area of 33,000 square meters. As one of the most popular tourist attractions in Salzburg, the annual number of tourists reaches 850,000. Some other themes elaborated here in this museum include Medieval machines and building equipment, Artistic crafts for everyday use and festivities, Newly discovered Romanesque round arch arcade, The ambience of a living room in the late Middle Ages (featuring furniture, a tiled oven and furnishings of Salzburg origin as you can see in the gallery), The chapel of Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach (as you can see in the 4th picture above), Pole weapons and armor (as you can see in the 5th picture above), Instruments of torture, The highest point of the Festungsberg and so on. Rainer Regiment Museum

Please note that the Fortress Museum and the Rainer Regiment Museum are located together, which means that during your visit to the former one, you will visit the latter as a detour. I remember that after visiting the room featuring the theme Medieval machines and building equipment in the Fortress Museum, I entered the Rainer Regiment Museum, which is composed of ten large display halls, preserving the memory of Salzburg’s home regiment, the Imperial Austro-Hungarian Infantry Regiment No. 59 “Archduke Rainer“.

From its formation in 1682 to the end of World War I in 1918, the life and death of the soldiers of the regiment bearing the name “Erzherzog Rainer” have been closely connected with the history of Austria. After Salzburg became part of the Austrian Empire in 1816, the fortress served as a garrison for parts of this regiment. If you are a fan of military stuff, I think this exhibition will be of interest to you. It is generally divided into four parts based on four periods of time, that is to say, 1682 – 1789 (from the Era of Baroque to the Age of Enlightenment), 1789 – 1849 (French and Napoleonic Wars and Revolutionary Wars), 1848 – 1914, and 1914 – 1918 (War and the Arts). Various real objects such as orders, medals, decorations, etc. and specially arranged scenes or settings depicting the fate of an Austrian officer, the front line in the mountains, etc. will take you back in time and make you think about the cruelty of war and the value of peace. Living in such a comparatively harmonious period of time and peaceful part of the world, we need to from time to time remind ourselves of the pain and suffering that wars have brought us and only in this way will we realize how precious peace is and what a significant yet difficult task it is to keep it. Marionette Museum

The Marionette Museum is housed in the cellars of the Hohensalzburg Fortress and many historic puppets from the world-famous Salzburg Marionette Theatre are on display here. Do you remember as I mentioned in the Introduction chapter, this theatre together with the performance skills and the craftsmanship required to carve, paint, costume and move the puppets is inscribed in the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage? Please note that this museum is not located together with the other two although they seem to be marked together on the map. You need to exit the Fortress Museum, go down the stairs and then you will find it. Here you can see a scene from the “Sound of Music“, a world-famous opera, which has been very successfully presented by the Salzburg Marionette Theater for years; Papageno and Papagena in from the “Magic Flute”, Mozart’s last and most frequently preformed operas; Trick Fountains of Hellbrunn Palace, built under the rule of Prince-Archbishop Markus Sittikus between 1613 and 1615; Peasant Uprising 1525, which depicts a historical event happened in the summer of the year 1525 when the peasants and squires of Salzburg besieged Prince-Archbishop Matthaeus Lang von Wellenburg for several weeks in the Hohensalzburg Fortress; Shipping of Salt on the Salzach River in front of the pictorial representation of the former city and its fortress in around 1460 (as you can see in the second picture above); and Mozart’s Home – Return to Salzburg, depicting father Leopold Mozart with his children Nannerl and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart on their return from one of the many trips in which they went as far as London and Paris.

It is also here that you can test your skills as a marionettist. I honestly felt that only after you try it out will you understand how difficult it is to control a puppet. Before I have watched puppet performances on TV and it seemed to me that as long as you have enough fingers, you can put on a show. Nevertheless, after trying to make a puppet dance, I realized I have basically no performance skill. Maybe it’s because I was a bit nervous or I’m just bad at coordination, it was so hard to always keep proper distance and difference of height between the strings. Don’t believe it? Come and test it out by yourself.

3.2.4 (C) Regency Rooms and the Magical Theatre

Unfortunately, because of time restriction, I didn’t have the opportunity to visit the Regency Rooms. After reading about them and seeing the pictures online, I realized that I made a huge mistake. Particularly noteworthy in these rooms are the decorations and furnishings. For example, as I read from Wikipedia, in the Golden Hall, the 17 metre long beam, supporting the ceiling, is painted with the coat of arms of Prince-Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach together with those of the Holy Roman Empire, the most powerful German towns and the bishoprics that were connected to Salzburg. In the Golden Chamber, the most lavishly furnished room of the princely chambers, the two long walls are taken up by benches which are richly decorated with vines, grapes, foliage and animals. In the Bedchamber, the most intimate room of the princely chambers, the upper part of the panels is decorated with gilded buttons and rosettes and the ceiling, similar to the ones of the other rooms, is coffered and adorned with gold buttons symbolising the stars in the sky. In the Magical Theater, a multimedia show combined with animated figures and models will introduce to you the history of the fortress and the city in a modern and playful way. If you wanna watch a brief introduction video about it, please click here.

Besides the attractions which require entrance tickets, I recommend you spending some time just wandering around. There’s no one best point to view the city. During your walk, I believe you will discover your own “best viewpoint”. With the “Orientation Plan” in your hand, which I mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, and some bronze plaques identifying the buildings, you can easily locate the Hasengraben Bastion, the stables and salt storage, the grain storage building, the Arsenal, the Kuenburg Bastion, the Keutschach Monument, the Castle Keep, St George’s Chapel and so on. If you choose to go downhill by the funicular train, don’t forget to take a look at the Alm passage exhibition before exiting the station. Now please follow me to visit a unique cultural highlight in the heart of the city, the DomQuartier, which includes the cathedral and the Residenz, once the center of the prince-archbishops’ power.

4. DomQuartier

4.1 Salzburg Cathedral

The 17th-century Baroque cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Salzburg is dedicated to St. Rupert and St. Vergilius. It is said that the very first cathedral was built in 767 under bishop Virgilius, possibly on the foundation of Bishop Ruper,t and was subsequently consecrated to Sts. Peter and Rupert in 774. After a few modifications and expansions through the centuries, in 1598, the basilica was severely damaged. After several failed attempts at restoration and reconstruction, Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich Raitenau finally ordered it demolished. As I mentioned in the Introduction chapter, this prince-archbishop was a great admirer of the Italian way of life and made a long-lasting impression upon the appearance of the town by transforming the medieval Salzburg into a peal of the early Baroque period. Two of his greatest contributions in architecture to the town are the cathedral and the Salzburg Residenz.

Wolf Dietrich hired the Italian architect Vincenzo Scamozzi, Andrea Palladio’s spiritual heir who designed the Procuratie Nuove on the Piazza San Marco in Venice and completed Palladio’s Teatro Olimpico and Villa Capra “La Rotonda”, to prepare a plan for a comprehensive new Baroque building. However, construction did not begin until Wolf Dietrich’s successor, Mark Sittich von Hohenems (prince-archbishop from 1612 – 1619), laid the cornerstone of the new cathedral in 1614. Santino Solari designed the current cathedral, which is quite different from the original plan drafted by Scamozzi. In World War II, a bomb crushed the central dome above the cross and the restoration work was finished in 1959. If you are interested, I suggest you visit the Cathedral Excavation Museum, which is located beneath the Residenzplatz and the Cathedral Square. In it you can not only see the foundations of the cathedral and walls of the west towers of a Romanesque cathedral expanded under the rule of Archbishop Konrad III in the late 12th century and demolished in a fire in 1598, but also various walls, mosaics, the ductwork and the central heating system of a Roman villa.

As you can see from the picture above, which was taken from the Hohensalzburg Fortress, the cathedral is united with the Salzburg Residenz and St. Peter’s Abbey to form a unique enclosed square, the Domplatz. When we visit the DomQuartier museums, you will have a better understanding of the structure of the ensemble. Normally the Domplatz is dominated by the Immaculate Mary Column, commissioned by Prince-Archbishop Sigismund von Schrattenbach and modeled after similar columns in Vienna and Munich. Nevertheless, during the Christmas season, the square is full of booths and though I loved the festive atmosphere, I didn’t have the opportunity to take a close look at the column because it was covered in glass. As I read from Wikipedia, “constructed of marble and cast iron, the Immaculate Mary depicts Virgin Mary enthroned on a mountain of clouds made of Untersberg marble and a globe. The central Marian figure is surrounded on four sides by allegoric figures representing angels, the devil, wisdom, and the Church. According to a plaque on the side of the cathedral, the figure group shows reactions to the mystery of the Immaculate Conception. The angels are delighted, human wisdom vanishes, the envious devil growls, and the triumphant Church rejoices.” It is said that when you the look at the column from the center of the arcades at the back of Domplatz, you will find Virgin Mary surrounded by the angels on the cathedral façade, wearing the crown they are bringing.

As you can see from the pictures above, the body of the church is made of yellow-grey stone while the façade and two towers are made of of bright Untersberg marble. The façade is divided into three sections horizontally with the lower one featuring three high arches that provide access to three bronze doors. The arches are flanked by four large sculptures representing St. Rupert holding a salt barrel, St. Virgilius holding a church, St. Peter holding keys and St. Paul holding a sword. The bases bear the coats of arms of the Prince-Archbishop Guidobald von Thun und Hohenstein and Prince-Archbishop Johann Ernst von Thun und Hohenstein.

In the middle section are statues of the four evangelists, St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke, and St. John. The pediments over the three windows behind them are decorated with a lion and ibexes, the animals depicted in the coats of arms above. On the central pediment, you will see the golden crown, flanked and brought by two angels, which I mentioned while talking about the Immaculate Mary Column.

The top section bears the coats of arms of the “builders” of the cathedral, that is to say, Mark Sittich von Hohenems and Paris von Lodron. The sculptural group on the pediment represents the Transfiguration of Jesus on Mount Tabor, showing Christ as Salvator Mundi, with Moses holding the tablets on the left and the prophet Elijah to the right.

Please also note that the Salvator bell of the cathedral is the second largest bell in Austria, after the Pummerin bell in St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna.

As for the interior of the cathedral, besides the rich stucco, sculpture and fresco decorations, you should pay particular attention to the baptismal fontin which both Mozart and Joseph Mohr, the lyricist for “Silent Night”, were baptized and the main organ on the western gallery as well as the south-eastern pipe organ, the “Hoforgel” (Halo Organ), which was often played by Mozart.

4.2 DomQuartier Museums

4.2.1 Practical information

Opening hours:

  • Daily except Tuesdays: 10:00 – 17:00  (last entrance 16:00).
  • On Wednesdays in July and August, it is open from 10:00 – 20:00.
  • From 3rd December 2017 to 6th January 2018, it is open every day except on 24th December.

If you don’t have the Salzburg Card as I introduced in the second chapter, please click here to check various ticket types and prices. In the price list, “Partial Access” means that if part of the tour is closed during your visit, you can buy the ticket at a lower price than the “Full Access” one. Quite considerate, isn’t it?

4.2.2 The museums

More than 400 years ago, the prince-archbishops of Salzburg began to transfer the city into a Baroque jewel, based on Italian models. The cathedral and the Residenz became the symbol of their power and nowadays, they form the historical center of Salzburg. The “Tour of the Baroque” will guide you through the State Rooms of the residence, the Residenz Gallery, the Panorama Terrace, the Northern Oratory, the Cathedral Organ Gallery, the Cathedral Museum, the Cabinet of Curiosities, the Long Gallery and the Museum of St. Peter’s Abbey and with the exhibitions covering 15,000 square meters of space and featuring around 2000 objects, 1000 years of art, history and music will come to life in front of you.

I’ll give you a brief tour of the museums and mention some highlights that you shouldn’t miss. However, please note that it is strictly forbidden to take pictures in this complex (except the Panorama Terrace and Cathedral Organ Gallery) so I don’t have many to show you. Thanks to the tourism office of Salzburg who shared some pictures with me and I’ll attach them in the corresponding sections with the copyright under them. Last but not least, you should get an audio guide (which is included in your ticket and is available in German, English, Italian, French, Spanish, Japanese, Russian, Chinese and Korean) and an info brochure from the ticket office because with the former you will help you gain an in-depth understating of the entire complex and the latter, together with the signposts on site, will orient you through different exhibition spaces in an organized way. Now, let’s start with the State Rooms. State Rooms of the Residenz

AT: Anibal Trejo; ©
AT: Anibal Trejo; ©
AT: Anibal Trejo; ©

The Residenz, featuring the “Carabinieri Hall”, “Knight’s Hall”, “Conference Hall”, “Ante Camera”, “Audience Hall”, “Throne Room”, “Imperial Hall”, “White Hall”, etc., is not only the apartment of the prince-archbishops but also a place of public gatherings and state affairs. By going through them, you will have a better understanding of how the powerful prince-archbishops ruled the city and lived for centuries.

Construction of the first palace began under Archbishop Conrad I, when he relocated his residence from St Peter’s Abbey to its present site close to Salzburg Cathedral. In the 16th century, several changes were added to the structure. It took on its present Renaissance appearance under the rule of Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich Raitenau between 1587 and 1612, possibly according to a design by Vincenzo Scamozzi. In the early 17th century, work began on the south wing, which included the addition of the large staircase and the “Carabinieri Hall”, a section that connected the palace to the Franciscan Church and a large courtyard. The successors of Wolf Dietrich continued to expand and refine the palace until the end of the 18th century.

Also noteworthy is that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart regularly performed for the head of the State in the marvelous rooms of the Residenz. For example, the Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major, K. 219, often referred to by the nickname “The Turkish”, was performed for the first time on 20th December 1775 in the Conference Hall. If you wanna read something information about each of the rooms please click here. Residenz Gallery

© DomQuartier/R. Iglar

The Residenz Gallery hosts the state’s official painting collection and was opened on 28th August 1923. Featuring the most important representatives of European painting from the 16th to the 19th century, it exhibits Rembrandt’s “Old Woman Praying”, an early work painted on gilded copper plate. On the screen next to it, you can see the smallest details of the master’s work. What’s more, various videos and QR codes which you can scan using your smartphone to know some background information about the paintings as well the painters will surely make your visit richer and more meaningful. Panorama Terrace

This platform connects the secular and religious power of the prince-archbishops because it connects the cathedral and their residence and “offices”. I have to say it provides a spectacular view of the city center, in particular the Residenzplatz, Mozartplatz and the Domplatz. During Christmas, it was such a good opportunity to look at one of the oldest and most beautiful advent markets in the world from above. From here, besides the main squares, you can also see the Goldgasse, the Kapuzinerberg hill and its monastery, the Church of St. Michael, the Residenzbrunnen (a fountain made of Untersberg limestone, featured in the movie “The Sound of Music” and considered the largest Baroque fountain in Central Europe”), the Neue Residenz and its clock tower, St. Peter’s church, Mönchsberg hill, the Long Gallery, the Immaculate Mary Column, the Museum of St, Peter’s Archabbey, Salzburg University, the Franciscan Church and so on. Northern Oratory

This oratory hosts the Rossacher Collection featuring designs, sketches and models by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Rubens and Tiepolo. Organ Gallery

Now we are in the cathedral again, but at a unique position. This time we get to see the cathedral from a different perspective and more importantly, we are so close to the magnificent main organ. As I read from the info board on site, from 1988 to 1995, the cathedral received new instruments and now possesses in total seven organs, that is to say, the main organ on the western gallery, instruments at the four piers of the dome, a basso continuo organ in the right transept and a portal organ. Each of the organs has a unique position and sound so all together, they can create various styles of organ music. Cathedral Museum

AT: Anibal Trejo; ©

Since 1974, the Cathedral Museum has been dedicated to the art and culture of the Salzburg archdiocese. What you should not miss here are the around 1300-year-old Cross of St. Rupert, the biggest preserved metal cross of the first Christian millennium; the Eucharist Dove of Limoges; the crown-like Keutzl Mitre from the 15th century; and a precious monstrance, the main work of the court goldsmith Ferdinand Sigmund Amende commissioned by Prince-Archbishop Johann Ernst von Thun und Hohenstein. Cabinet of Curiosities

The Cabinet of Curiosities is also called the Chamber of Art and Wonder and as I read from the press info kit provided by the tourism office, it dates back to the second half of the 17th century. The cabinet contains an assortment of treasures, including globes, scientific devices, rosaries, ivories, horns, an ocean-life cupboard and an amber cupboard. Long Gallery

© Kolarik Andreas

This gallery, once housing around 70 Baroque artworks, now exhibits 17 large-scale religious paintings including works by Paul Troger. Museum of St. Peter’s Abbey

Since its founding, or renewal by Bishop Rupert in 696, St. Peter’s Abbey is considered the oldest monastery in the German-speaking region still in existence today. St. Peter’s Museum presents a selection of beautiful objects such as the so-called “St. Rupert’s Pastoral Staff” (an abbot’s crozier from the 11th or 12th century), a chalice from the 12th century and a particularly well-preserved chasuble from the 15th century. The second section of the museum is dedicated to “St. Peter’s and Music” while the third one tells the history of St. Peter’s all the way to the monastic life today. In some video clips, the Archabbot and members of the convent talk about their life in the abbey, for example, their daily schedule, their work and their communication with God. If you wanna know more about this museum, please click here.

Having said so much about the DomQuartier Museums, I believe now you realize how big they are. As long as you follow the designed itinerary and pay attention to the signposts, I believe you will visit everything. This complex provides a great opportunity to see the influence of the prince-archbishops and after a walk through the museums with the help of an audio guide, I’m sure you will know much more about the historical and cultural heritage of not only Salzburg but also the Holy Roman Empire. Having talked about the Museum of St. Peter’s Abbey, now let’s visit the abbey including the church, the cemetery and the catacombs.

4.3 St. Peter’s Abbey

St Peter’s Abbey is a Benedictine monastery and is considered one of the oldest monasteries in the German-speaking area. In fact, as I learnt from the official website of DomQuartier, it is the oldest monastery in the German-speaking region with a continuous history since its foundation in 696. In the Middle Ages, it was known for its exceptional writing school and in 1927, it was raised to the status of an Archabbey. Please note, this monastery houses the oldest library in Austria but is only accessible with special permission.

4.3.1 Abbey church

Construction of the current Romanesque church started in around 1130 and it was dedicated to St. Peter in 1147. Abbot Beda Seeauer had the interior refurbished in Rococo style from 1760 to 1782 with the help of domestic and foreign artists such as Franz Xaver König, Lorenz Härmbler, Johann Högler, Benedikt Zöpf and so on. The high altar is a work by Martin Johann Schmidt and the St. Mary’s Chapel contains the grave of Abbot Johann von Staupitz, a friend of Martin Luther.

It is said that Mozart’s Great Mass in C minor, K. 427 was scheduled to premiere in the church with his wife Constanze singing first soprano. However, the work is never completed.

4.3.2 Abbey cemetery

The Petersfriedhof (St. Peter’s Cemetery) probably dates from around 700, when Bishop Rupert laid the foundation of the monastery. The burial ground was first mentioned under the rule of Archbishop Conrad I in 1139 and the oldest preserved grave dates back to 1288. Though a cemetery, it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Salzburg. Why? Beside paying tribute to the great figures in history such as Maria Anna Walburga Ignatia Mozart, commonly known as “Nannerl“, a musician and the older sister of Wolfgang Amadeus MozartJohann Michael Haydn, a composer of the Classical period and the younger brother of Franz Joseph Haydn; Santino Solari, architect of Schloss Hellbrunn with its trick fountains and of Salzburg Cathedral; Richard Mayr, an Austrian operatic bass-baritone who was particularly admired for his performances in works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss; Clemens Holzmeister, a prominent Austrian architect and stage designer of the early twentieth century and so on, we can also see one of the shooting locations of the movie “The Sound of Music”. Do the tombs located in the arcades built at the foot of the Festungsberg hill ring a bell to you? By the end of the movie, the von Trapp family including Captain Georg, Maria and the seven children are hiding behind the tombstones from the search the Nazi army.

Normally I don’t like visiting burial places because they seem rather negative and sorrowful. Nevertheless, here in St. Peter’s Cemetery, as you can see from the the pictures above, even on a cold winter day, the grass was so green and the flowers were so colorful. Not all the visitors were tourists. Sometimes I could see people placing fresh flowers on and sweeping the dust off the graves probably of their parents, grandparents, or maybe in the case of the old woman, her passed husband. I guess for them, this cemetery is the only place where they can “see” and “talk with” their beloved ones again. For having a good view of this lovely cemetery, I suggest you visit the catacombs and see it through the small windows on your way up.

4.3.3 St. Peter’s catacombs

Opening hours:

  • May – September: 10:00 – 18:00
  • October – April: 10:00 – 17:00

Ticket price:

  • Full price: 2 euros
  • Reduced price: 1.5 euros
  • With Salzburg Card: free

Please note that the entrance to the catacombs is located on your right-hand-side when you first enter the cemetery and from the ticket office, you can get an info brochure in your preferred language.

The many caves inside the Mönchsberg hill may be traces of early Christianity here. Before going up, you should take a look at the two graves in the Kummunegruft vault (communal vault), one of which is of Maria Anna Walburga Ignatia Mozart, commonly known as “Nannerl“, a musician and the older sister of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the other one is of Johann Michael Haydn, a composer of the Classical period and the younger brother of Franz Joseph Haydn. After climbing 48 steps (be careful with the steps because they are rather uneven), you will arrive at the first cave, the Gertraudenkapelle, which was inaugurated in 1178. The cave was originally natural but was enlarged by human later. It won’t be difficult to notice the six shallow semi-circular arched niches which are reminiscent of “Arcosol tombs (vaulted burial niches)”. The pillar in the middle is quite eye-catching as well but it was actually added at a later date just to give the space a more antiquarian feeling. The earthenware altar dates back to 1862 and is modeled on early-Christian altars in the Roman catacombs. The painting in the middle depicts the saints to whom this chapel is dedicated, that is to say, Thomas à Becket, Abbess Gertrude of Nivelles and Patrick of Ireland, a missionary of the 5th century. With a few more steps up, you will arrive at a small viewing platform. From here, you can enjoy a wonderful panoramic view including St. Peter’s Church, the tower and roof of the Franciscan Church, the church of the University of Salzburg, the Capuchin Monastery (Kapuzinerkloster), the Kapuzinerberg hill and of course, St. Peter’s cemetery and the late-Gothic Margarethenkapelle. After climbing another 36 steps, you will reach the Maximus Chapel, also called Maximus cave. In the arched grave, you can see a panel from 1530, which is related to the martyrdom of St. Maximus in Luvavum. The two earthenware altars, like the one in the Gertraudenkapelle, are designed by Georg Pezolt in around 1860 to convey an impression of Rome’s catacombs.

Having introduced to you two of the major attractions in Salzburg, I believe now you have a better idea of the city’s ecclesiastical history, in particular its role as a state of the Holy Roman Empire. By visiting the fortress, the Residenz, the cathedral, St. Peter’s Abbey and their relevant museums, we see the architectural, artistic and cultural legacy of the archbishops and prince-archbishops.

In fact, one thing has been troubling me since I started writing this post. As mentioned in the press kit given by the tourism office of Salzburg, Salzburg is referred to as a Papal State and State of the Church. Nevertheless, in an article about the “Papal States” on Wikipedia, it is said that “the Papal States, officially the State of the Church were a series of territories in the Italian Peninsula under the direct sovereign rule of the Pope, from the 8th century until 1870″. What’s more, in another article about “Archbishopric of Salzburg” on Wikipedia, it is said that “the Prince-Archbishopric of Salzburg was an ecclesiastical principality and state of the Holy Roman Empire“. Though the precise nature of the relationship between the Papal States and the Empire and between the Popes and Emperors had been not clear, after the Treaty of Venice in 1177, the Papal States gained independence from the Holy Roman Empire. How can Salzburg, as said in the press information, be a Papal State for 1000 years then? According to my research, Salzburg belonged to a larger Catholic diocese founded in 739 by St. Boniface in the German stem duchy of Bavaria, one of the stem duchies of the East Frankish realm which evolved to be the Kingdom of Germany and one of the states of the Holy Roman Empire. In 798, Salzburg was raised to an ArchbishopricFrom the late 13th century onwards, the archbishops gradually reached the status of Imperial immediacy and gained independence from the Bavarian dukes and Salzburg became and remained the seat of the Prince-Archbishopric of the Holy Roman Empire until 1803, when the it was secularised by Emperor Napoleon. In this case, I guess we can say that Salzburg was a state of the Holy Roman Empire for 1000 years from 798 to 1803 but not a Papal State or State of the Church for 1000 years.

I’m not 100% sure about my statement and if you have a different opinion please don’t hesitate to share it with me. I don’t know whether it’s worth it or not to focus on these details because on one hand, I want to know history clearly and truly as it is but on the other hand, sometimes it is just vague. Anyway, what we need to know clearly and certainly is that Salzburg is an outstanding example of an ecclesiastical city-state, peculiar to the Holy Roman Empire and the legacy of the prince-archbishops reflected on the city’s architecture, history, art, music and culture should never be forgotten. In my next post, I’ll focus on the city as a musical metropolis and I’ll introduce to you the birthplace and residence of W. A. Mozart as well as the Festival Halls, where one of the world’s most distinguished music festivals, Salzburg Festival, is held.


Salzburg – Hohensalzburg Fortress & DomQuartier (including St. Peter’s Abbey) was last modified: April 17th, 2018 by Dong

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