Old Town of Salzburg (World Heritage)
Salzburg owes its characteristic cityscape with world-famous baroque buildings, spacious squares, narrow alleys, churches and monasteries as well as impressive castles and palaces to the archbishops, who led the city’s fortunes until 1803. The Hohensalzburg Fortress towers over the old town of the “City of Mozart”.
Old town of Salzburg: facts
|Old town of Salzburg
|Old town with the cathedral, commissioned by Prince Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau, with the monastery church of St. Peter, the Romanesque-Gothic Franciscan church, the Michael, the Sebastian and the Capuchin church, with the Trinity Church, famous for its dome fresco, the the coronation of Mary and St. Trinity, and with the Hohensalzburg Fortress, the largest completely preserved castle in Central Europe
|an extraordinarily impressive cityscape from the Middle Ages to the 19th century.
Old town of Salzburg: history
|Construction of the Hohensalzburg Fortress
|under Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach further expansion of the Hohensalzburg
|New construction of the Prince Archbishop’s Residence
|Consecration of the cathedral
|Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach
|Activity Fischer von Erlachs for Archbishop Johann Ernst Graf Thun
|Construction of the Holy Trinity Church
|Construction of the Ursuline Church
|Design of the high altar of the Franciscan Church
|Birth of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
|Birth of the writer Georg Trakl
|Establishment of the cable car to Hohensalzburg
|Conversion of the Hofmarstall to the small festival hall
|Re-consecration of the rebuilt cathedral, which was badly damaged by an aerial bomb in 1944
|Re-establishment of the university, which was dissolved in 1810
More than the city of Mozart
Would Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart have become an administrative officer in Graz or Innsbruck and could »Jedermann« only start to become a global success in Salzburg? Would the city have remained so vital for a millennium even without its lively surrounding area? And how does the melancholy poet Georg Trakl fit into this canon, of whom there are only a few poems like “The beautiful city”? The poet died of a heroin overdose in Krakow in the first year of the First World War. For him that was the only way he suited him to evade the great slaughter.
Even as a boy, he spent many hours month after month in St. Peters Cemetery, where he felt at home with his deeply rooted longing for death. Two men rest there who have made Salzburg so unique with their buildings: The Italian Santino Solari, as head of the archbishop’s construction, also responsible for the new construction of the cathedral, and Clemens Holzmeister, who designed the Great Festival Hall. Michael Haydn, brother of Joseph Haydn, concertmaster and cathedral organist, and Nannerl (Maria Anna), sister of Wolfgang Amadeus, also found their eternal peace with Saint Peter. Georg Trakl is not here. A friend had him transferred from Krakow to Mühlau, near Innsbruck.
What actually makes Salzburg so Salzburg-like? Professor Leopold Kohr (1909-1994) dealt with this question for a long time and developed the theory of the advantages of smallness: A population of a few hundred thousand people, two-thirds in the surrounding area and one in the city center, forms – according to Kohr – an ideal symbiosis. “Because only in a small and therefore easily manageable state can the administrative, transport and communication costs be kept so low that the main part of the national product is not used to solve social problems, but to beautify life in all areas and for all classes can be.”
Maybe it’s just the mixture of traditional bourgeoisie and a fine sense of art, combined with a harmonious triad of history, architecture and music, garnished with Austrian delicacies in dreamy old town streets.
The Archdiocese of Salzburg, which emerged in the 8th century, initially gained its strength and power from the wealth of the Salzburg region: salt and gold. Towards the end of the 11th century, Hohensalzburg was built, a fortress whose gloomy, defensive appearance was emphasized in later renovations. Below the fortress, at the confluence of the Saalach and Salzach rivers, under self-confident Prince Archbishops such as Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau and Paris Graf von Lodron, a city grew up in the 16th and 17th centuries, which, with its splendid Baroque buildings, was soon called “German Rome” by admirers. The planning was in the hands of the builder Vincenzo Scamozzi, who was given the opportunity in Salzburg to realize at least part of his ideas of the ideal city, a city that Georg Trakl put into lyrical words:
“From the brown-lit churches, the sight of death, pure images, great prince beautiful signs. Crowns shimmer in the churches.”
According to a2zgov, Salzburg owes its characteristic cityscape with the world-famous baroque buildings, spacious squares, quiet streets, quiet churches and monasteries as well as feudal castles and palaces to the archbishops, who managed the city until 1803. A special example is the city’s new cathedral, a huge building that can accommodate 10,000 people. The impression that is offered to the visitor under the 71 meter high central dome is overwhelming. The stucco decorations in the side chapels and the bronze baptismal font are also masterpieces. Nowhere else are the power and wealth of the Salzburg archbishops more evident than in the state rooms of their residences, whereby the representative new residence next to the cathedral is probably the most striking building in the old town. With its many architectural styles, it is a real treasure trove. In the romantic little streets, such as the Getreide-, the Juden-, the Gold- and the Linzergasse, one can find buildings from the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Baroque and classicist town houses in a very small space. The main artery of the old town is Getreidegasse with its centuries-old, finely spruced house facades and gilded guild signs. The main destination for many visitors is of course house number 9: Mozart’s birthplace, now a museum and one of the most photographed buildings in the city. The main artery of the old town is Getreidegasse with its centuries-old, finely spruced house facades and gilded guild signs. The main destination for many visitors is of course house number 9: Mozart’s birthplace, now a museum and one of the most photographed buildings in the city. The main artery of the old town is Getreidegasse with its centuries-old, finely spruced house facades and gilded guild signs. The main destination for many visitors is of course house number 9: Mozart’s birthplace, now a museum and one of the most photographed buildings in the city.
Mozart’s legacy can be felt everywhere in Salzburg. The first Mozart Festival took place in Salzburg in 1877, and the Salzburg Festival Hall community was founded four decades later, the initiators of which were the writer Hugo von Hofmannsthal, the theater director Max Reinhardt and the composer Richard Strauss. Every summer since 1920, »Jedermann«, Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s mystery play about the dying of the rich man, has been echoing on Domplatz; it is an indispensable part of the Salzburg Festival. Important conductors and singers also came to Salzburg through opera performances and concerts. The history of the festival is closely linked to Herbert von Karajan (1908-1989), who was its artistic director for almost three decades.