This cute little Austrian town, located between the Salzach River and the majestic Alps, has a charming UNESCO World Heritage Old Town. Lots of beautiful Baroque-style buildings will delight any photography lover. The best way to keep this wonder in our memory is by taking a snapshot from any of its viewpoints.
One of the most popular of them is that of the Hohensalzburg fortress, which can be climbed using a funicular. There are also other highly recommended ones such as Moenchsberg, from which you can enjoy splendid views of the city. In this one there are certain advantages, like the possibility to include in the photograph the most emblematic building in Salzburg, the fortress itself. Also, this viewpoint is cheaper to access.
To get there we can take a fast lift, the MoenchsbergAufzug, which will thankfully get us to the top of the Möenchsberg in a blink of an eye. The Salzburg Museum of Modern Art is also located there. From its panoramic terrace, we can enjoy wonderful views of the old town of the " city of salt," which is the meaning of the name Salzburg. The salt was extracted from the nearby Salzkammergut salt flats. Some centuries ago, salt was a precious resource that greatly contributed to the regional economic wealth. In ancient times, salt was a very valuable product thanks to its power to preserve food. This is why its extraction and commercial transport through the river Salzbach, collected a large amount of taxes and fees that importantly contributed to the rise and construction of such a beautiful and elegant city.
The access point for the Mönchsbergen lift is at Gstätte
Price: Adults €3.90, Children (6-14 years) € 2.00
PRETZEL AND THE POPULAR SALZBURGER MOZARTKUGEL.
How about strolling around Alter Markt, the old market square? This is a perfect spot for a snack. There we can find a wide variety of local products, such as the popular sweet or savory filled pretzels, which are sold in many of its stalls.
The Pretzel or Bretzel is a particular bun, with a golden and crispy crust sprinkled with salt grains. Although its origin is mainly associated with nearby Germany, especially with the Bavarian area, it is also very typical in many other places of Central Europe. This is one of the most traditional snacks, usually garnished with a good beer. It seems that its name comes from the Latin word bracellus (small arm) which, obviously, refers to its characteristic crossed loop shape. In the Alter Markt a great variety of them is sold, as well as many types of cold meat and typical sausages of the region. We recommend tasting as many as you can.
For the sweet tooth, there is something genuinely Salzburg that you can find everywhere in the city: very, very, very, very well-known chocolate called SALZBURGER MOZARTKUGEL made with marzipan, pistachios, and chocolate. The invention belongs to the pastry chef Paul Fürst in 1890, who dedicated his sweet creation to the most famous musician of the city, Mr. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The creator never patented its recipe, so several companies produce this typical sweet. The original Paul Fürst confectionery is placed at the bottom of Alter Platz, at Brodgasse 13.
Local flavors are an important part of your trip, do not miss them... and sugar sweetens the sourest drink.
Undoubtedly, the most famous street in the historic center of Salzburg is the Getreidegasseor Grain Street, a paradise for shopping lovers. Along this street, there are all kinds of shops, from the ubiquitous international clothing chains to many different traditional stores.
Part of the charm of this street lies in a large number of charming passages and small galleries that run through it, as well as in the beautiful and decorative wrought-iron signs hanging from the facades of its many shops. This type of elegant and beautiful sign served a very precise function in the past. Through their artistically represented drawings, they made references to the commercial activities of the establishments or to the office of the owner of the house. At that time few privileged people could afford to go to school and learn to read, so these wrought iron “artworks" allowed illiterate people to identify businesses easily. Today, although their function is no longer the same, they continue to represent a tradition that must be respected by all establishments, including large fast-food chains.
In this area, there is a great variety of shops, from the most modern to the oldest or traditional; from the typical affordable souvenirs to exclusive items; all kinds of things related to music and we can also find a good number of manufacturers of traditional costumes. It has become fashionable among many young and talented local designers to redesign these typical clothes with a modern touch which results in a particular fashionable-traditional style.
The role of the Dirndl(traditional dress of Austrian and Bavarian women) and the Lederhose(typical men´s leather pants) is very important in the local culture. They are considered perfect for all kinds of events and occasions. The Austrians do not dress in typical costume just for traditional parties or weddings, they also wear it in their daily lives. That is considered a reflection of distinction, elegance, and good social status.
If you crave one of these garments, prepare to unleash your wallet ... most of them cost several hundred euros as in many cases, the elaboration continues to be handmade.
MIRABELL PALACE AND GARDENS
Located on the other bank of the Salzach river is the Mirabell Palace, a very romantic historical site. This baroque palace, renowned for its gardens, was built in 1606 by the most powerful man in the city, the Archbishop Prince Wolf Dietrich Raitenau, as a gift and proof of his love for a woman, Salomé Alt. It seems that his passion was not a simple whim since Salomé gave him more than ten children.
We must remark that the city of Salzburg has an important ecclesiastical past. In fact, it was an independent state, an archiepiscopal principality until its annexation to Austria after the Napoleonic wars.
The privileges of these prince archbishops were such that they lived more like monarchs than men of faith. Some of them were great art-lovers and consequently acted as supporters of many artists. In this way, they contributed to the creation of the enormous cultural heritage of this city, as well as to the architectural beauty that Salzburg boasts today.
The Mirabell Palace suffered severe damage due to a fire in the XVII century and was rebuilt again. It presently serves as headquarters of some local administrative offices.But something really beautiful, that of course, Europamundo recommends you, is its French-style garden. It can be accessed for free, except in case of some exceptional events such as a concerts or theatrical performances.
Once in the gardens, we recommend walking to the famous Pegasus Fountain. The photo of the gardens next to this monumental fountain and with the fortress in the background will give the perfect memory of this side of the city.
Schloss Mirabell, MirabellgartenMirabellplatz
THE FALLEN ANGEL OF DOMPLATZ
TheDomplatz(cathedral square) is an essential point to know in Salzburg. The baroque façade of the cathedral, dedicated to the founder of the city, San Ruperto, will first catch our attention. The ecclesiastical palaces are surrounding the beautiful square, which often is used as the scenery to celebrate the concerts of the city. The cathedral keeps inside the font where Mozart was baptized. On multiple occasions, it becomes the setting for the premiere of some of his works. But this temple of serene beauty was, unfortunately, badly damaged in the Allied bombings in 1944 during World War II. Its magnificent dome had to be rebuilt.
However, there is something that the visitor does not usually notice when strolling through the Domplatz. On one side of the huge and majestic Virgin column, at the base is a representation of Lucifer, the fallen Angel. Certainly, this is an underrepresented figure throughout the history of art. The best known is undoubtedly the one in the Retiro Park in Madrid, an art-piece by Ricardo Bellver, but this is not the only one that exists! In fact, there are representations of this character in Liège cathedral and in the monumental fountain in the city of Turin, for example.
This sculpture of Lucifer is part of a set of four lead sculptures that adorn each of the four corners of the base of the aforementioned column. The sculptures represent the Angel, the Wisdom, the Devil, and the Church. At the side, an inscription in Latin explains the meaning of each of them.
DO YOU LIKE CHESS?
Austrians are so passionate about chess that you can find chess boards in many parks and squares. In fact, in the very heart of Salzburg downtown, on the pretty Kapitelplatz, there is one of these giant boards.
Do you dare to play a round?
This popular strategy game has an uncertain origin. The most popular theory points its beginning in India, back in the VI century. It is said that the wise philosopher Sissa invented it with the purpose to entertain his lord, King Belkib. The game was so successful that it soon spread to other regions like China and Persia. In the latter, it was adopted by the Arabs who introduced it onto Europe when they settled in the Iberian Peninsula.
Why is this game so popular in Austria? Perhaps this is because the first professional chess world champion was a Czech-origin Austrian Jew named Wilhelm Steinitz, back in 1889.
This great master learned from his father, who was also an excellent player. Soon he stood out and started to earn some money by betting on his games in the Vienna cafes. Such was his talent and passion for chess that he decided to quit everything and dedicate himself professionally to chess becoming a great champion.
The giant chessboard is placed at the foot of the most modern and most photographed sculpture in the city, which is in the beautiful Kapitelplatzsquare, near the cathedral. This sculpture is an enormous golden ball on which a serious faced man, sculpted in polychrome wood, stands with a blank stare. It is a work of the German sculptor Stephan Balkenhol.
Frequently, we can see neighbors and locals playing with such concentration that it makes them oblivious to the curious stares of passersby.
THE HIDDEN MISTERY MOZART´S HOUSE
Of course, one of the most famous and popular places among Salzburg visitors is undoubtedly house number 9 of Getreidegasse street. That´s Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart´s birth-house who was born on January, the 7th,1756. In this house, the genius used to live with his family until 17 years of age.
The " Mozarteum"foundation turned this house into a museum in 1880. There we can see everyday objects and typical furnitures from the XVI century. The museum also hosts many personal objects such as the violin that Mozart used as a child or his harpsichord. Original documents and manuscripts, some of them documenting the life of the composer, are also guarded there.
But there is something quite curious that you may not know of which is kept safely in the store room of this house museum. Guarded as a secret treasure, nothing more and nothing less than the supposed skull of Mozart himself! But ... why is it guarded with such zeal and kept out of sight from the visitors? This "relic" is a mystery. The MozarteumFoundation has owned and guarded it since 1902, although Mozart´s death happened several years earlier in 1791. His burial, on a cold December day, was celebrated without witnesses or relatives. Due to his lack of financial means, he was buried in a communal grave along with other bodies. Legend tells that the gravedigger tied something around the famous composer´s skull in order to distinguish him from his grave “companions”, but who knows ...
About 10 years after the burial, the supposed skull of the genius is " recovered" by the gravedigger. A whole journey began this way, passing from hand to hand until in 1902 when it was acquired by the Mozart foundation.
Although it was originally exhibited for a time in a display case in the museum, it was soon removed and saved. Since then, thousands of studies have been carried out. Even today its authenticity has not been proven or discarded, the enigma persists.
A few years ago, DNA tests were carried out contrasting samples of that skull with those of two supposed relatives of Mozart as well as other samples extracted from two strands of hair that supposedly belonged to the musician. No match was found between any of the samples, so the incognito remains unsolved.
“THE SOUND OF MUSIC"
It is known that music plays a very important role in the cultural history of the city, but cinema has also its place in Salzburg as it has been the stage of many films. Without a doubt, the most famous is the unforgettable “The Sound of Music”, a famous Hollywood musical production, based on real events. Its title in Spanish is “Sonrisasy Lagrimas”, in other countries also known as “Lanovicia rebelde”. It tells the endearing story of the Von Trapp family and the young governess María Kuschera. This woman quits the convent where she was a novice and becomes the governess of the widowed Captain Georg von Trapp´s seven children, to whom she gets married later on. Their great love for music leads them to establish a family choir in the 1930s. This would give them worldwide recognition after settling in the United States, a country to which they flee escaping from the Nazi’s persecution.
The Five Oscars awarded film was recorded in 1965 and starred by Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer.
Part of this well-known Robert Wise film took place in the center of Salzburg, since, in real history, its protagonists were from this city.
Some settings are located on the outskirts of Salzburg. Why not stroll through some of the same places that the Von Trapp family did, both in fiction and in reality, inside the old town?
It is in the Benedictine convent of Nonnberg, where the young Maria was a novice. The convent can be reached via KaigasseStreet,via the Nonnbergstiegesteps. Its church is usually opened every day from very early in the morning, although it cannot be visited during mass celebrations. The convent is located on Nonnbergasse, 2.
Several scenes from the famous film show the cathedral district, restored after the war damage. The beautiful baroque fountainin the well-known Residenzplatzis also there which was shown when the protagonist leaves the convent with the intention of meeting the Von Trapp. Stroll, let your imagination run wild, and feel a part of this story.
Continuing with this cinematographic walk, Europamundo recommends visiting the cemetery of Saint Peter’s Church. It is precisely in this place that the family found a hiding place and managed to flee to Switzerland escaping from their pursuers. But this cemetery, called Friedhof Von St. Peter, is not only interesting because of its relationship with this story, but is also very interesting by itself, for it is a beautiful cemetery, richly decorated with natural flowers. In the heart of the cemetery, next to the Margarethenkapelle,there are some famous celebrity’s graves such as Mozart´s sister, Nannerl.
Erzabtei St. Peter
But if music is your domain and you want to feel like Julie Andrews herself, there is nothing better than the gardens we have already talked about, those of the Mirabell Palace. There, the children and protagonist sing the famous song “Do, Re, Mi” around the staircase, the fountain and the stone decoration of dwarfs. It is great that everything continues to be the same as it was in the famous movie.
Back at the Alterplatz, not far from the cathedral, we can take a short break at the famous Café Tomasselli. But take notice, it is not a common cafe, this is more than that. In fact, this establishment is a part of the history of the city itself which could be considered as an institution as well as the oldest coffee shop in Salzburg and one of the oldest in Europe.
Its doors first opened in 1705. It got its name from Carl Tomasselli who took over the premises in 1852. This elegant cafe continues to be owned by the Tomasselli family. Carl Tomasselli was the son of the actor and opera singer Giuseppe Tomasselli, a young Milanese origin tenor who, headed by his passion for music, moved to live in Salzburg. He worked as a tenor at the archiepiscopal court which provided him close contact with the Mozart family. Leopold Mozart, the famous composer´s father, was a music teacher, composer, and a talented violin player. Although he was of German origin, he came to Salzburg to study law and theology. But he finally decided to focus on his great passion, music. Thus, in 1743, he entered the service of the Prince Archbishop´s court as a composer and a concert teacher. He took charge of the musical education of his sons Wolfgang Amadeus and the talented Nannerl Mozart. The latter, unfortunately, who was less known than his famous brother, probably due to the fact that she was a woman. At that time women´s talent, usually, was not acclaimed.
The elegant Café run by the Tomasselli family, is a recommended place for its variety of coffee and sweets and of course for its exquisite interior ornamentation. It is said that it was Mozart´s favorite establishment in his hometown, where he used to go to play billiards. The famous musician had a reputation of being a great lover of living well and of good food, something for which this famous Café was known for.
Alter Markt 9
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