Salzburg Things to Do Tips by elucas
Salzburg Things to Do: 1,272 reviews and 2,217 photos
Towering above the city this mighty fortress is the largest and best preserved fortress in Europe. Construction began in 1077 and it was constantly enlarged and renovated by various ruling Prince Archbishops up until 17th century. It was never taken in battle and only surrendered to the overwhelming forces of Napoleon.
There is an audio tour of part of the fortress, which was also used as a barracks and a prison.
The rich, sombre, apartments used by medieval rulers are not to be missed with wood carvings and decorations with gold leaf.
The best part of the visit, to me, is the views from the fortress over the city and river or towards the mountains which are stunning. A cable car will take you to the top, or if you are feeling energetic, there is a long flight of steps.
Christmas shop, Easter display
Shops which I have never seen in the UK are Christmas shops, and Easter shops, which are open all year. These shops tend to be close together and are to be found in the main shopping areas. It is quite strange to me to see a shop full of beautifully displayed Christmas decorations in late February and we found a delightful Easter shop crammed with eggs. One shop appeared to have a Christmas sign but an Easter window – maybe they are more like festive shops where you can buy decorations at any season - they certainly lighten a winter's day.
In the UK Christmas decorations tend to start to appear in the shops in September. The festivity "gathers pace" during the Autumn, by November street decorations appear and December is totally mad - and then - it's all over, like a puff of snow in the wind, gone for another year. Easter, meanwhile, tends to be very low key.
Street of signs
Salzburg’s most famous shopping street winds it way through the old town. The shops have beautiful, decorative signs which are most attractive – and the shopping itself is good too !
Look out for the elaborate Macdonalds Sign !
The charming sign of an Easter Bunny brings me to my next tip.
Entrance to the Residenz
The Residenz dates back as far as 1110, when the Archbishop built himself the first palace. The present day appearance is the result of extensions and re-building by Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau before 1600, but was not completed until the late 18th century.
This would be worth seeing for its decoration and paintings. On the third floor is the Residenz Gallery where a collection of European paintings from the 16th - 19th century are displayed. Unfortunately the building was closed for some renovations when we were there. This is the difficulty with off-season breaks.
The Residenz is situated on the west side of the Residenzplatz – This handsome square was created by Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau around 1600.
There has been a cathedral here since the 8th century, but the foundation stone for the present one was laid in 1614.
The interior largely dates from the 17th century, however, the ceiling paintings on the inside of the dome had to be re-constructed due to damage done in World War 2 and the cathedral was re-consecrated in 1959.
Directions: In the heart of the Old City - you can see the steeples from all over Salzburg
This is part of the complex of the Monastery of St Peter and St Peter’s cemetery. The latter is the oldest in Salzburg and the elaborate graves are the last resting place of many of Salzburg’s noblest families. The late Baroque transformation of the church was carried out under Abbot Beda Seeauer (1753 – 86). Almost all the altar paintings are by Martin Johann Schmidt (of Krems).
We were fortunate on the day we visited, there was a special memorial service due to take place and the church was decorated, on every altar, with white Christmas Roses - which usually flower in February - and pots of fragrant herbs such as rosemary, thyme, oregano and sage. They made a very handsome, grand Baroque church, very human and touching.
Mozart was born at No 9, Getreidegasse, which is today the city’s most famous shopping street, in January 1756. This house, a picture of which appears in the introduction, is now a museum dedicated to Mozart with an extensive collection of memorabilia and family portraits. It is, however, rather hyped up and not to everyone’s taste. There is also a lot of information, together with interesting examples of stage sets, for Mozart’s operas.
Between 1773 to 1780 Mozart and his family lived at 9, Makartplatz, a larger apartment in the “New Town” where Mozart had more space to work. There is a good audio tour, the music is wonderful as you would expect, and a collection of instruments of the time. There are some original music scores which are fascinating even if, like myself you cannot read music, for their complexity and precision. There is a video showing Mozart’s early life and travels around Europe which is worth seeing.
The International Mozart Foundation looks after both these two museums. There are two long running concert series, Mozart Week in late January which coincides with the composer’s birthday. In the summer the Foundation’s concerts form an important part of the International Salzburg Festival, which is held annually from the last week in July to the end of August.
Part of Mirabell gardens
The palace was built by Archbishop Wolf Dietrich in 1606, who wanted a residence outside the town walls for his mistress Salome Alt and their children – of whom 10 survived infancy.
The Archbishop named the palace Altenau. His reign came to an unfortunate end, however, and he ended up as a prisoner in Hohensalzburg Fortress. His successor renamed the palace Mirabell in an attempt to “whitewash the past”.
The palace has seen many changes and re-modelling into the form we see today. Only a few rooms are open as the palace is now used as government offices, however, it is worth a visit and the Baroque staircase is especially flamboyant.
Address: Not far from the city centre
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