This is the lovely Austrian city on the German border where the hills came alive with the sound of music. In and around Salzburg where many of the scenes of the popular movie about the Trapp Family Singers “The Sound of Music” was filmed so many years ago. There are tours available that take you to all the familiar sights seen on the silver screen. Salzburg is divided by the Salzach River. The city has impressive Medieval and Baroque-style buildings with the pedestrian Old City on the left bank and the 19th century New City on the right bank.
A well-known landmark of Salzburg is Fortress Hohensalzburg. This is a large 900-year old fortress sitting atop of a cliff. It is one of the biggest and best preserved in Europe. Here you can roam about the castle, the ramparts and enjoy spectacular views of the city rooftops, the Salzach River and the mountains. Riding in the glass-enclosed Festungsbahn funicular you’ll be at the top in 15 minutes. It was built in 1077 by Gebhard von Helffenstein but Leonard von Keutschach, prince-archbishop of Salzburg from 1495 to 1519 added much to its splendor.
The highlights here include the Golden Hall where a gold-studded ceiling reminds one of a starry night sky, the Marionette Museum, where you’ll be amazed by a skeleton-in-the-box, Archbishop Wolf Dietrich and the Fortress Museum with a 1612 model of Salzburg, medieval instruments, armor and an array of torture devices.
The Salzburg Museum is house in the Baroque Neue Residenz Palace. Here visitors can learn about Salzburg past and present. In the ornate rooms are displays of most everything from Roman excavations to prince-archbishop portraits. There are free tours offered every Thursday at 6 PM.
Start your visit beneath the courtyard in the impressively illuminated Kunsthalle, where there are rotating exhibitions of art. Upstairs you’ll see the eyes of the prince-srchbishops following you from their position along the walls. Among the highlights are the renowned painting Sonnatagsspaziergang or Sunday Stroll by Carl Spitzweg in 1841, the portrait-lined prince-archbishop’s room and the Standesaal or Sovereign Chamber, where polychrome stucco curls around frescoes that depict the history of Rome according to Titus Livius. Other things of interest are early 16th century Milleflori tapestry, Archbishop Wolf Dietrich’s gold-embroidered shoe and Flemish tapestries. The Panorama Passage take people back into Salzburg’s past.
On the western side of the Neue Residenz is the city’s famous 35-bell glockenspiel which chimes every day at 7 AM, 11 PM, and 6 PM.
To get a look at the life of composer Mozart visit the Mozart Wohnhaus. This one-time residence displays family portraits, documents and instruments. Your visit is accompanied by an audio guide. Here you’ll also see Mozart’s original fortepiano. When the living got cramped for the family at their previous residence they moved here in 1773. This is where Mozart composed such musical compositions as the Shephard King and Idomeneo. A regular guest here was Mozart’s close friend Emanuel Schikaneder, who was the librettist of The Magic Flute. Visitors can also enjoy a film and music archive which includes some 25,000 audiovisual recordings.
A masterpiece of Baroque is the Dom with its large copper dome and twin spires. Bronze portals that symbolize faith, hope and charity lead the way into the cathedral. In the nave visitors can see the intricate stucco and ceiling frescoes depicting the Passion of Christ by Arsenio Mascagni leading eyes up to the polychrome dome. During the Thirty Years’ War Italian architect Santino Solari redesigned the cathedral and it was consecrated in 1628.
Perching on the cliffs of the Monchsberg is the Museum of Modern Art. The museum is an impressive contemporary glass-and-marble oblong building. Here you can delight in temporary exhibitions of 20th and 21st century art. The Monchsberg Lift takes visitors up to the gallery. There is a free guided tour available every Wednesday at 6:30 PM.
One of the five mountains in Salzburg,The Monchsberg offers spectacular views of Salzburg and its woodland walking trails are wonderful for relaxation and getting back to nature. It was named after the Benedictine monks of St. Peter’s Abbey at the northern foot of the mountain. If you like you can enjoy the views and have lunch at M32.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in a bright yellow townhouse in Salzburg in 1756. He spent his first 17 year in the now so-called Mozart Geburtshaus. Here you can see the mini violin he played as a toddler, a lock of his hair and buttons from his jacket. In one room Mozart is depicted as a holy babe beneath a neon blue halo.
Both adults and children love the Salzburg Puppet Theater. There is a miniature stage with a red curtain. You’ll see a stucco cherub and a chandelier. Their wonderful repertoir includes The Sound of Music, with a life-sized Mother Superior and a finale with lots of marionettes. Other performances are Mozart’s The Magical Flute, Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker and Strauss’ Die Fledermaus. All of them have multilingual surtitles.
Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich built the lovely palace Schloss Mirabell for his mistress Salome Alt in 1606. Baroque details were added by Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt in 1721. You can visit the lavish Marble Hall with its impressive stucco, marble and frescoes. Evening chamber concerts are held here. You can get spectacular views while strolling about the garden with many fountains. The fans of The Sound of Music will recognize the Pegasus statue and the steps where the von Trapps practiced “Do-Re-Me”. There is much to delight in here including the rose gardens and leafy arbors.
The scene of many postcards the Residenzplatz has a palace, street entertainers and horse-drawn carriages. The centerpiece here is the Residenzbrunnen, a huge marble fountain surrounded by four water-spouting horses and topped by a consh-shell bearing Triton. This plaza was the idea of Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau, who was inspired by Rome and commissioned Italian architect Vincenzo Scamozzi to create it. This is the square that Maria crosses in “The Sound of Music” to get the bus that will take her away from Nonnberg Convent to the Trapp Family Villa while singing “I Have Confidence”.
On the edge of the city you’ll find magnificent Hellbrunn with its spacious landscaped park. Visitors come here to see the trick fountains. At one time the “Lustschloss” was a pleasure palace built for festivities, enjoyment and relaxation. Today anyone can stroll around the park, have fun with the fountains and hidden water jets and enjoy the surroundings. Since March 2015 three rooms have been rearranged for display – the music chamber, the “Fasnacht” room and the Festival Hall. Eventually there will be a total of ten rooms that will house the “Markus Sittikus – My View of the World” exhibitions.
During the summer evenings this is a wonderful place for dreaming with the trickle and splash of water from the fountains, the lights and colors and the moon and the stars reflected in the ponds of Hellbrunn.
The Hellbrunner Monatsscholsschen built in 1615 for Archbishop Markus Sittikus houses the folklore museum which is part of the Salzburg Museum. The manor sits overlooking Hellbrunn Park and has a collections of regional folklore including furnishings, popular medicine and some beautiful Trachten or traditional costumes worn in the Salzburg valley regions. Each summer there are annual special exhibitions.
Visitors enjoy the walking path from Hellbrunn park leading through a lovely forest and up on to the folk museum. The museum sits upon a hill that offers great views of Hellbrunn Palace and Hohensalzburg Fortress.
Located by a lake with fantastic views of the majestic mountain is the palace – Schloss Leopoldskron. It is just a short walk from the Old Town of Salzburg. The Prince Archbishop of Salzburg, Leopold Anton Freiherr von Firmian built this lovely palace for his family in 1736. He died shortly after the completion of the palace in 1744 and requested that his heart be buried beneath the chapel. In 1918 it was bought by Max Reinhardt, the founder of the Salzburg Festival and Europe’s most famous theater impresario.
The palace became famous in 1965 as the original film location of the movie “The Sound of Music”. Unfortunately the palace can only be viewed from the opposite side of the lake as it is the private property of the Salzburg Global Seminar.
The Old Town is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. It is a wonderful place to wander around in and admire the impressive architecture. It is divided into two parts – the left bank of the Salzach River is the oldest part dating back to Roman times. Those who wish to walk from one side of the city to the other can do so by crossing its many bridges which connect the old part of the town along the river. The majestic hills offer great views of the city. There are many different architectural styles to enjoy such as Medieval, Romantic, Renaissance and Baroque.
Kapitelplatz or Chapter Square is a most spacious square bordered by the Cathedral, archiepiscopal palace and the novice’s wing of St. Peter’s Monastery. The highlight of the square, though a bit secluded is Chapter Fountain. It was built on the spot of a former horse pond used during the Middle Ages. The new fountain was modeled on Roman fountains by Franz Anton Danreiter. A ramp used by horses to access the water leads to the figures of Neptune, sea god, holding a trident and crown, mounted on a seahorse spurting water. This Baroque figure was sculpted by Josef Anton Pfaffinger. A chronogram with Archbishop Firmian’s coat of arms can be found above the niche.
When in the Old Town in the Chapter Square today you can see people playing chess with over-sized chess pieces, some colorful sales booth and “Sphaera” a work of art by Stephan Balkenhol.
Add Salzburg to your travel list and follow along the footsteps of the Von Trapps and enjoy the magnificent city and its hills.