Monday, 8 October 2012



Salzburg is the fourth-largest city in Austria and the capital city of the federal state of Salzburg. Salzburg's "Old Town" (Altstadt) has internationally renowned baroque architecture and one of the best-preserved city centres north of the Alps. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. The city is noted for its Alpine setting.

Salzburg was the birthplace of 18th-century composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. His mother was born at St Gilgen on the Wolfgangsee and his father in Augsburg. In the mid-20th century, the city was the setting for parts of the musical and film The Sound of Music.

Traces of human settlements have been found in the area dating to the Neolithic Age. The first settlements at Salzburg were apparently begun by the Celts around the 5th century BC.

Around 15 BC the separate settlements were merged into one city by the Roman Empire. At this time the city was called Juvavum and was awarded the status of a Roman municipium in 45 AD. Juvavum developed into an important town of the Roman province of Noricum. After the collapse of the Norican frontier, Juvavum declined so sharply that by the late 7th century it had become a "near ruin".

The Life of Saint Rupert credits the 8th-century saint with the city's rebirth. When Theodo of Bavaria asked Rupert to become bishop c. 700, Rupert reconnoitered the river for the site of his basilica. Rupert chose Juvavum, ordained priests, and annexed the manor Piding. Rupert named the city "Salzburg". He traveled to evangelise among pagans.

The name Salzburg means "Salt Castle". It derives its name from the barges' carrying salt on the Salzach River, which were subject to a toll in the 8th century, as was customary for many communities and cities on European rivers.

Independence from Bavaria was secured in the late 14th century. Salzburg was the seat of the Archbishopric of Salzburg, a prince-bishopric of the Holy Roman Empire.

On 31 October 1731, the 214th anniversary of Martin Luther's nailing of his 95 Theses to the Wittenberg School door, Roman Catholic Archbishop Count Leopold Anton von Firmian signed an Edict of Expulsion, the Emigrationspatent, directing all Protestants to recant their non-Catholic beliefs or be banished from the city. The story of their plight spread quickly as their columns marched north. Goethe wrote the poem "Hermann and Dorothea", which, though depicting disruptions caused in the aftermath of the French Revolution, was prompted by the story of the Salzburg exiles' march.

Finally, in 1732 King Frederick William I of Prussia accepted 12,000 Salzburger Protestant emigrants, who settled in areas of East Prussia that had been devastated by the plague twenty years before. Other smaller groups made their way to Debrecen and the Banat regions of the Kingdom of Hungary, to what is now Hungary and Serbia; the Kingdom of Hungary recruited Germans to repopulate areas along the Danube River decimated by the plague and the Ottoman invasion. The Salzburgers also migrated to Protestant areas near Berlin and Hanover in Germany; and to the Netherlands.

The ethnic German refugees went to western Europe, the United States and other western nations. Those who settled in West Germany founded a community association to preserve their historic identity as Salzburgers.

Salzburg, which was a capital of an Austro-Hungarian territory, became part of German Austria in 1918 and the First Austrian Republic in 1919, after the Treaty of Versailles.

During the Anschluss, Austria, with Salzburg being a part of it, was annexed to the German Third Reich on 12 March 1938, one day before a scheduled referendum about Austria's independence. German troops were moved to the city. Political opponents, Jewish citizens and other minorities were subsequently arrested and deported. The synagogue was destroyed and several POW camps for prisoners from the Soviet Union and other nations were organized in the area.

During World War II, the Salzburg-Maxglan concentration camp was located here. It was a Roma camp and provided slave labour to local industry.

Allied bombing destroyed 7,600 houses and killed 550 inhabitants. A total of 15 strikes destroyed 46 percent of the city's buildings especially around Salzburg train station. Although the town's bridges and the dome of the cathedral were demolished, much of its Baroque architecture remained intact. As a result, it is one of the few remaining examples of a town of its style. 

In the 1960s, the movie The Sound of Music used some locations in and around Salzburg and the state of Salzburg. The movie was based on the true story of Maria von Trapp who took up with an aristocratic family and fled the German Anschluss. Although the film is not particularly popular among Austrians, the town draws many visitors who wish to visit the filming locations, alone or on tours.

The Getreidegasse is probably one of the loveliest shopping streets in the world: a wide range of stores inviting visitors to browse and shop are found behind the elaborately decorated façades, in the traditional passageways and inside the landmarked buildings.
Whether designer fashions at one of the numerous boutiques or the traditional "trachten" apparel popular across Europe, whether antiques, jewelry, books or music – you will find just what you're looking for in the romantic old streets of the inner city. 800 stores offer top quality merchandise, trained salespeople and a wide selection. Numerous traditional and modern coffeehouses and restaurants invite guests to sit back and relax after a long day of shopping.

The popular "Green Market" is held in front of the magnificent Collegiate Church from Monday to Saturday, selling fresh local fruit and vegetables as well as exotic delicacies, meat, poultry, fish and seafood, bread, cheese and pastries.
Hobby cooks meet at the "Schranne" market in front of St. Andrew's Church every Thursday morning. The traditional farmers' market has a wide selection of fresh local produce.
These markets are supplemented by smaller, weekly farmers' markets.

Mozart souvenirs such as CDs, books, T-shirts, stationery, pads, posters, coins and postcards with the famous family portrait are the most popular souvenirs to take back home from a trip to Salzburg. Those who wish to take a musical momento of the Salzburg Festival back home can purchase CDs of the latest Festival performances and performers – available in good music shops throughout the city.

Illustrated books and books on Salzburg's history, art and culture are also great memorabilia. Salzburg cookbooks with traditional recipes and tempting dishes are also popular keepsakes.
Numerous second-hand bookshops, art shops and galleries offer watercolor paintings, sketches, etchings and photographs of the city dating back to the late 19th century. Facsimiles of historic documents or famous compositions such as the famous Christmas carol "Silent Night" also make charming souvenirs.

Fragrant nosegays decorated with cinnamon, cloves and a number of other spices, traditional "trachten" costumes and leather apparel and of course the "Original Mozartkugel" chocolates are also typical of Salzburg.

                                                        Salzburg’s Top 5:
  1. The Salzburg Cathedral  is a 17th century baroque cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Salzburg, dedicated to Saint Rupert of Salzburg. It is the site of Mozart's baptism. And the composer Anton Diabelli sang in the Salzburg Cathedral boys' choir in the late 1700s. The first cathedral was built under Saint Vergilius of Salzburg, who might have used foundations by St. Rupert. The first Dom was recorded in 774. The so-called Virgil Dom was built from 767 to 774 and was 66 metres long and 33 metres wide. Archbishop Arno (785 – 821) was the first to arrange renovations of the Dom, which was in place for less than 70 years. In 842, the building burned down after being struck by lightning. Three years later, the re-erection of the building started.
  2. Hohensalzburg Castle  is a castle atop the Festungsberg mountain. Erected at the behest of the Prince-Archbishops of Salzburg, it today with a length of 250 m (820 ft) and a width of 150 m (490 ft), is one of the largest medieval castles in Europe. Construction of the fortress began in 1077 under Archbishop Gebhard von Helfenstein. This original design was just a basic bailey with a wooden wall. In the Holy Roman Empire, the Salzburg Archbishops already were powerful political figures, and they expanded the castle to protect their interests. Gebhard's conflict with Emperor Henry IV during the Investiture Controversy influenced the expansion of the castle, with the Archbishop taking the side of Pope Gregory VII and the German anti-king Rudolf of Rheinfelden. The castle was gradually expanded during the following centuries. The ring walls and towers were built in 1462 under Prince-Archbishop Burkhard II von Weißpriach. Hohensalzburg was refurbished from the late 19th century onwards and became a major tourist attraction, with the Festungsbahn cable car, opened in 1892, leading up from the town to the Hasengrabenbastei. It stands today as one of the best preserved castles in Europe. During the early 20th century it was used as a prison, holding Italian prisoners of war during World War I and Nazi activists (before the Anschluss with Germany) in the 1930s.
  3. The Salzburg Residenz The Alte Residenz was the city palace of the Archbishops of Salzburg in the Old Town. A spacious building first documented in 1120. It was rebuilt in the 15th and 16th centuries, especially by archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau. The wing of the Alter Markt was built under Markus Sittikus, whilst the Haupthof was completed under Paris Lodron, expanded under Guidobald von Thun and given a new facade under Franz Anton von Harrach. It now houses the Residenzgalerie. The gallery presents paintings of the 16th to the 18th century and Austrian paintings of the 19th century.
  4. Mozart's Birthplace. The Mozart family lived on the third floor of the "Hagenauer House" at Getreidegasse 9 for twenty-six years, from 1747 to 1773. The celebrated composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, was born here on January 27, 1756. The building is named after the merchant and toy dealer, Johann Lorenz Hagenauer (1712-1792), who owned the building and was a friend of the Mozart family. The International Mozarteum Foundation first installed a museum in Mozart's Birthplace on June 15, 1880. It was systematically remodeled and enlarged over the decades and has become a cultural venue that draws thousands of visitors from around the world to Salzburg each year.  Visitors are conducted through the original Mozart rooms at Mozart's Birthplace containing historic instruments, documents, memorabilia and most of the portraits painted during his lifetime, including the unfinished oil painting "Mozart at the Piano" painted by Mozart's brother-in-law, Joseph Lange, in 1789. The famous exhibits include Mozart's child violin, his concert violin, his clavichord, the harpsichord, portraits and letters from the Mozart family.
  5. The Mirabell Palace and Gardens.  Prince-Archbishop Franz Anton von Harrach had Mirabell Palace redesigned by the famous baroque architect, Lukas von Hildebrandt, from 1721 to 1727, integrating the individual buildings into a self-contained complex. The palace was damaged by the great fire that swept through the city on April 30, 1818. A number of frescoes including those by Johann Michael Rottmayr and Gaetano Fanti fell victim to the flames. The grand marble staircase that led into the palace and the marble hall survived unscathed. Mirabell Palace owes its present unassuming appearance to Peter de Nobile, the court's architectural consultant and director of the Vienna School of Architecture. Details such as the edging of the windows, the capitals and stuccowork bear witness to the palace's former splendor. The masterly staircase by Lukas von Hildebrandt is one of the most precious works of art at Mirabell Palace. Charming putti (cherubs) decorate the marble balustrade; the sculptures in the niches are the work of the famous Georg Raphael Donner and among the finest products of the European baroque. The famous Mirabell Gardens were redesigned around 1690 under Prince-Archbishop Johann Ernst Graf von Thun to plans by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach and completely remodeled around 1730 by Franz Anton Danreiter. The Pegasus Fountain, a work by Kaspar Gras from Innsbruck, was installed in 1913. The four groups of statues around the fountain were sculpted by Ottavio Mosto (1690) and symbolize the 4 elements: fire, air, earth and water. The Mirabell Gardens were opened to the public by Emperor Franz Joseph in 1854. Today they are a horticultural masterpiece and popular backdrop for photographers.

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