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Salzburg

  • Austria
  • Salzburg
  • 65,678 km²
  • Mediterranean
  • (UTC)2
  • Euro
  • German
  • 150,887
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General Information About Salzburg

Area: 65.678  km²

Population: 150,887

Language: German

Currency: Euro.

Location

Salzburg (zälts´bŏŏrk), province (1991 pop. 482,365), c.2,760 sq mi (7,150 sq km), W central Austria, bordering Germany in the north and northwest. It is a predominately mountainous region, with parts of the Hohe Tauern Mts. and Salzburg Alps, and is drained by the Salzach River. There are famous salt deposits that have long been worked, as well as gold, copper, and iron mines. Precious stones are also found there. A scenic area, it is noted for its numerous Alpine resorts and spas. Manufactures include clothing, leather, textiles, beer, wood products, paper, and musical organs. Cattle and horses are raised. Kaprun dam, on the Salzach high in the mountains, includes one of the largest hydroelectric facilities in Europe. The province's capital and chief city is Salzburg (1991 pop. 143,978), an industrial, commercial, and tourist center and a transportation hub. Picturesquely situated on both banks of the Salzach River, the city is bounded by two steep hills, the Capuzinerberg (left bank) and the Mönchsberg, on the southern tip of which is the 11th-century fortress of Hohensalzburg (right bank).

History

Although Salzburg has its early roots in the Stone Age, the establishment of the Roman town of Juvavum around 15 BC is its traditional beginning. By the fall of Rome, it was all but abandoned, but the city was saved from ruin by St Rupert, who was gifted the site at the end of the 7th century by the Duke of Bavaria. He became the city’s bishop and is remembered today as its patron saint.

Although the city began to grow thanks to St Rupert, it wasn’t until 1077 that work began on Salzburg’s fortress, which would turn out to be one of the biggest in Europe. It became the abode of the powerful archbishops of Salzburg.

Nearly a century later, the archbishop angered the German emperor Barbarossa so much that he destroyed much of the city. In the 14th century, Salzburg gained independence from Bavaria and became a prince-bishopric in the Holy Roman Empire, which then occupied most of central Europe. In 1492 the famous Stiegl brewery was founded, while in 1525 the peasants rioted and besieged the fortress for three months.

In the 16th century, Salzburg was greatly beautified, largely thanks to the vision of the city’s most famous prince-archbishop, Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau. Using wealth procured through the salt trade, he built cobbled streets, narrow alleyways, elegant squares and churches, and in the 17th and 18th centuries, the Old Town of fabulous baroque architecture emerged.

During the Napoleonic Wars, the archbishops lost their power and Salzburg’s long independence, as the city became part of the Austrian Empire. Late in the 19th century, the city began to recover and modernise, although the Empire itself collapsed after WWI. In 1920, the iconic Salzburg Festival was founded, attracting intellectuals and elites from across Austria and Germany.

By WWII, Austria had been annexed to Nazi Germany and was often targeted during the war. In the post-war years, the city recovered fast, and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997.

Did you know?

  • Salzburg’s most famous denizen, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, was born here in 1756. The great musical genius is known to have hated his hometown, though.
  • The history of Salzburg’s iconic St Peter’s Abbey can be traced back to the end of the 7th century, and the founding of Saint Rupert, although it was built on the site of a church dating back to Roman times.
  • Salzburg’s wealth was established on the back of the salt trade, with the archbishops taking over production here in the Middle Ages, but salt mining in the area dates back to the Celts.

About Salzburg

Encircled by mountains and straddling the Salzach river, the beautiful Austrian city of Salzburg has a dramatic setting matched only by the Baroque splendour of its architecture. Most visitors recognise it from its portrayal in The Sound of Music – and there are various tours capitalising on the film’s fanfare.

In the flesh, the city’s Alpine surroundings and UNESCO World Heritage historic centre of cobbled streets, narrow alleyways and elegant squares, is even lovelier than on the silver screen.

Salzburg is also the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, whose home you can see on Getreidegasse, one of the city’s many pedestrianised streets. Inspired by the composer, Salzburg has since developed an incredibly rich musical life that would no doubt have made him proud. Started in 1920s, the Salzburg Festival is considered one of the most important musical festivals in the world, and there are plenty of other festivals in the city too – Salzburg puts on some 4,000 cultural events (most of them musical) every year.

While an air of cosmopolitan sophistication hangs over the elegant shops, restaurants, lanes and squares of the Old Town, a different but just as interesting culture can be found the many Bierstuben taverns. Salzburg is extremely proud of its beer, which has a history here dating back more than 500 years.

The city may seem a bit quaint and poky compared to Vienna, but Salzburg has a young and energetic side to it too – largely thanks to the city university. There are lots of noisy bars and clubs along the river, and there are several hip joints in the zone around the Modern Art Museum.

The latter is a must-see in itself – visitors ascend through a lift to the top of one of Salzburg’s highest hills, where they find an extraordinary mix of bold exhibitions courtesy of the museum’s recently-appointed art director. Staring back at the museum from an even higher hill is Salzburg’s incredible castle, Fortress Hohensalzburg, the biggest in Europe and the city’s icon. Together they show a city both treasuring its past and embracing the future.

Weather in Salzburg

Best time to visit:

Salzburg is at its glorious best in the summer; despite the fact it can rain, flowers are in full bloom and the temperatures are pleasantly warm. But this is also the time when the city is thronging with tourists. It pays to visit in the shoulder season when the city is less crowded – go in September, October, March or April, and the temperatures are still relatively comfortable during the day. November usually marks the first snowfall in the city. Average temperatures fall to a chilly -6°C (20°F) and some attractions shut down for the winter, which lasts until February. For ski lovers, however, there are plenty of resorts to choose from within an hour or two of the city.

Getting around Salzburg

Public transport

CityBus (StadtBus) (tel: +43 662 4480 1500; www.salzburg-ag.at/verkehr/obus) has a comprehensive bus route network covering Salzburg and its environs. During weekdays, buses leave every 10 minutes, 0630–2000, and slightly less frequently early in the morning and late in the evening. Services are less frequent at the weekends, particularly on Sundays.

In addition to single-fare tickets, you can buy 24-hour cards, which give access to the whole transport system in Salzburg. For a stay of more than three days, it makes economical sense to buy a weekly pass (Wochenkarte). There is also the SalzburgCard, which is made especially for tourists and is valid for 24, 48 or 72 hours. It allows admission to top attractions and gives unlimited access to public transport.

Taxis

There is no shortage of taxis in Salzburg, though they are quite expensive and it’s often easier to walk most places. Salzburger Funktaxivereinigung (tel: +43 662 8111) is a recommended taxi firm.

Driving

Driving around Salzburg is fairly straightforward, if a little pointless given the size of the historic centre and quality of the public transport links. The volume of traffic is steadily increasing and there are limited places to park. Also bear in mind that if you go on any Austrian motorway, you need to buy a toll sticker available at petrol stations, kiosks and toll stations.

Car hire

Car hire is available from most of the major international companies, including Avis (tel: +43 662 877 278; www.avis.at), Hertz (tel: +43 662 876 674; www.hertz.com) and Sixt (tel: +43 810 977 424; www.sixt.com).

Bicycle hire

Salzburg is a great place for cycling. Movelo (www.movelo.com/de/weitere-stationen-in-salzburg) has a handful of stations across the city where you can hire electric bikes

Things to see in Salzburg

Tourist offices

Tourismus Salzburg GmbH

Address:

Tel:

Opening Hours: Daily 0900-1800 (Apr-Jun); Daily 0900-1830 (Jul); Daily 0900-1900 (Aug); Daily 0900-1830 (1 Sep-8 Sep); Daily 0900-1800 (9 Sep-16 Oct); Mon-Sat (17 Oct-31 Mar).

Website: www.salzburg.info

Salzburg's official tourist office is supplemented by additional tourist offices at street level dealing directly with any queries from tourists. There is one at Mozartplatz 5 (tel: +43 662 8898 7330) and another on platform 2A at the central railway station (tel: +43 662 8898 7340), both of which are open all year round.

Tourist Passes

The Salzburg Card (valid either for 24, 48 or 72 hours) includes free admission to all the city's attractions and free use of public transport (including the fortress funicular, the panorama boat on the river and the Untersberg cable car) as well as discounts for cultural events and for various tours and excursions. You can pick one up at all customer service centres, in hotels and at tourist information booths.

Attractions

Salzburg Museum

This interesting modern museum seeks to tell the story of Salzburg’s history and culture in novel ways. The first floor features exhibitions on important architects, writers and scientists of the city, while the second floor deals with the city’s history. Archaeological finds and medieval collections can be found in the Mirror Hall.

Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 0900-1700.

Admission Fees: Yes

Disabled Access: Yes

UNESCO: No

Website: http://www.salzburgmuseum.at

Museum of Modern Art Salzburg

Salzburg may be steeped in tradition and history but it also hosts one of the boldest and most impressive contemporary art galleries in Austria. Opened in 2004, the Museum of Modern Art Salzburg can be reached by elevator on a steep hill opposite the fortress and features all kinds of mind-boggling installations, video art and controversial efforts by big-name artists.

Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 1000-1800, Wed 1000-2000.

Admission Fees: Yes

Disabled Access: Yes

UNESCO: No

Website: http://www.museumdermoderne.at

Salzburg's Festival Halls

Guided tours are given (once daily in winter, twice in June and September, and three times in July and August) of Salzburg’s splendid and world-famous Festival Halls, where all main ballet, opera and musical concerts during the Salzburg Festival are performed. The establishment of the Salzburg Festival in 1920 turned the city into an artistic beacon.

Opening Hours: Daily 1400 (tours).

Admission Fees: Yes

Disabled Access: Yes

UNESCO: No

Website: http://www.salzburgerfestspiele.at

St Peter's Abbey and Monastery

Salzburg’s historic monastery has its roots in the earliest monastic community in the German-speaking world, founded by the Frankish missionary St Rubert after he arrived in Salzburg in the early 8th century. St Peter’s Abbey is one of the main attractions in the city with its gorgeous Romanesque interior. There are also catacombs, probably of early Christian origin, in the area.

Opening Hours: Daily 0800-1200 and 1430-1830.

Admission Fees: Yes

Disabled Access: Yes

UNESCO: No

Website: http://www.stift-stpeter.at

Getreidegasse

The Getreidegasse is the most famous shopping street in Salzburg. Aside from its stock of modern boutiques, jewellery and clothing shops, it’s also the city’s traditional commercial centre, so pretty narrow houses with iron guild signs overlook little passageways and courtyards. This is also where you’ll also find Mozart’s birthplace.

Opening Hours: Daily 24 hours.

Admission Fees: No

Disabled Access: Yes

UNESCO: No

Website:

Mozart's Birthplace

Wolfgang Mozart was born on the third floor of the Hagenauer House on 27th January 1756. The geburthaus, or birthplace of the musical genius, has been revered since 1880 when the International Mozarteum Foundation first established a museum here. Today it exhibits items from Mozart’s childhood, including his violin and several other instruments.

Opening Hours: Daily 0900-1730 (Sep-Jun); daily 0830-1900 (Jul-Aug).

Admission Fees: Yes

Disabled Access: Yes

UNESCO: No

Website: http://www.mozarteum.at

Salzburg Cathedral

Salzburg’s beautiful cathedral is one of the most significant pieces of early baroque architecture in Europe. The first cathedral was built here in the 8th century, but was rebuilt twice over the centuries. It survived a direct hit during WWII when a bomb struck its dome but did little other damage. Highlights inside include the font in which Mozart was baptised.

Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 0800-1700, Sun 1300-1700 (Jan-Feb); Mon-Sat 0800-1800, Sun 1300-1800 (Mar-Apr); Mon-Sat 0800-1900, Sun 1300-1900 (May-Sep); Mon-Sat 0800-1800, Sun 1300-1800 (Oct); Mon-Sat 0800-1700, Sun 1300-1700 (Nov); Mon-Sat 0800-1800, Sun 1300-1800 (Dec).

Admission Fees: Yes

Disabled Access: Yes

UNESCO: No

Website: http://www.salzburger-dom.at/salzburger-dom

Hohensalzburg Fortress

Salzburg’s chief landmark has a history going back to 1077. Guarding the city from high above, this extraordinary building is the largest fully-preserved fortress in Central Europe. It can be accessed by using the funicular railway (festungsbahn) up the hillside from Festungsgasse 4. Don’t miss the prince-archbishops’ apartments and fortress museum.

Opening Hours: Daily 0900-1900 (May-Sep); daily 0930-1700 (Oct-Apr).

Admission Fees: Yes

Disabled Access: Yes

UNESCO: No

Website: http://www.salzburg-burgen.at

DomQuartier

As well as the Salzburg Residenz, the DomQuartier holds the stunning Cathedral Museum which is full of religious icons and artistry and has unique views of the cathedral itself. The Cabinet of Curiosities, meanwhile, is a quirky museum dedicated to obscure prizes and rare oddities; such displays were popular in the Baroque era.

Opening Hours: Wed-Mon 1000-1700 (Sep-Jun); Wed 1000-2000, Thu-Tue 1000-1700 (Jul-Aug).

Admission Fees: Yes

Disabled Access: Yes

UNESCO: No

Website: http://www.domquartier.at

Salzburg Residenz

The former official apartments of the Salzburg prince-archbishops still make up an impressively lavish building complex, which have benefited from the work of Renaissance and baroque artists and architects. One of its highlights is the Residenz Gallery, which boasts an excellent collection of masterpieces by Rembrandt, Rubens and Brueghel.

Opening Hours: Daily 1000-1700.

Admission Fees: Yes

Disabled Access: Yes

UNESCO: No

Website: http://www.salzburg-burgen.at

Salzburg Culture and History

Salzburg Culture and History

If you want to go back to the very first tiny detail in Salzburg’s history, you’ll end up some thousands of years before humans even started the calculation of times. Somewhere along the way in the New Stone Age the first settlers arrived at the river Salzach and created a colony. The next important step in the city’s history was the arrival of the Romans around 15 B.C.

Until about the year 500 the Romans helped developing infrastructure, trading and culture. With the “southerners” leaving, Salzburg slowly drifted into the Middle Ages, where it was for the first time ever actually called Salzburg (755 A.D.) and transformed into a religious stronghold for Christians.

Oldest city in Austria & cultural rise

In the year 1120 Salzburg was officially named a city, which – from today’s point of view – makes it the oldest still existing city in Austria.

The rise of its cultural legacy evolved in the 17th century, when the Baroque epoch spread across Europe. But the most important era for the music culture was the 18th century. With the First Viennese School (a special classical period in Western art music) and artists like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Salzburg lived to see its – by then – biggest step in music history.

Drawbacks & modern age

After the cultural high in the 18th century the city went through a lot of changes. Throughout the first half of the 19th century Salzburg alternately belonged to different kingdoms and countries. When WW I ended in 1918, things looked like they started to get back on track. Tourism increased and with the “Salzburger Festspiele” the city once more became a cultural center. Also, the population figure and the land area zoomed up. But WW II and the actions of the fascistic nazi-regime connoted another huge step back. The final recovery started right after the end of the 2nd World War. Most of Salzburg was rebuilt within a century and culture was on the rise – again. Until this day the city keeps it’s spirits alive and really values it’s very unique history

In order to understand the special character of Salzburg, one must begin by looking back in history: The city we have today was founded in the year 696 when St. Rupert arrived as a missionary and founded the Benedictine Monastery of St. Peter's, which is considered today to be the "Cradle of Salzburg". The area of Salzburg then developed into an independent church state, and was considered to be the "Rome of the North".

The sovereign rulers were the Prince Archbishops, they possessed spiritual as well as worldly powers and were responsible for building up the picturesque city that we have today. The old city lays testament to the power of the Archbishops, with its spacious squares, its quaint narrow streets, its numerous churches and monasteries, its impressive castles and palaces lying in expansive gardens and parks; it is a maze of unsquared corners, intriguing lanes, and curious steeples - all nestled between the Mönchsberg (monk's mountain) and the Salzach River.

Salzburg's  unmistakable silhouette is dominated by the Fortress of Hohensalzburg, which has successfully guarded over the city for more than 900 years. Today, it is considered to be the best preserved Medieval Fortress in all of Central Europe, and offers visitors a chance to step back in time - to explore its numerous chambers or to relax and listen to the music that the city of Salzburg  is so well known for. This note on Salzburg would not be complete without the mention of its breathtaking environs: azure glacial lakes, charming, timeless villages, luscious meadows, and the majestic Alps. An intriguing region with endless discovery and adventure possibilities

UNESCO World Heritage

Art, culture and a unique history: Since 1997, Salzburg has been a proud member of the UNESCO World Heritage List – a city of “outstanding value to humanity”.  We invite you to experience it for yourself, as you pay a visit to the historical district of downtown Salzburg!

World Heritage-Listed Salzburg – of outstanding value to humanity

Salzburg isn’t just rich in sightseeing attractions. This city on the River Salzach looks back on a long history as a metropolis of the arts and culture. The cultural heritage of this city shaped by the Baroque has its origins in a vibrant exchange with its southern neighbors, especially Italy.

Salzburg was very much a melting pot for the cultures and arts of northern and southern Europe. Even in early times, craftsmen and artists were drawn to Salzburg. Many of the baroque buildings were created by Italian architects such as Vincenzo Scamozzi and Santino Solari. There is very good reason why Salzburg is known as the “Rome of the North”. This title can also be traced back to the special status once enjoyed by Salzburg: The archbishop of Salzburg was permitted to appoint his own bishops to his four subordinate bishoprics, just as the pope did elsewhere. And until 1806, he ruled over the second largest ecclesiastical state in the world. Only Rome was bigger. The city’s sacred buildings captivate visitors from around the world with their baroque beauty. That said, the bourgeois homes of the Middle Ages and the broad, Italian-style plazas are likewise beautiful to look at. These sacred and secular buildings from different centuries have been preserved well, a major reason why Salzburg was added to the World Heritage List.

The historic city center of Salzburg: a walk through the centuries

The vibrant flair and special charm of Salzburg can best be experienced by taking a leisurely stroll through the historical downtown district.  In fact, Salzburg’s “Old City” lends itself perfectly to exploration on foot. The River Salzach actually divides it into two halves: the right side, including the Linzergasse, Platzl and Steingasse, and the left side. It is this left side, the older section of the city, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, also incorporating the Kaiviertel district as well as Festungsberg and Mönchsberg mountains.

The city mountains shape the face of the Old City, adding to its already captivating charm. Enthroned on the Festungsberg, high above Salzburg, is the emblem of this city, Hohensalzburg Fortress, built in the year 1077. You can either make your way up there on foot, or simply take a comfortable ride on the funicular. The left bank of the Salzach is also world famous for the Getreidegasse, where you will discover the house where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born. The city owes much of its identity as a metropolis of music and the arts to this musical wunderkind. Though not only to him: In 1920, theater director and producer Max Reinhardt founded the Salzburg Festival, thereby underscoring Salzburg’s reputation as an important center of the arts and culture.

The ultimate in culture: Mozart and the Salzburg Festival

When the call to “Jedermann!” echoes out over Cathedral Square, you know it’s that time of year again: Festival season!  It was on 22 August 1920 that Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s play was first performed on Cathedral Square in Salzburg, directed by Max Reinhardt. However, the origins of the city’s love for culture extend back much further.

In fact, it is generally assumed that the first opera ever performed north of the Alps was presented in Salzburg. The court of Salzburg’s prince-archbishops also had a great appreciation for music and theater. Venues included Salzburg University as well as Salzburg Cathedral. Dramatic productions included everything from medieval mystery- and Passion plays to others with a popular appeal to the middle classes. The Salzburg Festival is regarded as one of the most important celebrations of opera, theater and art in the world today.

As you can see, Salzburg was already a city filled with culture and open to the arts when, on 27 January 1756, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart came into this world. In Salzburg’s historical district, you will encounter traces of our wunderkind practically everywhere you go. Whether Mozart Square, the Mozart Residence or Mozartsteg Bridge – the famous son of Salzburg is ever-present in the city of his birth.

The Historic Center of Salzburg: on the UNESCO World Heritage List

Only the most exceptional natural and cultural monuments make it onto the UNESCO World Heritage List. Aside from architectural edifices and city ensembles, the World Heritage sites also include cultural landscapes, industrial monuments, and works of art such as petroglyphs. Austria itself currently boasts nine World Heritage sites. By signing the UNESCO agreement in 1993, Austria has committed itself to protecting and preserving those World Heritage sites within its borders. The historic center of Salzburg has been a member of the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1996/1997. The protected area of the Old City spans 236 hectares and some 1,000 unique objects.

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