Apart from music, what does the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Maria von Trapp have in common? They all have a connection with the Austrian city of Salzburg. Mozart was born there and Von Trapp was a novice nun at the convent.
Salzburg literally translates as Salt Castle. There is a large castle perched high above the city, but the connection to salt is a little less obvious. It was the trade in salt that made Salzburg exceedingly prosperous.
The city is compact and for the most part very walkable. An alternative to walking is to take a ride in a fiaker, a horse-drawn carriage.
The following are just a few must-see locations to explore when visiting Salzburg…
Visit Mozart Geburtshaus (Mozart’s Birthplace)
When visiting Salzburg, a visit to the house where the composer Amadeus Mozart was born and lived during his early childhood is a must.
The house is now a museum and takes you through Mozart’s and his family’s life and times. There are original documents and musical scores as well as the young child’s violin and clavichord.
Ticket (Adult): € 11.00
Mozart’s house is on one of the oldest and most delightful of Salzburg’s streets.
This street is known for its decorated doorways, wrought-iron advertising signs and through-houses. The ornamental and elaborate signs above the shops are still handmade in a workshop on Getridegasse and indicate what the shop beneath sells. Many of the shops are well-known, international luxury brands.
This palace looking out over Domplatz and Residenzplatz, Salzburg’s two main squares, was the home of the powerful Salzburg Prince-Archbishops. Today, it houses the Salzburg Museum and an art gallery.
Museum entry: Up to €10.00
Salzburger Dom (Salzburg Cathedral)
The 17th-century Early Baroque cathedral dominates Domplatz and has an equally imposing interior.
Both Joseph Mohr, who wrote ‘Silent Night’, and Mozart were christened in the 14th century baptismal font in the cathedral. Other highlights include the seven bells, each with a name, the impressive organ and the cathedral gates representing Faith, Hope and Love. The gate representing Love is larger, referencing 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter of the Bible.
The Hohensalzburg – The castle
From anywhere in the city of Salzburg you cannot miss the imposing castle fortress high above the historical centre.
While there’s been a castle on the site since 1077, the present imposing structure, the largest in Central Europe, was completed in 1500. Apart from various rooms with the original furnishings, there are several museums to visit. The Marionette Museum is especially popular with families. You can reach the fortress by climbing the hill or take the funicular.
Just outside Salzburg
Hellbrunn Palace was built as a residence for one of the powerful prince-archbishops of Salzburg in the early 1600s. Although the rooms are worth a visit, it’s better known for its trick fountains.
Designed and built 400 years ago to entertain guests, they are as much fun today as when they were first built. Grottos, water jets and water-powered figures surprise unwary guests. In July and August, they are accompanied by a light and sound show in the evenings.
There’s great deal more to do and see in Salzburg all year round. Being the birthplace of Mozart inevitably means there are a variety of concerts featuring his music and those of his contemporaries as well as other classical composers with a connection to the city. Although there are concerts all year round, the best time to visit for classical music buffs is during the Salzburg Festival. (20 July – 31 August 2019)
For more information on what to see and do visit the city’s website at www.salzburg.info
Gordon Lethbridge is editor and blogger at www.travelunpacked.co.uk and has visited Salzburg on several occasions in his role as a travel writer.