Salzburg, the gem of the Austrian Alps

Salzburg is a city of historic beauty and natural charm

Its setting is idyllic, and its streets are safe and clean, its people are friendly and polite. It is a show town, a pretty stage set with no apparent purpose but to entertain its guests.  You will find yourself drawn down picturesque alleys, exploring monuments, and nearly everything is within walking distance. The city itself is situated by the river Salzach and at an altitude of approximately 430 meters; several hills shape it. The exceptionally well-preserved Medieval and Baroque old town (city centre) is a testimony to the wealth of the former city-state. It has a population of approximately 150,000 people, which makes it the fourth-biggest city of Austria (after Vienna, Graz, and Linz).

The older part of the city is on the left bank of the Salzach. Its central point being the Residenz Platz, in the middle of which is the Residenz Brunnen, a fountain built in 1664 by Antonio Dario.  Each of the sea-horses and figures of Atlas is hewn out of a single block of marble, and at the summit, a Triton spouts water from a horn.

On the west side of the Platz is the spacious Residenz Schloss. The first documented reference to the Residenz dates back to 1232. Archbishop Conrad, I started the construction of the Bishop’s Palace after the end of the investiture conflict. Several renovations took place between 1519 and 1586, and the Residenz obtained today’s appearance under Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau (1587–1612).

The house in which the great composer (1756-91) was born, No. 9 Getreidegasse contains the interesting Mozart Museum on the third floor. The house in which Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born on January 27, 1756, is one of the most frequently visited museums in the world.

Salzburg Cathedral

Salzburg Cathedral is the seventeenth-century Baroque cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Salzburg dedicated to Saint Rupert and Saint Vergilius. It was consecrated in 1628, during the thirty years’ war.  The original church built in 774 was founded by St. Virgil and it was replaced in 1628 by the church in its place today. The Domplatz is surrounded by the administration buildings and the statue of Mary from 1771, is looking away from the church, welcoming visitors. The dome is surrounded by the tombs of 10 archbishops from the 17th Century. On the south side of the cathedral is the Kapitelplatz with the Kapitelschwemme, a nice marble horse-pond, with the inscription “LeopoLDVs PrInCeps Me eXstrVXIt.”, MD CLL XXVV II (Prince Leopold had me built) In the south-west corner of the Kapitelplatz is the entrance to the ancient Cemetery of St. Peter, adjoining the steep cliff between the Monchsberg and the citadel. The late-Gothic Chapel of St. Margaret in the middle, erected in 1483, restored in 1864, contains tombstones of the 15th Century. In the vicinity is the Franciscan Church of the 13th Century with a Romanesque south portal and a Gothic tower restored in 1866. The hexagonal choir borne by columns, with its network vaulting and its series of chapels, dates from the 15th Century.

It is a monastery of great antiquity, whose foundation by St. Rupert, Apostle of Bavaria, dates from the seventh century. In the eighth century, it took the rule of St. Benedict and from that period, through many difficulties, St. Peter’s has flourished as an abbey of the illustrious Order of that holy Patriarch.


Above the town, on the south-east point of the Mönchsberg, is the fortress of Hohensalzburg Fortress from 1780.  Always a visible landmark, the castle is an unmistakable part of the world-famous Salzburg silhouette. The fortress was founded in 1077 under Archbishop Gebhard and extended at different periods; the more significant part of the present buildings and towers dates from 1496-1519. The Church of St. George (pictured above) in the castle-yard, erected in 1502, contains reliefs of the Twelve Apostles in red marble. On the exterior is a relief commemorating its founder Archbishop.


Just below the fortress, is the Nonnberg, a hill that owes its name to a Benedictine nunnery situated there. The Gothic Convent Church founded 1009 and completely restored in the 15th Century possesses a fine winged altar with a stained-glass window and behind it, a crypt with interesting columns, and ancient frescoes in the tower. Nonnberg Nunnery was founded between 713 and 715 and is considered to be the oldest nunnery in the World that existed with no interruptions. The nunnery′s church Maria Himmelfahrt is Salzburg′s oldest church dedicated to the holy Virgin Mary and is one of the most significant churches of the city. It was built in the late-gothic style with three naves from 1464 to 1506 after a fire had destroyed a good part of the original building in 1423.

Mirabell Palace

The Mirabell Palace erected in 1606 by Archbishop Wolf Dietrich, rebuilt after a fire in 1818, is now the property of the town. The staircase is adorned with sculptures by Georg Raphel Donner in 1726. Behind the palace is the Mirabell Garden laid out in the old French fashion, with fountains, marble statues, and an aviary.

Have you been to Salzburg? What were your favourite things to see and do in the city!

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