The magical city of Salzburg, Austria’s fourth largest town and one of the best preserved cities north of the Alps, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, is nestled under the mountains on the Salzach River. Famous for being the home of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and also The Sound of Music. Salzburg, the peach of Austria; prosperous, rich in culture and outstanding natural beauty has an ancient and fascinating story.
Salt Mining in Salzburg
It’s name ‘Såizburg’; literally: “Salt Fortress” speaks of its incredible heritage dating back to Neolithic man and the Romans, who mined the salt from the nearby mines and first named the city of Salzburg, Iuvavum. The origin of salt mining began over 7000 years ago and played a significant part in making Salzburg a powerful trading community. A 60 minute drive from the city to the Dürrnberg plateau above Hallein, takes you to the world’s oldest, accessible salt mine The Hallein Salt Mine, also known as Salzbergwerk Dürrnberg, where you discover how this “white gold” was processed. The Old Salt Works, an austere quadrangle of buildings, with the main pumping hall and the magnificent spring works chapel, is a Neo-Roman style treasure. The salt minerals deposited in the water around Salzburg also have many healing properties which modern science is only just beginning to understand. This has also increased the prosperity of the region as a medicinal spa destination.
The Hohensalzburg Castle
In 1077 work on the Hohensalzburg Castle began, the eye-catching fortress high above the baroque towers of the city. A highly visible landmark & unmistakable part of the silhouette of Salzburg.
Salzburg through the ages
During the 14th century the plague killed nearly one third of Salzburg’s population. Later that same century Salzburg also became an independant entity within the Holy Roman Empire. In 1492 the Stiegl Brewery was founded, it still remains one of Salzburg′s top-attractions. During the 17th and 18th century Salzburg flourished, the wealth from the salt trade transforming it into one of the world′s most outstanding baroque city with magnificent palaces, churches and gardens. In 1816, Salzburg finally became part of Austria and in 1920 the Salzburg Festival was founded
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 1756 – 5 December 1791)
In 1756 Salzburg′s most famous son was born: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Mozart, the youngest of seven children became one of the most prolific and influential composers of the Classical era despite his short life. Many people believe that Mozart was told to leave Salzburg and that the city disowned him, the truth however is quite different
9 Getreidegasse, Salzburg ~ where Mozart was born
As a small child Mozart and his elder sister, Maria Anna (1751–1829), both incredibly musically talented on the keyboard and violin, toured Europe entertaining royalty and the elite as representatives of Salzburg. These brilliant young stars worked hard and were rewarded with royal like treatment and luxurious acommodation wherever they went. Mostly financed by the church, their lives were very controlled. As a young man of 17, Mozart had tired of this obligation, especially having to compose for the church and left Salzburg escaping to Vienna.
Mozart’s mother’s birth place in St Gilgen. Situated in the Lake District near Salzburg where Mozart’s sister, Maria Anna, moved to.
Mozart continued to be very successful in Vienna but lived a very opulent and lavish lifestyle, especially after his marriage. He died a young man and relatively broke. When his wife, Constanze remarried it was she and her second husband who marketed Mozart, ensuring that he was interred back in Salzburg and that his incredible talent was never forgotten. Mozart composed over 600 works and remains on of the most enduringly popular classical composers. His influence on music is profound, Beethoven composed his own early works in Mozart’s shadow, and Joseph Haydn wrote that “posterity will not see such a talent again in 100 years.”
Salzburg remains a delight to visit, despite inclement weather! Immersed in history and a magical atmosphere, with grand squares, cathedrals and stately buildings. Its’ bustling, tiny streets leading to all sorts of delights! This florist was down a tiny, cobbled alley way just off of Getreidegasse, in the old part of Salzburg.
Getreidegasse (also known as Grain Lane) in Old Salzburg is a charming, narrow street full of tall, tightly grouped houses, courtyards, passageways and busy shops. The carefully crafted, wrought-iron guild signs hanging above making you feel you have stepped into a fairytale.
Originally a main Roman thoroughfare and then an important merchant and retail center. Today there still strict rules about what is allowed in the Getreidegasse, especially the signs which were controlled by the local guilds. This is one of the most photographed, maybe you recognize it!
As a final adieu to Salzburg, The Sound of Music needs one more mention. Contrary to what many people may believe, very little was allowed to be filmed in the city. Memories of World War II were raw and loomed large in people’s minds. Although the mayor gave his permission for filming when the locals of Salzburg heard that their would be Nazi swastikas and ‘Nazi soldiers’ strutting in their beloved city there was a public outrage. Consequently all that was allowed to be filmed was the ‘do-re mi’ song in the Mirabell Park Gardens, where the children and Maria copied the statues’ poses, looking a little grey on a wet and dismal early March morning! All the other scenes were shot outside the city limits although Salzburg will be forever remembered as the home of the cherished Von Trapps and their incredible story.