Acclaimed as one of the most beautiful Baroque style cities in Europe, Salzburg oozes the history and significance of the Prince-Archbishops who once ruled this area. There is, as a result, plenty to keep you occupied in and around the old town. The historic centre of Salzburg has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1996. Theres are just a few of my selections.
Mozarts Geburtshaus and Getreidegasse - The Getreidegasse (Grain Lane) is a busy shopping street in the Old Town of Salzburg. Getreidegasse is probably most famous for it's old-style shop signs. Mozats Geburtshaus (at Getreidegasse 9) is where the famous Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born and spent the first 17 years of his life.
Domkirche - Probably the most famous of the Salzburger Churches - and not without reason. The 17th Century Baroque cathedral boasts not only an impressive façade but one of the elegant domes I know about. Originally to a design by Vincent Scamozzi, hired by Wolf Dietrich, construction actually began under Dietrichs successor Markus Sitticus von Hohenems under whom Santino Solari fundamentally changed Scamozzis plans. The present Cathedral is, partially at least, built on the foundations of the old basilica and foundations stones of the preceding church are visible in Domgrabungen - an excavation site under the Cathedral which also shows artifacts when from when this was the forum of the Roman city Juvavum.
Collegiate Church - The Collegiate Church was designed by Fischer von Erlach between 1694 and 1707, the Church was originally part of the Benedictine University. Disbanded in 1810, the Church was reopened in 1962 as part of the University of Salzburg. The convex façade is impressive and juts out like a giant bay window. The high altar by Anton Pfaffinger dates from 1740 and includes classical-style columns which represent the Seven Pillars of Wisdom and altar paintings by Johann Michael Rottmayr. There's a regular market in the square which surrounds the Collegiate Church.
Fransiscan Church - The Fransiscan Church is a wonderful church to visit becuase of its mix of architectural styles. Construction began in the 8th century and the evolution of the interior wasn't finished for several hundred years. The nave, in the Romanesque style, Gothic choir with ornate ribbed vaulting and nine baroque chapels by Fischer von Erlach span several hundred years of development and architectural styles. The church was renovated in the neo-Gothic style in 1866.
Hohensalzburg Fortress - Imperiously situated on the Monchsberg above the Salzburger Old Town, the Hohensalzburg is one of the most dominating features of the Salzburg skyline. Home to several museums, the fortress is worth a visit purely for the vistas alone.
Schloss Hellbrunn - Early baroque palace constructed between 1613-19 by Markus Sittikus von Hohenems − the rather cheeky Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg who conceived the "Watergames" or joke fountains, designed to squirt water at unsuspecting guests, which adorn the gardens of the Schloss. There's no bedroom at Schloss Hellbrunn which was designed as a day residence of the Prince-Archbishop who would return to Salzburg in the evenings.
Church of St Blasius - which was originally constructed for the peoples hospital in 1327 and consecrated in 1350. The rather dark Gothic / Romanesque Church also boasts some Baroque elements. Of particular note are the tabernacle which dates from 1481, and an altarpiece by Paul Trodger dating from 1746 depicting the adoration of the Magi. The High Altar is after a design by Louis Grenler and dates from 1785 and the cruicifixion grouping is by Franz Hitzl. The stained glass dates from 1947/8 is from Albert Birkle
Greek Catholic Church of St Mark - In Gstatteng, alongside a row of houses which have been hollowed into the sheer cliff face of the Monchsberg - the Greek Catholic Church of St Mark boasts an elaborate interior. Church is well lit by windows surrounding the dome above a Greek cross.
Schloss Mirabell and the Dwarf Park - The Schloss Mirabell - now offices of the mayor and the municipal councile - is famed for its Marble hall and Baroque staircase (which can be visited during the week) but is now mostly off-limits to the public. Schloss Mirabell is, however, surrounded by some beautiful gardens laid out under Prince-Archbishop Johann Ernst Graf von Thun to the design by (unsurprisingly) Fischer von Erlach and were remodelled by Franz Anton Danreiter in 1730.
St Sebastian Church and Cemetary - A short walk from the Schloss Mirabell is the St Sebastian Church and its cemetary. The Church, somewhat restrained in its Baroqueness, is outclassed by its fascinating cemetary with assorted "celebrities" buried therein. Leopold Mozart, Wolfgangs father, is burried alongside Constanze Weber (Wolfgangs wife) who, in turn, is buried alongside her second husband. Cardinal Wolf Dieter - one time Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg is emtombed, quite ostentatiously, is a grand mausoleum in the centre of the graveyard. The selfstyled Paracelsus is also buried with an elborate headstone at the church-end of the cemetary. Keep an eye out for the skulls which decorate many of the tombstones.
Horse wells (Pferdeschwemme) - I'm not normally one to mention horse troughs - but the ones in Salzburg are worth it. Usually in full Baroque style trough with paintings and depicting horses in a variety of poses and scenes - the one pictured is in the old town and there's another adjacent to the Cathedral. Now, of course, they serve no particular purpose other than the purely decorative - some like to toss coins in but thats not the same as Trevi.
Markets - A flea market is held in the courtyard of the Speilzeugmuseum and a food market outside the Collegial Church - both of which are worth visiting for nick-nacks and fine samples of local produce. On our last visit to Salzburg, we picked up some excellent Kirsch from Schroffenbrennerei Grödig from the food market at the Collegial Church. There's also a regular Christmas Markets in Salzburgs Old Town.
Salzburg - St Sebastiankirche - Brief notes on and about the St Sebastian Kirche in Salzburg
Austria - recommended places to stay - Recommended hotels in Vienna, Salzburg and Bregenz
Salzburg / Bregenz - accomodation summary - Comments on our hotels during a trip to Bregenz and Salzburg
Glonn - grotto near the Bavarian village of Glonn - Grotto on the hill near Glonn in the Bavarian countryside
Munich - Frauenkirche - The Frauenkirche in Munich seen from the tower of the Rathaus
Munich - Staatskanzlei - Detail of the exterior of the Staatskanzlei in Munich
Dachau - a visit to the concentration camp - Travelogue from a weekend trip to Dachau, Bavaria
Munich - cuppola of the Theatine Church - Interior of the Baroque cuppola of the Theatine Church in central Munich
Munich - Theatine Church interior - Detail of the Baroque interior of the Theatine Church in central Munich
Dachau - Schloss Dachau - Historical notes on Schloss Dachau near Münich, Germany
Mark Sukhija is a travel and wine blogger, photographer, tourism researcher, hat-touting, white-shirt-wearing, New Zealand fantatic and eclipse chaser. Aside from at least annual visits to New Zealand, Mark has seen eclipses in South Australia (2002), Libya (2006), China (2009) and Queensland (2012). After twelve years in Switzerland, Mark moved back to London in 2012. You can follow Mark on Twitter or Facebook