Salzburg is known for its many palaces, each with a colorful history. Yesterday I walked around Salzburg’s Old Town and beautiful Mirabell Palace Gardens. In 1997, UNESCO designated the historic city a world heritage site.
Mirabell Palace was built in 1606 by Prince Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau for Salome Alt, the prince archbishop’s mistress. Through the years, the palace changed hands, depending on the politics and monarch in power. Embellished and remodeled from time to time, many famous personalities visited or lived at Mirabell Palace.
Mirabell Park is featured in “The Sound of Music”. A special city tour retraces the famous musical and its filming locations in Salzburg. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart grew up in Salzburg and spent his childhood nearby at Mozarts Geburtshaus – another famous local site. Mozart and his sister supposedly played their musical instruments at Mirabell Palace.
Today the Palace houses the offices of Salzburg’s mayor and the city’s municipal administration. Marble Hall, formerly the prince archbishop’s banquet hall, is one of the “most beautiful wedding halls in the world”. It’s “also used an elegant venue for conferences, award ceremonies, and the exquisite Salzburger Schlosskonzerte concerts”.
Mirabell Gardens look across the courtyard toward the Festung Hohensalzburg Fortress and the Salzburger Dom Cathedral. There is much history associated with the beautiful Baroque gardens. They contain statues of Roman gods, marble railings and vases, and fountains.
This evening I’m attending a Mozart concert at Baroque Hall which is just below the Festung Hohensalzburg Fortress on Festungsberg Hill and near the Salzburger Dom Cathedral and Franciscan Church and Monastery of St. Peter. Although the fortress and cathedrals tower over the city, when you’re walking on the cobbled streets of Old Town you can’t see them. The Salzach River divides Salzburg and there are several foot bridges connecting the two sides. Even though it’s a small area, it’s easy to get lost and I did, several times.
The castles can get a bit overwhelming and with Vienna and Prague left to visit on this trip – there will be more to see!