With its medieval citadel, baroque palaces and Alpine vistas, Salzburg I doubt it ever had trouble luring visitors. The Austrian city abounds with tourists, most searching for the sound of music, be it Mozart or the von Trapps. Yet some of its best offerings are its least historic: contemporary galleries, fair trade coffeehouses and the futuristic Hangar 7 complex. In winter, the city is at its most hospitable, as squares transform into Christmas markets, and candlelit taverns fill with skiers refueling on Teutonic comfort food.
So what is it about Salzburg that makes it so special?
Salzburg was the birthplace of 18th-century composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. There’s a Mozart College for musicians, and plenty of opportunities to hear his music. More recently, the city was the setting for the incredibly popular film and musical The Sound of Music.
I hear it stages 4,200 concerts a year - you can literally enjoy music morning, noon and night!
Salzburg's Unesco-listed "Old Town" (Altstadt) is renowned for its baroque architecture and is one of the best-preserved city centers north of the Alps. It hasn’t changed much since Mozart’s day. Graceful domes and spires are set against a cliff top fortress and the mountains.
Salzburg's most visible landmark is the 900-year-old cliff-top fortress, on Mönchsberg Mountain, one of the biggest and best-preserved medieval castles in Europe. It was built in 1077, and offers magnificent views over the city's spires, the Salzach River and the mountains. It’s an invigorating 15-minute walk from the center, or you can also take the glass Festungsbahn Funicular.
Also, I would recommend you visit the Golden Hall - where lavish banquets were once held - featuring a gold-studded ceiling imitating a starry night sky. Concerts are held in the Golden Hall, often focusing on Mozart’s work.
Salzburg’s Dom is a masterpiece of baroque art. Bronze portals symbolizing faith, hope and charity lead into the cathedral. In the nave, the intricate stucco and Arsenio Mascagni’s ceiling frescoes depicting the Passion of Christ guide the eye to the dome. Much of Salzburg’s grandeur, including the cathedral, is due to Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau. Arriving from Rome in 1587, he set out to create a Baroque city north of the Alps as splendid as Rome. He commissioned Italian architects to design the cathedral and, for his mistress, the Mirabell Palace. During Advent the Domplatz is the setting for one of Austria’s prettiest Christmas markets.
Salzburg Music and Drama Festival
This prominent festival of music and drama first started in 1920. Ever since, it’s held each summer, for five weeks starting in late July. A highlight is the annual performance of the play Jedermann (Everyman) by Hugo von Hofmannsthal
High above the city, the boxlike Museum der Moderne hosts exhibitions of edgy art, with the bonus of sensational views across the old town.
So if you are looking for a city full of music, art and culture, Salzburg is the place to go to!
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