Salzburg, Austria

Panoramic view of Salzburg. Photo © Sacred Destinations.
"All Salzburg is a stage.
Its beauty, its tradition, its history... its round of music...
all combine to lift you out of everyday life,
to make you forget that somewhere far off, life hides another,
drearier, harder, and more unpleasant reality."

-- Count Ferdinand Czernin, This Salzburg, 1937

Occupying both sides of the Salzach River between two mountains (Kapuzinerberg and Mönchsberg), Salzburg is a beautiful city and popular tourist destination in western Austria. Salzburg welcomes more than 8 million visitors a year, many of whom come to see the world-famous Salzburger Festspiele (Salzburg Festival) featuring performances of Mozart by some of the world's greatest musicians.

Salzburg is overflowing with beautiful and historic buildings - including many important churches, profiled in this section - but many visitors to Salzburg also come to see the sites (and festival) associated with Mozart, who was born here in 1756, and the locations featured in the movie The Sound of Music, which was filmed here in 1964.

Salzburg was settled by the Romans, who called it Juvavum, and a monastery was established here around 700 AD, but the city as we know it today began with the powerful Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich in the late 16th century. So powerful were the Archbishops of Salzburg at that time - and so splendid was their gleaming Baroque city - that Salzburg was dubbed the "German Rome." Formerly a part of the Holy Roman Empire, the Salzburg area became part of Austria after the Congress of Vienna in 1816.

Salzburg Cathedral
Hailed by some as the most perfect Renaissance building in the Germanic countries, Salzburg's cathedral has a marble facade, twin symmetrical towers and the font in which Mozart was baptized.
Nonnberg Convent
Primarily famous as the convent of Maria, both in real life and in The Sound of Music, Nonnberg is also one of the oldest nunneries in the world and boasts 10th-century Romanesque frescoes.
Franciscan Church
Built in the 13th century over an earlier church, this small edifice next to the cathedral is interesting for its venerable age and mixture of styles. The semicircular choir features elaborate vaults and nine chapels.
Holy Trinity Church
Constructed in 1694 by the famous Baroque master builder Fischer von Erlach, Holy Trinity Church has a sweeping facade that is among the most excellent examples of the unexaggerated Baroque style.
St. Peter's Cemetery and Catacombs
Dating back to 1627, this old cemetery is a worthy attraction in itself and it's also where the Von Trapp family hid out in The Sound of Music. In the cliffs above are interesting monastic catacombs.
St. Michael's Church
This tiny pink church on the Residenzplatz is the oldest church in Salzburg, dating from around 800 AD or earlier.
Collegiate Church
This is Fischer von Erlach's greatest and largest Salzburg church and one of the most celebrated Baroque churches in Austria. It was built between 1694 and 1707 for the local Benedictine university.
St. Peter's Abbey
The most sumptuous church in Salzburg, the Abbey Church of St. Peter was founded in 696 AD by St. Rupert, whose tomb is here. Here Mozart's famed Mass in C Minor premiered in 1783.