From New World Encyclopedia

Coat of arms of Salzburg Location of Salzburg in Austria

Country Austria
State Salzburg
Administrative region Statutory city
Population 150,269 (01.01.2007 [1])
Area 65.678 km²
Population density 2,288 /km²
Elevation 424 m
Coordinates 47°48′N 13°02′E / 47.8, 13.033Coordinates: 47°48′N 13°02′E / 47.8, 13.033
Postal code 5020
Area code 0662
Mayor Heinz Schaden (SPÖ)
Website Retrieved September 22, 2007.

Salzburg is the fourth-largest city in Austria, with a population of 150,000 and is the capital of the federal state of Salzburg. The Baroque architecture of Salzburg's "Old Town" represents one of the best-preserved city centers in the German-speaking world, and was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.

Salzburg was established around 696 C.E. when the missionary St. Rupert arrived in the area. The first establishment of Salzburg was the Benedictine monastery of St. Peters. The small town quickly became an independent church state which was ruled by a series of powerful archbishops, at that time managed in a Vatican-like style and was called the "Rome of the North." Its fame as a center of Church power and majesty was matched by its reputation for intolerance, as its ruler repressed heretics in the Middle Ages, expelled the city's Jews in the late fifteenth century, and finally forced the Protestants to leave on a cruel forced exodus in 1731.

The face of the modern Salzburg, dominated by the Baroque majesty of the old town, was created in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Even today, over 120 churches, castles, and cathedrals show the power of the Salzburg archbishops.

In 1756, the most famous Austrian, Mozart, was born in Salzburg. After 1816, Salzburg became part of the Habsburg Empire.

Salzburg is only two hours from Munich and one hour from Vienna by train. More than 4,500 cultural events take place every year in Salzburg, including the world-famous Salzburg Festival, making the city one of the most important cultural centers of Europe. The city is noted for its Alpine setting, which is seen in parts of the musical and film The Sound of Music. Salzburg is also a student city, with three universities.

Historic Center of the City of Salzburg*
UNESCO World Heritage Site

The old town seen over the River Salzach, viewed from the Hohensalzburg fortress.
State Party Flag of Austria Austria
Type Cultural
Criteria ii, iv, vi
Reference 784
Region** Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 1996  (20th Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.


Salzburg lies on the banks of the Salzach river, at the northern boundary of the Alps. The mountains to Salzburg's south contrast with the rolling plains to the north. The closest alpine peak, the 6,470-foot-high Untersberg, is only a few miles from the city center. The Altstadt, or "old town," is dominated by its baroque towers and churches and the massive Festung Hohensalzburg. This area is surrounded by two smaller mountains, the Mönchsberg and Kapuzinerberg, as the green lung of the city. Salzburg is approximately 93 miles east of Munich, Germany, and 186 miles west of Vienna.


Ancient times and Middle Ages

Saint Rupert of Salzburg

Traces of human settlements have been found in the area, dating to the Neolithic Age; probably it was later a Celt camp. Starting from 15 B.C.E., the small communities were grouped into a single town, which was named by the Romans as Juvavum. A municipium from 45 Common Era C.E., it became one of the most important cities in the province of Noricum. Juvavum declined sharply after the collapse of the Norican frontier, and by the late-seventh century it had become a near ruin.

The Life of Saint Rupert credits the saint with the city's rebirth. When Theodo of Bavaria asked Rupert to become bishop c. 696, Rupert reconnoitered the Salzach River for the site of his basilica. Rupert chose Juvavum, ordained priests, and annexed its manor, Piding. Rupert named the city "Salzburg," and then left to evangelize among the pagans.

The name Salzburg literally means "Salt Castle," and derives its name from the barges carrying salt on the Salzach River. By 798, Salzburg was the seat of an archbishopric, and for almost 1,000 years it was the residence of the autocratic archbishops of Salzburg, who held powers unbridled by any feudal lord and were the leading ecclesiastics of the German-speaking world.

The Festung Hohensalzburg

The Romanesque period (1000-1250) was a great era of growth and development in Salzburg, when the Festung Hohensalzburg, the city's fortress, and numerous churches were built—and so well built that the German king Conrad III was moved to say that he had never seen finer churches than those of Salzburg. The main structure of St. Peter's Church dates from the twelfth century. During this period, the Cathedral was also rebuilt. With its five aisles it was the largest Romanesque church in the Holy Roman Empire. Remains of the frescoes which then decorated the interiors of their churches have survived in the Nonnberg convent. In 1278, the archbishops of Salzburg became princes of the Holy Roman Empire and wielded their power with extreme intolerance.

During the Gothic period (1250-1530), however, the secular power of the archbishops suffered severe reverses in the Hungarian wars, but this was nevertheless a time of rich artistic activity. A new social class now came to the fore in the form of well-to-do townspeople, grown wealthy through their trade with Nuremberg, Augsburg, Vienna, and Venice. The energetic Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach (1495-1519) rebuilt the Hohensalzburg into the form in which we see it today. In the late-fourteenth century, independence from Bavaria was secured.

The Blasiuskirche (St. Blaise's Church) was built in the fourteenth century, followed in the fifteenth century by the magnificent choir of the Franciscan Church, the church of the Nonnberg convent, and St. Margaret's Chapel in St. Peter's Churchyard. The sculpture of the period is represented by many pieces carved from the beautiful red marble, notable among them the magnificent monument of Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach on the outer wall of St. George's Chapel in the Hohensalzburg.

In the late-fifteenth century, the Jews were expelled from city.

The Cathedral of Salzburg

Salzburg’s third great period of artistic creation, the Baroque age, began in the reign of Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau (1578-1612). A scion of the Medici family on his mother's side and educated in Rome, this great prince of the Church completely transformed the face of the town, although most of his plans were carried to completion only in the time of his successors.

The Cathedral was built up to roof level by Markus Sittikus of Hohenems (1612-1619) and completed (1619-1653) by Paris Count of Lodron, who also enclosed the town within new and powerful fortifications (1620-1644) which saved it from the horrors of the Thirty Years' War. In the reign of Archbishop Johann Ernst von Thun (1687-1709), the architect Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach created the magnificently harmonious ensemble of Baroque architecture to which Salzburg owes its world renown. Of the 12 buildings in and around Salzburg for which Fischer von Erlach was responsible, the Kollegienkirche is particularly notable, ranking as one of the outstanding achievements of all Baroque architecture.

The new archbishop, Franz Anton von Harrach (1709-1727), replaced Fischer von Erlach with his like-minded rival Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt, architect of the Belvedere Palace in Vienna, who was responsible for the rebuilding of the Residenz and Schloss Mirabell.

Expulsion of the Protestants

On October 31, 1731, on the anniversary of Martin Luther's nailing of his 95 Theses to the Wittenberg School door, Roman Catholic Archbishop Count Leopold Anton von Firmian signed an edict of expulsion, the Emigrationspatent, declaring that all Protestants recant their non-Catholic beliefs or be banished. Believing that his edict would drive away a few hundred troublesome infidels in the hills around the town, Firmian was surprised when 21,475 citizens professed on a public list their Protestant beliefs.

View of the old town and fortress, seen from Kapuzinerberg

Landowners were given three months to sell their lands and leave. Cattle, sheep, furniture, and land all had to be dumped on the market, and the Salzburgers received little money from the well-to-do Catholic allies of Von Firmian. The archbishop himself allegedly confiscated much of their land for his own family and ordered all Protestant books and Bibles burned. Many children aged 12 and under were seized to be raised as Roman Catholics.

Non-owner farmers, tradesmen, laborers, and miners were given only eight days to sell what they could and leave. The first refugees marched north through the Alps in desperately cold temperatures and snow storms, seeking shelter in the few cities of Germany controlled by Protestant Princes, while their children walked or rode on wooden wagons loaded with baggage. As they went, the exiles' savings were quickly drained away as they were set upon by highwaymen.

The story of their plight spread quickly as their columns marched north. Goethe wrote the poem Hermann and Dorothea about the Salzburg exiles' march. Protestants and even some Catholics were horrified at the cruelty of their expulsion in winter, and the courage they had shown by not renouncing their faith. Slowly at first, they came upon towns that welcomed them and offered them aid. But there was no place where such a large number of refugees could settle.

Early Morning Scene

Finally, in 1732, King Frederick William I of Prussia accepted 12,000 Salzburger Protestant emigrants, who settled in areas of East Prussia that had been devastated by the plague 20 years before. Their new homelands were located in what today is northeastern Poland, the Kaliningrad Oblast, and Lithuania. Other, smaller groups made their way to the Banat region of modern Romania, to what is now Slovakia, to areas near Berlin and Hannover in Germany, and to the Netherlands. Another small group made its way to Debrecen (Hungary).

On March 12, 1734, a small group of about 60 exiles from Salzburg who had traveled to London arrived in the British American colony of Georgia seeking religious freedom. Later in that year, they were joined by a second group, and, by 1741, a total of approximately 150 of the Salzburg exiles had founded the town of Ebenezer on the Savannah River, about 25 miles north of the city of Savannah. Other German-speaking families—mostly Swiss Germans, Palatines, and Swabians—also joined the Salzburgers at Ebenezer. In time, all of these Germanic people became known as "Salzburgers."

From 1772 to 1803, under archbishop Hieronymus von Colloredo, Salzburg was a center of late Illuminism. In 1803, the archbishopric was secularized and handed over to Ferdinand III of Tuscany, former Grand Duke of Tuscany and, two years later, it was annexed to Austria together with Berchtesgaden. In 1810, it was returned to Bavaria, but after the Congress of Vienna (1816) it was again restored to Austria. In 1850, it became an independent territory of the Austrian crown.

Twentieth century

Shoppers on Getreidegasse

In 1921, in an unofficial poll, 99 percent of the citizens voted for annexation to Germany. On March 13, 1938, during the Anschluss, German troops occupied Salzburg; political opponents and Jewish citizens were subsequently arrested, and the synagogue was destroyed. Several POW camps for prisoners from the Soviet Union and other nations were organized in the area.

During World War II, the KZ Salzburg-Maxglan concentration camp was located here. It was a Gypsy camp and provided slave labor to local industry. Allied bombing destroyed 7,600 houses and killed 550 inhabitants. Although the town's bridges and the dome of the cathedral were demolished, much of its Baroque architecture remained intact. As a result, it is one of the few remaining examples of a town of its style. American troops entered Salzburg on May 5, 1945.

In the city of Salzburg there were several DP Camps following World War II. Among these were Riedenburg, Camp Herzl (Franz-Josefs-Kaserne), Camp Mülln, Bet Bialik, Bet Trumpeldor, and New Palestine. Salzburg was the center of the American-occupied area in Austria. As of 2006, Salzburg's Jewish community consisted of little more than 100 people.


The city is serviced by comprehensive rail connections, with frequent east-west trains servicing Vienna, Munich, Innsbruck, and Zürich, including daily high-speed ICE services. The city also acts as a hub for south-bound trains through the Alps into Italy.

Salzburg Airport has scheduled flights to European cities such as Frankfurt, Vienna, London, Amsterdam, and Zürich, as well as Dublin and Charleroi. In addition to these, there is an even greater number of charter flights.

In the main city there is a trolleybus and bus system with more than 20 lines, and service every 10 minutes. Salzburg also has an S-Bahn system with four Lines (S1, S2, S3, S11); trains depart from the main station every 30 minutes. Suburb line number S1 reaches the world famous Silent Night chapel in Oberndorf in about 25 minutes.

Popular culture

Mozart's birthplace at Getreidegasse 9

In the 1960s, the movie The Sound of Music was filmed in Salzburg and the surrounding state of Salzburg. The movie was based on the true story of Maria von Trapp, a Salzburg-based nun who took up with an aristocratic family and fled German occupation. Although the film is not popular among Austrians, the town draws many visitors who wish to visit the filming locations, alone or on tours.

The composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born and raised in Salzburg, for whose archbishops he worked from 1769 to 1781. His house of birth and residence are tourist attractions. His family is buried in a small church graveyard in the old town, and there are many monuments to "Wolferl" in the city.

The Salzburg Festival is a world-famous music festival that attracts visitors during the months of July and August each year. A smaller Salzburg Easter Festival is held around Easter each year. The Europrix multimedia award takes place in Salzburg.


The Salzburg soccer team SV Austria Salzburg reached the UEFA Cup final in 1994. On April 6, 2005 Red Bull bought the club and changed the name into FC Red Bull Salzburg. The stadium of Red Bull Salzburg is the Wals Siezenheim Stadium and will be one of the venues for the 2008 European Football Championship.

Salzburg was a candidate city for 2010 Olympic Winter Games. It was a favorite in its 2010 bid, but lost to Vancouver, Canada. On January 24, 2005, Salzburg was once again selected by the Austrian Olympic Committee as their applicant city for the 2014 Winter Olympics. It was selected as a candidate city by the IOC (International Olympic Committee) on June 22, 2006 along with Sochi, Russia, and PyeongChang, South Korea, but was eliminated in the first round of voting on July 4, 2007. Salzburg is expected to try through at least the 2022 Games in order to win a bid.

Main sights

Salzburg is a tourist favorite, with the number of tourists outnumbering locals by a large margin in peak times. In addition to Mozart's birthplace noted above, other notable places include:

A view of Salzburg from the Fortress Hohensalzburg
Gardens in Mirabell Palace

Old Town

  • The whole Old Town of Salzburg, nominated as a World Heritage Site in 1996
  • The baroque architecture, including the many world famous churches
  • The Salzburg Cathedral
  • The fortress Hohensalzburg, one of the largest castles in Europe, located on a hill dominating the old town with views over Salzburg
  • The Franziskaner church
  • The St. Peter cemetery
  • The Nonnberg Abbey, a Benedictine monastery
  • The "Residenz" Palace (Prince/Archbishop's residence)
  • Mozart's Birthplace
  • Mozart's Residence
  • The University Church
  • The Siegmundstor (or Neutor)
  • The Getreidegasse

Outside the Old Town

  • The Palace of Mirabell with its wide gardens full of flowers
  • The palace of Leopoldskron, a rococo palace and a national historic monument in Leopoldskron-Moos, a southern district of the city of Salzburg
  • Hellbrunn with its parks and castles
  • Sightseeing tours of locations used in the film The Sound of Music

ISBN links support NWE through referral fees

  • Bliss R.L. Salzburg for Pleasure. Pallas Athene, 2006. ISBN 9781873429747
  • Knuth, D.L. Salzburg Secrets. Pleasant Word, 2005. ISBN 9781414104232
  • Naxos DVD. Salzburg: A Musical Journey. Naxos (DVD), 2006. ASIN B000FDDYY6
  • Sterneck, Margaret. Insight Compact Guide Salzburg. Langenscheidt Publishers, 1998. ISBN 9780887295621

External links

All links retrieved December 22, 2022.


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