In ancient times, the site of contemporary Salzburg was occupied by a Celtic camp. It soon developed into a prosperous commercial centre, referred to by the Romans as Juvavum. In the 8th Century, the much-neglected town was revived by a new bishop in the area, who later went down in history as St. Rupert. He gave the town the official new name of Salzburg, literally meaning ‘salt castle’ and deriving from the barges that carried salt down the Salzach River and were charged a toll when passing through town, as was the custom in the times. In 1077, Festung Hohensalzburg, the city’s imposing fortress, was constructed, and expanded over the following centuries.
Your stay in this magical Austrian city is bound to be an enchanting experience, especially if you spend most of your time in Altstadt, the Old Town situated on the left bank of the Salzach River. Salzburg’s historical centre is often said to contain more masterpieces of Baroque architecture per hectare than any other city on the planet. The Old Town is tucked into the narrow space between high-rising cliffs and the left bank of the river. The other side of the river is an entirely different matter, symbolising the modern face of Salzburg, sprawling from Mirabell Castle and its gardens to the shopping centres and offices near the railroad station.
Your personal tastes and available time will dictate your choice of sightseeing activities, but you can be sure that the versatile city of Salzburg holds a treasure to suit every preference. A breathtaking panorama of the stately city can be seen from the 11th-Century Festung Hohensalzburg, a fortress that until the late 15th Century was the residence of the prince archbishops of Salzburg. It rises tall and bold 120 metres above the Salzach River. After moving out of the fortress, the rulers of the area transferred to the Residenz, whose magnificent State Rooms house a museum and an art gallery today.
The spectacular Cathedral of Salzburg sits on the Domplatz, amidst a number of other impressive architectural creations. Erected in the 17th Century, it displays features of the Italian Renaissance with an overlay of Baroque. You might want to check out the cathedral’s schedule for musical performances; you might be able to enjoy a first-rate choir concert just by attending high mass. Nearby St. Peter’s Church dates back to the 12th Century, although its layout and decor were updated during the Baroque era. The graveyard situated beside the church is also worth a visit, and hourly Catacombs tours are scheduled from May through September.
Probably one of the most famous attractions of Salzburg is the Mozart Wohnhaus, the birthplace and childhood home of the famous composer, located in Getreidegasse and an obligatory stop for all fans. The city honors the composer with numerous concerts of his music organised in churches and concert halls all over Salzburg, all year round. The confectioners of Salzburg have come up with their own way to honor their famous citizen. The delicious Mozartkugeln were first created in Salzburg in 1890. Since then, the scrumptious balls of green pistachio marzipan, nougat and dark chocolate are an absolute favourite of locals and visitors from all over the world.