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We love Salzburg

The magic of time fills the air. Whether the meadows are glistening with spring dew or the autumn fog is spreading its wings across the city – nothing detracts from this journey into the past. In the early hours of the morning, when the streets are still illuminated by the old lamp posts, lingering traces of years gone by are still palpable. The aroma of fresh pastry hangs in the air as people begin to hurry along the cobbled paths. Before the first rays of sunlight touch the city, it‘s as if the centuries have stood still and there‘s no escaping this magical feeling. Meander through this wonderful place with curiosity and anticipation and discover and enjoy as many of its different facets as time allows.

The history of Salzburg
The history of Salzburg goes back to 400 B.C. with the first Celtic tribes. Even back then, they recognised the value of the ‚white gold‘ from the mountains – the name of the city and the river is no coincidence, „Salz“ being the German word for „salt“. The region is home to huge salt deposits, which brought vast wealth and attracted the very  first settlers so long ago. After a long period, defined by unrest and migration, Bavarian Duke Theodo ll assigned  Frankish missionary Rupert with the task of building and leading the new diocese of Salzburg. Rupert is known as the founder of the city of Salzburg. In the years that followed, diligent church dignitaries proactively invested their large earnings to secure and protect their property and their city of residence. Thanks to their foresight, Salzburg was immune to the ravages of war for a long time. Lofty ambitions and diplomatic skill enabled the city to avoid conflicts and riots. Instead, universities, churches, wells and a magnificent inner city could be built.

It wasn‘t until 1809 that Salzburg was captured and came under French administration. The French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte surrendered Salzburg to his Bavarian allies shortly afterwards. However, after the fall of Napoleon, just a few years later, Salzburg once again became part of Austria. This period took its toll on the city‘s economy  and it took another 80 years for Salzburg to recover.

This recovery was only possible thanks to industrialisation and the emergence of tourism. The creation of a cultural metropolis with an international reputation also helped to improve the economic situation. However, the final boom didn‘t come until after the Second World War. Today Salzburg has 150,000 inhabitants and enjoys global recognition. In 1997, the entire city centre of Salzburg and the Hohensalzburg Fortress was added to the list of UNESCO world heritage sites.

The famous son and his legacy
The culture and particularly the musical history of the city date back to just after Salzburg was established. Salzburg has been able to hold onto and enhance its outstanding reputation as a city of music throughout the centuries. The royal court orchestras, in particular, strengthened this reputation. Many legendary composers and conductors, such as Georg Muffat, Johann Ernst Eberlin, Johann Michael Haydn and Leopold Mozart took on the management and guidance of these orchestras.

Leopold Mozart was well known as a court conductor, but he is best known today as the father of Salzburg‘s prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791). At just seven years old and already deemed a child genius, W.A. Mozart ‚climbed the charts‘ of his day. He travelled from country to country and presented his compositions to nobility and their courts. The next big step in his career came when he was only thirteen years old and was appointed as unpaid court conductor. At 25, Mozart resigned from this position as he wanted to follow his desire as a free spirit. He continued his career in Vienna, where he lived, composed and finally died at the age of 35. His level of fame as a composer and conductor during his lifetime was still fairly low, but this would change during the next century.

Heavily influenced by classical musical history and royal culture, the city returned to its full glory after turbulent economic times. From 1920 onwards, Salzburg finally became a cultural metropolis, thanks to the introduction of the annual Salzburg Festival. This was founded by director Max Reinhardt, poet Hugo von Hofmannsthal and  composer Richard Strauss. The first festival took place on August 22, 1920 with a production of „Jedermann“ (Everyman) by Hofmannsthal under the direction of Reinhardt in front of the cathedral. Since then, top international stars from the classical music and acting scene have drawn over 250,000 guests to more than 200 events ranging
from operas and plays to concerts.

In addition to the Salzburg Festival, there‘s also an Easter Festival and a Whitsun Festival – all of which embrace classical music. Salzburg is also a global city of music outside festival periods. This atmosphere can be felt during Mozart Week – at least in the concert halls. Around January 27, the birthplace of Mozart honours the composer‘s birthday with a prestigious series of concerts. Today Salzburg offers one of the most extensive ranges of classical and jazz concerts and festival days.

Modern tourism meets history
This background knowledge makes Salzburg all the more magical. Especially when you pause on a small bench in front of the Mirabell Palace and watch as people stroll by in wonder. The Dwarf Garden, which can be accessed via a small set of steps, and features 16 small dwarves made of marble, is a real eye-catching attraction. From the Mirabell Gardens, you can wander towards the Lederergasse, past the famous Mozart Residence where he lived for eight years before moving to Vienna. The direct route into Salzburg‘s old town is strewn with magical sights and historical details, romantic cafés and truly traditional companies. Here you have the opportunity to sample
Salzburg‘s delicacies and purchase a few of the world-famous Mozart balls. After these refreshments, it‘s time to explore the Salzburg Grünmarkt. The market offers everything from fruit and vegetables to all kinds of fresh bedding plants. After passing the old marketplace head towards the Residenzplatz, where the famous Residenzbrunnen  fountain is located – Europe‘s second-largest marble fountain. If you are visiting Salzburg at Christmas, the Residenzplatz is a mustsee, as the annual Salzburg Christmas Market is held there. To round off your day, Salzburg has a very special attraction – the Hohensalzburg Fortress. From the fortress, visitors can enjoy a breathtaking
view across the city and its amazing surroundings as well as the numerous impressive buildings that shape the city‘s skyline.

A day in Salzburg is one filled with numerous highlights – let yourself be carried away by the magic of the city as you take it all in. After all, Salzburg is regarded as „the stage of the world“.

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