Top Historic Sights in Salzburg, Austria

Explore the historic highlights of Salzburg

St. Mark's Church

St. Mark"s Church (Markuskirche) near the Klaus Gate at the foot of the Mönchsberg is a masterpiece of baroque architecture: the cornerstone for the Ursuline Convent church was laid in 1699. A smaller church located on the same site was destroyed by a disastrous rockfall from the Mönchsberg thirty years before. At the time of its construction, raising a building on the small strip of land between the Mö ...
Founded: 1699 | Location: Salzburg, Austria

Mozart's Residence

In 1773, after the house in which Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had been born became too small, the entire Mozart family moved across the river to the Tanzmeisterhaus on the square then known as Hannibalplatz. The building now accommodates a museum showing the various stations of the lives of the Mozart family. The building is now commonly known as Mozarts Wohnhaus and no-one knows where Hannibalplatz is as its latter-day name ...
Founded: 1617 | Location: Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg Cathedral

Salzburg"s Cathedral is probably the city"s most significant piece of church architecture and its ecclesiastical center. With its magnificent façade and mighty dome it represents the most impressive early Baroque edifice north of the Alps. The cathedral origin is closely connected to the ecclesiastical principality"s demeanour and growth. Destroyed by fire and rebuilt, enlarged and expanded, it bear ...
Founded: 774 AD | Location: Salzburg, Austria

St Peter's Abbey

St Peter's Abbey is a Benedictine monastery and former cathedral in Salzburg. It is considered one of the oldest monasteries in the German-speaking area, and in fact the oldest with a continuous history. St Peter's Abbey was founded in 696 by Saint Rupert at the site of a Late Antique church stemming from the first Christianization in the area. Likewise the establishment of the monastery was meant to forward the missionar ...
Founded: 696 AD | Location: Salzburg, Austria

Hohensalzburg Castle

Hohensalzburg Castle is one of the largest medieval castles in Europe. Construction of the fortress began in 1077 under Archbishop Gebhard von Helfenstein. In the Holy Roman Empire, the archbishops of Salzburg were already powerful political figures and they expanded the castle to protect their interests. Gebhard"s conflict with Emperor Henry IV during the Investiture Controversy influenced the expansion of the castl ...
Founded: 1077 | Location: Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg Residenz

For centuries the Archbishops of Salzburg resided at the Salzburg Residenz and used the palace to present and represent their political status. Today the Salzburg Residenz palace is a museum and one of the most impressive attractions in the city. The earliest recorded reference to the bishop"s palace was in a document dated 1232. Construction began under Archbishop Konrad I. In the 16th century, several changes and ...
Founded: 1596 | Location: Salzburg, Austria

Mirabell Palace

Mirabell Palace with its gardens is part of the Historic Centre of the City of Salzburg UNESCO World Heritage Site. The palace was built about 1606 on the shore of the Salzach river north of the medieval city walls, at the behest of Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich Raitenau. The Archbishop suffered from gout and had a stroke the year before; to evade the narrow streets of the city, he decided to erect a pleasure palace for ...
Founded: 1606 | Location: Salzburg, Austria

Mozart's Birthplace

Salzburg’s Wunderkind – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – was born in what is known as the Hagenauer House at no. 9 Getreidegasse on the 27th January 1756. He lived there with his sister Nannerl and his parents until 1773. Mozart’s Geburtshaus now houses a museum open all year round. Mozart’s Geburtshaus guides guests through the original rooms in which the Mozart family lived and presents a range of artefacts, includi ...
Founded: 1756 | Location: Salzburg, Austria

Holy Trinity Church

The Holy Trinity Church was built in the years 1694–1702. Authority of the church and the seminary was the founder Prince Archbishop Johann Ernst von Thun. The church, together with the same time build St. John's Church (hospital church) the first building designed by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach in Salzburg. He used as models various religious buildings in Rome—especially Francesco Borromini's Church Sant'Agnes ...
Founded: 1694-1702 | Location: Salzburg, Austria

Freisaal Castle

The scenic Freisaal Castle dates from the Middle ages. The oldest record of the building dates back to 1392. The name is derived from 'Freudensaal', meaning 'pleasure hall'. Its original purpose was just that: to serve as a pleasure castle for Prince Archbishop Pilgrim II. von Puchheim. Ernst von Bayern re-modelled the building in 1549. A fundamental change in the building′s structures was cause ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Salzburg, Austria

Hellbrunn Palace

Between 1612 and 1615, Salzburg’s prince-archbishop Markus Sittikus commissioned the building of a summer residence at the foot of Hellbrunn mountain, a location already abundant in naturally flowing waters. Based on Italian models and in a relatively short period of time, an architectural jewel had been created, still reckoned amongst the most magnificent Renaissance buildings north of the Alps. Hellbrunn was only ...
Founded: 1612-1619 | Location: Salzburg, Austria

Petersfriedhof

The Petersfriedhof or St. Peter"s Cemetery is - together with the burial site at Nonnberg Abbey - the oldest cemetery in Salzburg. It is one of Salzburg"s most popular tourist attractions. Its origins date back to about 700, when the adjacent St. Peter"s Abbey was established by Saint Rupert of Salzburg. The abbey"s cemetery, probably at the site of an even earlier burial place, was first mentioned in ...
Founded: 700 AD | Location: Salzburg, Austria

Schloss Aigen

Schloss Aigen is an old noble residence in the south of the city of Salzburg. The history of estate dates from the 15th century, but current buildings were built after 1614. The castle, church, an old cemetery and annex buildings still remain. Today Schloss Aigen is a restaurant and hosts weddings and other events.
Founded: 1614 | Location: Salzburg, Austria

Collegiate Church

The Kollegienkirche was built between 1694 and 1707 for the local Benedictine university founded in 1622. The university was disbanded in 1810 but reopened in 1962 as part of the University of Salzburg. Certainly the largest and best Salzburg church designed by Erlach (who also built the Holy Trinity Church and renovated the Franciscan Church), the Collegiate Church is also one of the most celebrated Baroque churches in ...
Founded: 1694-1707 | Location: Salzburg, Austria

Franciscan Church

The Franciscan Church (Franziskanerkirche) is one of the oldest churches in Salzburg. The first church on this site was built in the eighth century during the time of Saint Virgil, who may have used it for baptisms. A document from 1139 mentions a parish church on this site. That church was destroyed by fire in 1167, together with five other churches, including the cathedral. Starting in 1208, the central nave of the chur ...
Founded: 1208 | Location: Salzburg, Austria

St. Cajetan Church

In 1591 Archbishop Wolf Dietrich purchased a hospital and church in today"s Kai District to establish a seminary. It was to be managed by an order of Theatine monks, founded by St. Cajetan and Pietro Caraffa in 1524. The order was brought to Salzburg in 1685 to found a new mission. Shortly thereafter a decision was reached to build a church and abbey in the Kai District at the very same location. Gaspare Zugalli was ...
Founded: 1685-1696 | Location: Salzburg, Austria

Nonnberg Abbey

Nonnberg Abbey is a Benedictine monastery in Salzburg founded ca. 714 by Saint Rupert of Salzburg. It is the oldest women's religious house in the German-speaking world. Its first abbess was Saint Erentrudis of Salzburg, who was either a niece or a sister of Saint Rupert. The abbey was independent of the founding house from 987 and was re-built in about 1000. This building was largely destroyed in a fire of 1423. Reconst ...
Founded: ca. 714 AD | Location: Salzburg, Austria

Edmundsburg

Edmundsburg spans over three floors and is cubic with a small, central dome. It can be spotted easily from about anywhere in the old town, especially the Salzburger Dom. Abbot Edmund Sinnhuber of St. Peter′s Abbey built the Edmundsburg Castle in 1696 and it remained the property of the abbey until 1834. After that, it became the site of a well-known school for boys. Until 2008, the Edmundsburg Castle held some offi ...
Founded: 1696 | Location: Salzburg, Austria

Franziskischlössl

The Franziskischlössl ('Francis′ Castle') is a defence tower that was part of the 17th century city walls of Salzburg. It was built by the cathedral architect, Santino Solari, from 1622-1629. The Franziskischlössl is situated at the most exposed point of Mount Kapuzinerberg, home to an inn and a very popular hiking trip destination.
Founded: 1622-1629 | Location: Salzburg, Austria

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

São Jorge Castle

São Jorge Castle is a Moorish castle occupying a commanding hilltop overlooking the historic centre of the Portuguese city of Lisbon and Tagus River. The strongly fortified citadel dates from medieval period of Portuguese history, and is one of the main tourist sites of Lisbon.

Although the first fortifications on this hilltop date from the 2nd century BC, archaeological excavations have identified a human presence in the Tagus valley as far back as the 6th century BC. The first fortification was, presumably, erected in 48 BC, when Lisbon was classified as a Roman municipality.

The hill was first used by indigenous Celtic tribes, then by Phoenicians, Greeks, and Carthaginians as a defensible outpost that was later expropriated by Roman, Suebic, Visigothic, and Moorish peoples. During the 10th century, the fortifications were rebuilt by Muslim Berber forces, these included the walls or Cerca Moura ("Moorish Encirclement").

Kingdom

In the context of the Christian Reconquista, the castle and the city of Lisbon were freed from Moorish rule in 1147 by Afonso Henriques and northern European knights in the Siege of Lisbon during the Second Crusade; this victory was the only notable success of that failed crusade. According to an oft-repeated legend, the knight Martim Moniz, noticing that one of the doors to the castle was open, prevented the Moors from closing it by throwing his own body into the breach, thus allowing Christian soldiers to enter at the cost of his own life. With the taking of the castle Christian forces were able to maintain the defense of Lisbon until the end of the 12th century.

When Lisbon became the capital of the kingdom in 1255, the castle served as the alcáçova, a fortified residence for Afonso III, in his role as governor. It was extensively renovated around 1300 by King Denis I, transforming the Moorish alcáçova into the Royal Palace of the Alcáçova. Between 1373 and 1375, King Ferdinand I ordered the building of the Cerca Nova or Cerca Fernandina, the walled compound that enclosed the entirety of the castle. The master builders João Fernandes and Vasco Brás were responsible for its construction. This wall, which partially replaced the old Moorish walls, was designed to encircle previously unprotected parts of the city. Completed in two years, it had 77 towers and a perimeter of 5,400 metres.

The castle and the city resisted the forces of Castile several times during the 14th century (notably in 1373 and in 1383–1384). It was during this period (the late 14th century) that the castle was dedicated to Saint George by King John I, who had married the English princess Philippa of Lancaster. Saint George, the warrior-saint, was normally represented slaying a dragon, and very was popular in both countries.

From this point onward many of the kingdom's records were housed in the Torre de Ulisses, also known as the Torre Albarrã, until the reign of Manuel I. The Portuguese National Archive is still referred to as the Torre do Tombo. Between 1448 and 1451, the master builder was paid several stipends for his work on the palace. These public works continued until 1452, with additional payments being made for labor and materials to convert the building from a fortified castle to a royal residence.

Around the early 16th century, following the construction of the Ribeira Palace beside the Tagus river, the Palace of Alcáçova began to lose its importance. An earthquake occurring in 1531 further damaged the old castle, contributing further to its decay and neglect. In 1569, King Sebastian ordered the rebuilding of the royal apartments in the castle, intending to use it as his official residence. As part of the rebuilding, in 1577 Filippo Terzi demolished one of the towers near the principal facade of the Church of Loreto. However, many of the works were never completed after the young king's apparent death during the Battle of Alcácer Quibir. The following Portuguese dynastic crisis opened the way for sixty years of Spanish rule and the castle was converted into military barracks and a prison. On 30 December 1642, Teodósio de Frias the Younger was appointed master builder to continue the works begun by his father, Luís de Frias, and his grandfather, Teodósio de Frias. This was part of a greater plan by the Spanish forces to recommission the fortification.

However, after Portugal regained its independence following the Portuguese Restoration War, the works were taken over by the Portuguese government. On 6 November 1648, Nicolau de Langres was called upon to take over the design, execution and construction of a new fortification that would surround the Castle of São Jorge and the city walls of Lisbon. In 1650 the military architect Mateus do Couto was named master builder of the project and reconstruction took on a new formality: although the military engineer João Gillot built new walls in 1652, construction again followed Couto's plans between 1657 and 1733. In 1673, the Soldiers' Hospital, dedicated to São João de Deus, was installed on the grounds beside the Rua do Recolhimento. At the end of the 17th century the Recolhimento do Castelo was constructed along the southeast angle of the courtyard, and in 1733, new projects were initiated by master Custódio Vieira.

The 1755 Lisbon earthquake severely damaged the castle and contributed to its continuing decay: apart from the walls of the old castle, the soldier's hospital and the Recolhimento were left in ruins. The necessity of maintaining a supporting military force within the capital city required expansion of the site's role of garrison and presidio. From 1780 to 1807, the charitable institution Casa Pia, dedicated to the education of poor children, was established in the citadel, while soldiers continued to be garrisoned on site. Inspired by the events of the earthquake and the following tsunami, the first geodetic observatory in Portugal was constructed in 1788 at the top of one of the towers of the castle, later referred to as the Torre do Observatório.

Republic

As part of the commemorative celebrations marking the foundation of nationhood and restoration of independence, the government of António de Oliveira Salazar initiated extensive renovations at the site. Most of the incongruous structures added to the castle compound in previous centuries were demolished and there was a partial restoration of the Recolhimento. In addition, on 25 October 1947, a monument dedicated to Afonso Henriques, presented by the city of Porto, of a replica created by Soares dos Reis (in 1887) was installed on the grounds.