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 him and his mistress Salome Alt. Allegedly built within six months according to Italian and French models, it was initially named Altenau Castle.
When Raitenau was deposed and arrested at Hohensalzburg Castle in 1612, his successor Mark Sittich von Hohenems expelled Salome Alt and her family from the premises. Mark Sittich gave the palace its current name from Italian word mirabile ('amazing'). It was rebuilt in a lavish Baroque style from 1721 to 1727, according to plans designed by Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt.
On 1 June 1815 the later King Otto of Greece was born here, while his father, the Wittelsbach crown prince Ludwig I of Bavaria served as stadtholder in the former Electorate of Salzburg. The current Neoclassical appearance dates from about 1818, when the place was restored after a blaze. Archbishop Maximilian Joseph von Tarnóczy resided here from 1851 to 1863. The father of Hans Makart worked here as a chamberlain. Joachim Haspinger (1776-1858), Capuchin priest and a leader of the Tyrolean Rebellion, spent his last year in a small flat.
The palace was purchased by the City of Salzburg in 1866. After World War II it was temporarily used for the mayor's office and housed several departments of the municipal administration.
The Marble Hall of Mirabell Palace is the venue of the Salzburg Palace Concerts, directed by Luz Leskowitz. It is also a popular location for weddings.
The Mirabellgarten was laid out under Prince-Archbishop Johann Ernst von Thun from 1687 according to plans designed by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach. In its geometrically-arranged gardens are mythology-themed statues dating from 1730 and four groups of sculpture, created by Italian sculptor Ottavio Mosto from 1690. It is noted for its boxwood layouts, including a sylvan theater designed between 1704 and 1718. An orangery was added in 1725.
The gardens were made accessible to the public under Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria. Up to today, it is one of the most popular tourists' attraction in Salzburg. Several scenes from The Sound of Music were filmed here.References:
Czocha Castle is located on the Lake Leśnia, what is now the Polish part of Upper Lusatia. Czocha castle was built on gneiss rock, and its oldest part is the keep, to which housing structures were later added.
Czocha Castle began as a stronghold, on the Czech-Lusatian border. Its construction was ordered by Wenceslaus I of Bohemia, in the middle of the 13th century (1241–1247). In 1253 castle was handed over to Konrad von Wallhausen, Bishop of Meissen. In 1319 the complex became part of the dukedom of Henry I of Jawor, and after his death, it was taken over by another Silesian prince, Bolko II the Small, and his wife Agnieszka. Origin of the stone castle dates back to 1329.
In the mid-14th century, Czocha Castle was annexed by Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia. Then, between 1389 and 1453, it belonged to the noble families of von Dohn and von Kluks. Reinforced, the complex was besieged by the Hussites in the early 15th century, who captured it in 1427, and remained in the castle for unknown time (see Hussite Wars). In 1453, the castle was purchased by the family of von Nostitz, who owned it for 250 years, making several changes through remodelling projects in 1525 and 1611. Czocha's walls were strengthened and reinforced, which thwarted a Swedish siege of the complex during the Thirty Years War. In 1703, the castle was purchased by Jan Hartwig von Uechtritz, influential courtier of Augustus II the Strong. On August 17, 1793, the whole complex burned in a fire.
In 1909, Czocha was bought by a cigar manufacturer from Dresden, Ernst Gutschow, who ordered major remodelling, carried out by Berlin architect Bodo Ebhardt, based on a 1703 painting of the castle. Gutschow, who was close to the Russian Imperial Court and hosted several White emigres in Czocha, lived in the castle until March 1945. Upon leaving, he packed up the most valuable possessions and moved them out.
After World War II, the castle was ransacked several times, both by soldiers of the Red Army, and Polish thieves, who came to the so-called Recovered Territories from central and eastern part of the country. Pieces of furniture and other goods were stolen, and in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the castle was home to refugees from Greece. In 1952, Czocha was taken over by the Polish Army. Used as a military vacation resort, it was erased from official maps. The castle has been open to the public since September 1996 as a hotel and conference centre. The complex was featured in several movies and television series. Recently, the castle has been used as the setting of the College of Wizardry, a live action role-playing game (LARP) that takes place in their own universe and can be compared to Harry Potter.