Hellbrunn Palace

Salzburg, Austria

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 meant for use as a day residence in summer, as the Archbishop usually returned to Salzburg in the evening, therefore, there is no bedroom in Hellbrunn.

The schloss is also famous for its jeux d'eau ('watergames') in the grounds, which are a popular tourist attraction in the summer months. These games were conceived by Markus Sittikus, a man with a keen sense of humour, as a series of practical jokes to be performed on guests. Notable features include stone seats around a stone dining table through which a water conduit sprays water into the seat of the guests when the mechanism is activated, and hidden fountains that surprise and spray guests while they take part on the tour. Other features are a mechanical, water-operated and music-playing theatre built in 1750 including some 200 automata showing various professions at work, a grotto and a crown being pushed up and down by a jet of water, symbolising the rise and fall of power. At all of these games there is always a spot which is never wet: that where the Archbishop stood or sat, to which there is no water conduit and which is today occupied by the tour guide.

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Details

Founded: 1612-1619
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Austria

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Karen Thomsit (3 months ago)
A must for anyone visiting Salzburg. The water gardens are brilliant fun with surprises at every turn. The palace is stunning. The atmosphere is tremendous and you leave smiling.
Stefanie Pryke (3 months ago)
The water park is certainly worth a visit! Such a fun little place, as long as you don't mind getting a bit wet!! Palace is a lovely place to visit too.
Aishah Bailey (5 months ago)
Catch a bus from the city centre to this gorgeous area surrounded by mountains. The advent market was enormous and stalls were varied and priced the same as in town. See the sturgeons in the pond, visit the zoo if you're there in summer (there's not that much in winter but you can still see the goats, alpaca and sheep in the petting zoo). The windows of the main palace open up like an advent calendar which is cute. Beware that the trick fountains package aren't available in December!
Gustav Lugerbauer (5 months ago)
Very beautiful and well organized Christmas market Entrance fee is good with a free drink. Nice stands very well decorated all in all fun for the whole family. There is also a very nice playground for kids
Sanat Sahasrabudhe (6 months ago)
Splendid palace in a beautiful setting. The architecture of the palace and its surrounding structures is striking, especially with the bright yellow color. The interior is also lovely, and provides great information about the history of the palace. All of it is very well-maintained. The palace gardens and expansive park are beautiful to walk in. The trick fountains are also very nicely designed. Schloss Hellbrunn is a substantial distance from the center of Salzburg, but I definitely recommend a visit. Making things easier is a bus stop right outside the main entrance.
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Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.