Salzburg Cathedral

Salzburg, Austria

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 bears witness to the power and independence of Salzburg's archbishops. The first cathedral was built on this site by Bishop Virgil who came to Salzburg in 767 and built a cathedral on the site of the former Roman Juvavum. On September 24, 774 the cathedral was consecrated to St. Virgil and St. Rupert. The city was set on fire in 1167 by the Counts of Plain, followers of the emperor Friedrick Barbarossa, also destroying the cathedral. The cathedral was rebuilt ten years later under the rule of Archbishop Conrad III of Wittelsbach and became more beautiful, more magnificent and more impressive than ever, making it the mightiest Romaneque cathedral north of the Alps, its size even surpassing the emperor's cathedral in Speyer.

400 years later another fire raged and destroyed large sections of the cathedral on December 11, 1598. This afforded Archbishop Wolf Dietrich the opportunity to tear down the damaged cathedral and to make plans for its reconstruction. The Salzburg residents were extremely outraged at the archbishop's ruthless actions. Not only were valuable sculptures and gravestones of the archbishops destroyed but the cathedral cemetery plowed under and the bones of the dead dumped on the debris. His quarrel with Bavaria over salt mining rights led to his arrest and imprisonment in the Hohensalzburg Fortress by his nephew and successor, Markus Sittikus von Hohenems, which put a bitter end to the various construction projects Wolf Dietrich had planned. After Wolf Dietrich's death the architect Santino Solari was commissioned by Archbishop Markus Sittikus to rebuild the Cathedral, which became the first early Baroque church north of the Alps. Markus Sittikus did not live to see the festive consecration of the Cathedral by Archbishop Paris Lodron during the chaos of the Thirty Years' War on September 25, 1628. Through Paris Lodron's clever diplomacy, the heavily fortified city escaped most of the hardships of the Thirty Years' War so that the consecration of the Cathedral became the largest and most pompous festival that Salzburg ever experienced. The centuries of sovereign rule by the Salzburg prince bishops was ended by the Napoleonic Wars. With the dethroning of the last prince bishop, Hieronymus von Colloredo, the first Habsburg, Ferdinand III, Grand Duke of Tuscany, brought Salzburg under his rule.

In 1944 the dome and part of the chancel were destroyed during a bomb attack. The necessary renovations were carried out and the Cathedral consecrated in its former magnificence in 1959. The three years found in the gates to the Cathedral are in memory of the three consecrations: '774', '1628' and '1959'. Four statues are located in front of the main façade: the apostles Peter and Paul with keys and sword as well as the two patron saints Rupert and Virgil with a salt box and a model of the church. The two escutcheons on the gable ornament refer to the two church builders, Markus Sittikus and Paris Lodron.

Among the precious objects to be found in Salzburg's Cathedral are the baptismal font in which Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was baptised, the majestic main organ, surrounded by angels playing instruments and crowned by Rupert and Virgil, as well as the magnificent Cathedral portals made by Scheider-Manzell, Mataré and Manzú. In his capacity as the court organist and concert master, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed numerous undying works of sacred music for Salzburg.

Cathedral Square is the Cathedral's courtyard. Archbishop Guidobald Thun had Giovanni Antonio Dario build the Cathedral arches in 1660. A beautiful Immaculate Column sculpted by Wolfgang and Johann Baptist Hagenauer for Archbishop Sigismund Graf Schrattenbach is located in the center of the square.



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Domplatz 1, Salzburg, Austria
See all sites in Salzburg


Founded: 774 AD
Category: Religious sites in Austria


4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Ahmad (8 months ago)
This cathedral is the most important church in Salzburg with seventeenth-century architecture. Keep in mind that you are not allowed to enter it if you just want to visit it when there is a religious ceremony there unless you sit in your seat until the end of the ceremony.
D. Ing. HASSAN ABOURAYA (9 months ago)
Salzburg Cathedral is a seventeenth-century Baroque of the Roman Catholic It is one of the most important churches in Salzburg with a massive dome and two towers on each side. It is unique in its architecture.
Andrea Nori (11 months ago)
The most important place of worship in Salzburg! To access it you need to pay 5€ (it is free if you are under 18). I don't think anyway that the ticket is worth it, you can just appreciate it even from the outside, hoping that your view will be different as mine!!
Sayak Das (11 months ago)
My visit to Salzburg Cathedral in 2018 was a truly awe-inspiring experience, deserving of a glowing five-star rating. This magnificent structure stands as a testament to the artistry, craftsmanship, and spiritual significance that resonates within its walls. From the moment I approached the cathedral, its towering spires and grand façade commanded attention. The architectural details, with a harmonious blend of Baroque and Gothic elements, left me in a state of wonder. The intricate carvings, ornate statues, and elaborate rose window created a visual feast that conveyed the depth of devotion and reverence for which the cathedral stands. As I stepped inside, I was enveloped in a sense of tranquility and reverence. The vast interior space, adorned with magnificent frescoes, stunning stained glass windows, and intricate altars, exuded an atmosphere of divine beauty. The delicate play of light and shadow created a serene ambiance, enhancing the spiritual experience. The cathedral's sacred music, echoing through its hallowed halls, added another layer of enchantment. The melodious voices and majestic organ harmonies lifted the soul and evoked a profound sense of reverence and awe. The knowledgeable guides provided valuable insights into the cathedral's rich history and significance. Their passion for sharing the stories and legends associated with Salzburg Cathedral deepened my appreciation for this architectural masterpiece. Furthermore, the cathedral's central location in the heart of Salzburg allowed for convenient access and made it a focal point of the city's cultural and religious heritage. The surrounding square, with its vibrant atmosphere and charming cafés, offered a perfect setting to reflect on the magnificence of the cathedral. In conclusion, Salzburg Cathedral is a true marvel that embodies the essence of divine inspiration and human creativity. It is a testament to the power of faith and the enduring beauty of architectural masterpieces. A visit to this spiritual haven is an experience that touches the heart and soul, leaving an indelible impression. I wholeheartedly give it a five-star rating and encourage all visitors to Salzburg to immerse themselves in its grandeur and splendor.
Danny Wallace (12 months ago)
Stunning and beautiful place, the artwork throughout is wonderful. If you have an interest in architecture and/art, then visit this Cathedral. However, our second visit was to enjoy the well advertised 30 minute Midday Music session for just 6 Euros per person, and unfortunately, it was a disappointment. The idea is to demonstrate the many organs (5) culminating in the massive main organ. The religious readings far exceeded the music, and only about 10 minutes was actually played. We like HUNDREDS of others who attended did not seem that impressed. Shame, it was good while I lasted.
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