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Old Town, Right Bank Walk (Self Guided), Salzburg

Salzburg's "Old Town" (Altstadt) is internationally renowned for its baroque architecture and is one of the best-preserved city centers north of the Alps. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. As a tourist of this wonderful city, don't miss the opportunity to visit the streets of Old Town and sites presented on this tour.
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Old Town, Right Bank Walk Map

Guide Name: Old Town, Right Bank Walk
Guide Location: Austria » Salzburg (See other walking tours in Salzburg)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 9
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 Km or 1.1 Miles
Author: julian
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Mirabell Palace and Gardens
  • Mozarteum
  • Makartplatz
  • Marionette Theater
  • Mozart Residence
  • The Holy Trinity Church
  • Linzer Gasse
  • St. Sebastian Church and Cemetery
  • Steingasse
Mirabell Palace and Gardens

1) Mirabell Palace and Gardens (must see)

The Mirabell Palace and Gardens are located north of the Salzach River. It was used by the Prince Archbishops to entertain guests and now houses government offices including the office of the Mayor of Salzburg.

The palace was constructed and the extensive gardens were laid in 1606 as the residence of the mistress of Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau, Salome Alt. At the time it was called the Altenau Palace. His successor renamed it as the Mirabel Palace. Successive Archbishops improved and added to the structure and the gardens. It was damaged by a fire in 1818 and most parts were burned except the marble staircase and marble hall. After the reign of the Archbishops came to an end, it became the residents of the royal family of Austria.

The Mirabel palace today is not open to the public. The marble hall that was once the concert hall and ballroom of the Archbishops is regarded as one of the most beautiful wedding halls in the world. Today it is the venue for meetings, award ceremonies, and concerts. The Mirabell gardens consist of a hedge garden, a dwarf garden with sculptures of dwarfs made of locally quarried Untersberg marble. The famous Pegasus fountain was the setting for the song Do Re Mi in the 1965 Hollywood film, 'The Sound of Music'.

***The Sound of Music Movie***
Perhaps the best place to start The Sound of Music tour of Salzburg is the open grounds of the Mirabell Palace Gardens, the location where the Do Re Mi song was filmed for the movie. The Palace was completed in 1606 (rebuilt in 1693) as the home for Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich Raitenau’s mistress, and its gorgeous gardens appeared later, in 1715-30. In addition to its Sound of Music fame, the Palace is also where Mozart used to play private concerts as a child.

Entering the gardens from the south, you will recognize the two pairs of impressive Greek statues of fencing warriors whose playful poses the Von Trapp children mimicked in the film. Wandering further in, you will also remember the central spouting Pegasus Fountain (opposite the Palace & guarded by lion statues) around which they danced. From here you can turn around and check out the fantastic views of the High Salzburg Fortress (Hohensalzburg) towering over the city, and then follow the steps that the kids hopped up like musical notes in the dramatic finale of the song.

Near the fountain there's a small footbridge leading to the Dwarf Gnome Park (Zwergerlgarten) housing the total of 28 gnome statues carved out of the local Unterberg Marble. As you leave the dwarf garden to exit the Palace grounds, make sure to visit the long pergola vine tunnel and the hedge maze through which Maria and the Trapp children ran while singing the song.

Why You Should Visit:
The palace, which is also the venue for many classical concerts (need pre-booking) makes a nice backdrop to the marvelous gardens.
Standing next to the palace and gazing towards the garden, you get a spectacular view of the Hohensalzburg Fortress as well.

2) Mozarteum (must see)

The Mozarteum is one of the four universities in Salzburg. It is dedicated to teaching music and dramatic arts and is named after the most famous son of the city, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

The Mozarteum began as the Cathedral Music Association of Salzburg and Mozarteum in 1841. It was founded by Mozart’s widow Constanze. It later became the Mozarteum Orchestra of Salzburg. In 1870, the International Mozart Foundation was created to help and encourage young and gifted musicians. The building was constructed between 1910 and 1921. In 1931, the Central Institute for Mozart Research was also housed in the Mozarteum.

The International Mozart Foundation maintains the Mozarteum and two large concert halls. It has published the periodical, “Neue Mozart Ausgabe" from 1956. It was conferred with the status of an academy in 1970. The name of the Mozarteum was changed in 1998 to the University of Music and Fine Arts. The old building was torn down and a new structure was built keeping the original baroque façade and opened in time for Mozart’s 250th birth anniversary in 2006. Today, both Austrian and international students are trained in music and fine arts at the university. The Salzburg born conductor Herbert von Karajan had his music education at the Mozarteum.

Attend a concert in the Stiftung Mozarteum if you can – you won't be disappointed.

3) Makartplatz

Makartplatz or Markart Square is a busy part of the city of Salzburg surrounded by some of its important buildings. The main attraction in the square today is a museum dedicated to Mozart and his works.

Makartplatz was developed by Archbishop Paris Lodron and architect Bernhard Fischer von Erlach. At the time it was called Hannibalplatz after Hannibal von Raitenau, the brother of the Prince Archbishop Wolf Dietrich. Later, it was named after Hans Makart, a celebrated 19th century Salzburg born artist and son of a chamberlain at the Mirabell Palace.

The most visited part of Makartplatz is the Tanzmeisterhaus where Mozart’s family lived when he was a young boy. The former residence was rebuilt after having been destroyed by bombs in World War II. It is located at No: 8 Makartplatz and houses the museum dedicated to the great composer. The next house to the museum is the Doppler House where eminent physicist, Christian Doppler who founded the Doppler effect of sound was born in 1803. The façade of the Church of the Holy Trinity faces the square and the Landestheater, built by Archbishop Colloredo is located here. The main entrance to the Mirabell Gardens is also located in Makartplatz.
Marionette Theater

4) Marionette Theater (must see)

The Salzburg Marionette Theater is one of the world’s oldest puppet theaters in continuous operation. It has become popular with foreign tourists after being featured in the song, ‘The Lonely Goatherd’ from the 1965 Hollywood musical, ‘The Sound of Music’.

Professor Anton Aicher founded the Marionette Theater in 1913. The first production was the performance of Mozart’s famous opera, 'Bastien and Bastienne' using puppets. The theater’s popularity increased both in Salzburg and abroad and soon it traveled to other major cities in Europe. During WWII, the theater performed for German troops in the front and later for the occupation armies. In 1971, the theater found its permanent venue, the ballroom of the former Mirabel Hotel.

The Marionette Theater today has 350 seats and is modeled after a baroque stage. Productions for children and adults are staged. Most of the performances are marionette versions of Mozart’s operas. In 2007, the Sound of Music was staged and Mozart’s 'Bastien and Bastienne' was performed again at the theater. It employs 12 puppeteers who are trained in many arts and crafts. Between 20 and 90 puppets are used for each performance and the skilled puppeteers make the scenes so realistic that the audience forget that puppets are acting out the play.

Why You Should Visit:
The craftsmanship of the marionettes themselves and the artistry of the puppeteers who truly bring them to life in front of you are simply amazing!

There are English subtitles to explain what's going on, but it doesn't hurt if you are well versed in the story before attending a performance.
Another useful tip is to pay more and sit near the front for the best experience.
Mozart Residence

5) Mozart Residence (must see)

Mozart’s Residence from the age of 17 was the spacious Tanzmeisterhaus. The Mozart Foundation purchased the building in 1989 and converted it into a museum dedicated to the life and music of the great composer and his relationship with the city of Salzburg.

The Tanzmeisterhaus which later became Mozart’s residence was initially a dancing hall. Two buildings built around 1617 were joined to make the present building in 1685. From 1711, Lorenz Speckner ran a dancing school here. The aristocracy was trained in dancing and other accomplishments for life in court. Speckner died in 1767 and his cousin Maria Anna Raab closed the dancing school and hall and converted the building into apartments for rent. She leased the hall for events and wedding parties. Mozart’s father found their home in Hagenauerhaus too small for his growing family and moved to Tanzmeisterhaus in 1773. It was here that Mozart composed many of his finest works. The building was damaged during World War II. It was restored and converted into a museum by the Mozart Foundation and opened to the public in 1996.

The museum at Mozart’s residence consists of exhibits relating to the great composer. Mozart family memorabilia including their library, letters written by Mozart’s father and portraits are displayed. Visitors can get a guided phone tour from the reception and hear music relating to each object on display. In the last room, a video show about Mozart is screened in German and English.

This museum has one of the best audio guides, so make sure you get it.

Daily: 9am-5:30pm (Sep-Jun); 8:30-7pm (Jul-Aug)
Last admission 30 mins before closing
The Holy Trinity Church

6) The Holy Trinity Church

The Holy Trinity Church is a baroque church in Salzburg with a design based on the Sant’ Agnese Church in the Piazza Navona in Rome. It consists of the main church, a seminary and a house for priests.

The Holy Trinity Church, the seminary and house for priests was commissioned by Archbishop Johann Ernst von Thun. It was designed by architect Fischer von Erlach and was built between 1694 and1702. The notable feature in the church is the dome fresco by artist Johann Michael Rottmayr depicting the crowning of Virgin Mary and the Holy Trinity. The design of the church is somber compared to the pomp and splendor of other churches commissioned in Salzburg at the time.

The Holy Trinity Church also houses a museum displaying church treasures and other objects relating to church history. There are liturgical vessels and clothes including a Eucharistic Dove and a jewel studded monstrance created by the court goldsmith, Ferdinand Sigmund Amende in 1697. There are paintings and sculpture from the 15th to the 18th century. Loan exhibits from the archdiocesan estate are also displayed including the St. Rupert’s Crucifix from the 8th century and a winged altar with relics called the Grillinger Altar made in 1443. The museum also holds temporary exhibitions on themes of art and church history every year.
Linzer Gasse

7) Linzer Gasse

Linzergasse is a busy street in Salzburg flanked by medieval buildings. It is called Linzergasse because it was once the main road from Salzburg to Linz in Austria.

Linzergasse was an important road in Juvavum, the Roman city that later became Salzburg. In the Middle Ages, travelers and tradesman going to Linz passed through the Linzertor Gate that stood at the end of the street until 1894. The houses that flank Linzergasse date back to the 14th or 15th centuries and were always occupied by small craftsmen and their families.

There are many important buildings in Linzergasse. At No:1 is the St. Andrews Church that was built in 1898. No: 3 was the home of the scientist Paracelsus who lived here from 1540 to 1541. He was buried in the cemetery of the nearby St. Sebastian’s Church. House No: 7 was an old pharmacy where the poet George Trakl worked in 1887. House No: 9 is an old brewery and a scion of the family who owned it, Richard Mayr became a famous opera singer. One can climb the steps to the Kapuziner Abbey for breathtaking views. House No: 43 was a medieval bath house. The street ends with the St. Sebastian Church. The cemetery of the church also contains the graves of Mozart’s father Leopold and his wife Constanze.
St. Sebastian Church and Cemetery

8) St. Sebastian Church and Cemetery (must see)

The St. Sebastian’s Church is a 16th-century Catholic church in Salzburg. The attached cemetery is the final resting place of many well-known merchants and scholars.

The St. Sebastian Church was built by the Austrian architect and stuccoist, Kassian Singer between 1749 and 1753. It had a baroque architectural style with some Rococo elements. The original church had beautiful ceiling frescoes and an altar painting by artist, Paul Troger. A fire destroyed the altar and frescoes in 1818. The church was later restored and a statue of St. Sebastian made by Konrad Asper between 1614 and 1620 was installed in the façade. Mass is celebrated entirely in Latin even today.

Prince- Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau planned the cemetery to replace an older graveyard in 1600. The design was inspired by the Italian Campo Santo or sacred field. It had a central square surrounded by arcades. At the centre of the square is a brightly tiled mannerist mausoleum built for Archbishop Wolf Dietrich. His remains are interred in the mausoleum. At the entrance of the cemetery is the mausoleum of the scientist and scholar from Salzburg, Paracelsus. It is also the final resting place of Mozart’s father Leopold and his widow, Constanze.

Don't miss the amazing catacombs set high in the rocks!

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-6pm

9) Steingasse (must see)

One of the oldest roads in Salzburg, the Steingasse is a small alley that lies between Kapuzinerberg and the Salzach River. It is flanked by medieval houses and has retained its medieval atmosphere until today.

Steingasse dates back to the time when Salzburg was the Roman city of Juvavum. In the middle ages, it became an important trade route and was the main entry point for salt consignments from the Hallein Township. Travelers passed the Steingasse on their way to Italy in the medieval era. The narrow Steintor Gate built in 1280 was the point of entry for travelers and traders.

Residents of Steingasse included potters, dyers and tanners who required water for their work because of its proximity to the Salzach River. No:9 Steingasse was the house where Josef Mohr, the composer of the Christmas Carol, ‘Silent Night’ was born. There is a small private museum in the building dedicated to the composer. Another notable building is the St. Johann am Imberg Church that was Mozart’s favorite place of worship. At one end of Steingasse is a small marble fountain called the Engelwirtsbrunnen which was installed in 1660 in front of the Engelwirt Inn was placed in its present location in 1890. Today, there are many bars, quaint shops, bookstores and galleries in the well preserved medieval buildings that line the street.

Why You Should Visit:
If you look for silence and some nice little bars & restaurants, this is the place.

Walking Tours in Salzburg, Austria

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