If convenient, begin your tour in the Old Town’s northwest, near the Makart
Steg (a bridge across the Salzach from the Makart to the Old Town) and head
to Getreidegasse, along which you will find a concentration of interesting
shops and numerous restaurants.
For now, just scope out where you might
want to shop or eat later in your visit. As you head southeast
along the street, it will eventually narrow and change names. Just keep
following the same lane past the Alter Markt and you will find some delightful
Christmas stores and shops with impressive craftwork for sale.
As you wander Getreidegasse, it is unlikely that you will
be able to continue in one direction for any length of time, since the
street is intersected with a warren of lanes that lead to other stores that
cannot be seen from the street. Explore this area; we think it will be worth
your time. By the way, be sure to scan the area and look-up frequently, as
you will find plaques with the dates of buildings and other historic information.
While still on Getreidegasse, across from the Hagenauerplatz, be sure to
look up for the sign indicating Mozart’s birthplace (the Mozart Geburtshaus) . Three floors of Mozart’s birth house serve as a museum and it is here that
you can see several of his instruments and portraits. Click for details
on admission from the
official site of the museum. We think that the Mozart Residence
across the river in the Makartplatz is much more interesting , but
visit only if you are keen to know more about Mozart and his works. Skipping
either or both won’t break your vacation in Salzburg, but the exhibitions at
the Wohnhaus are quite interesting.
Eventually Getreidegasse changes to Judeng, curves and leads you to the Mozartplatz ,
which features a modest statue of Mozart . On one side of the square you
will find the Salzburg Tourist Information Offices. Directly opposite you will find the Neue Residenz
(New Residenz) which now houses the modestly interesting
Salzburg Museum (focused on Salzburg’s history) and a host of other small
but interesting museums, such as the Toy Museum and the Panorama Museum.
When begin to backtrack across the Mozartplatz, you will notice a wide
building facing you with the façade showing the name Demel. Go no further
if you are concerned about your waistline. Of course, all that walking will
do wonders for you, so we advise entering. Demel, a café-restaurant
and chocolatier since 1786) is a wonderful place for a pastry,
or light lunch. Featuring comfortable couches and informal seating, Demel
has some of the best pastries in Salzburg.
On a recent visit we sampled a
selection of deserts (it was a professional obligation, really – so we
stopped by twice). We decided that Demel's Schoko-Bombe (Chocolate Bomb) with gold
leaf on the frosting was the best dessert of the trip – although “best” is
nowhere near the superlative the Schoko-Bombe deserves. Demel
is open from 9 to 19:00 and a great place to take a break from touring. See
the official Demel Website for more information.
head north towards the Dom, Salzburg’s Baroque Cathedral. Historical works inform us that this site was considered sacred in the
city’s Celtic and Roman periods, although the first cathedral dates from the
8th century. Fire has plagued most of the churches built on the site, but
the town kept rebuilding with fierce determination. The original cathedral burned down due to a
lightening strike. Its successor also was destroyed by fire in the 12th
century and the next church suffered the same fate in the late 16th century. The successor church was badly damaged by fire in the 19th century and a
World War II bombing raid destroyed the dome and much of the cathedral. The
rebuilding effort concluded in 1959 and followed the plans the used to build
The proportions and look of the cathedral are very
pleasing. The front entrance of the Dom is an ornate masterpiece of early
Baroque design and considered one of the best examples of this type of
architecture north of Italy. The Dom is connected to the Residenz (the home of the
Prince-Archbishops) by an arcade that adds a unique touch to the
cathedral's archtiecture. Although the doors to the Dom
are of recent construction, they are very striking and deserve inspection.
The main and side altars of the Dom are quite pleasing, but it
is the interior of the dome that attracts the most attention. You will
have to sit underneath it to appreciate the detailed of frescos and
stuccoworks that adorn this structure.
The cathedral is surrounded by the Domplatz, the Residenzplatz, and
the Kapitelplatz. For most of the year these area are mini-markets, so check
them out for some fascinating items. In addition, look for vendors of
arts and crafts or musicians practicing their wares (the musicians are
excellent performers and many will have CDs for sale). There is also a large
Chess Board to the side of the Kapitelplatz where local experts
show their skill while pushing large pieces around the “table”.
Cross the Domplatz and follow the Franziskanergasse to the Franciscan Church (Franziskanerkirche) that connects with the Franziskaner Abbey. Touring the church,
which is the oldest in Salzburg, will only take a few minutes, as it is a compact beauty that combines Romanesque and Gothic architecture.
Although the church is small, it is unique. The architectural style
combines Romanesque and Gothic architecture and the mix makes it appear as a church built within a church.
The Franziskaner church is shadowy and dim inside and is the residents of Salzburg
favorite church for “praying”. It is easy to understand why as this building
appears outwardly represent the image that many imagine when they think of a
house of prayer.
The oldest sections of the church date from the 13th century and have a Romanesque-Gothic look. The nave features several interesting Baroque side-altars
of some note, but it is the choir that is the focus of attention. The choir’s five pillars ascend gloriously out of the darkness to support the steep rib vaulting.
In addition, these splendid pillars surround an altar of awe-inspiring beauty. The
ornate17th century altar is the work of Fischer von Erlach, a noted, local
architect. Michael Pacher's stunning Madonna and Child statuary crowns the altar
and was once part of a complete altar he crafted for the church during
the 15th century. Unfortunately, the Madonna is all that remains of
his work, which was removed and replaced by the altar of von Erlach.
Just across the way, you will find the Abbey of St. Peter (Erzabtie St. Peter) and one of the oldest sections of Salzburg. Take a quick glance through St. Peter’s, if you have the energy,
as it has a number of pleasing Baroque touches.
If you would like to see additional pictures of the locations and
attractions covered here, click for our
PhotoGuide to Old Town Salzburg.
Next - The
Festung Hohensalzburg and the Residenz
Click to return to our Salzburg Home Page
Click for the Mirabel Palace, the Mozart Residence and more
Click to visit the Hellbrunn Palace and Water Gardens
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