City of salt, city of Mozart, classical city, city of culture, bourgeois city: Salzburg alone holds many of the clichés usually attributed to Austria. It is a very beautiful city, rich in heritage, with its baroque buildings and fortress; it is a museum, tourist, prosperous, clean, but also lively, rich in cultural events. Every year, during the summer, the city hosts one of the world's largest classical music festivals. If there was to be only one outside Vienna, it would be this one. Being close to Germany, Salzburg is also for many a first stay when entering Austria, and it is very popular with Germans. Founded towards the end of the 6th century by St. Rupert, Salzburg was ruled by Catholic archbishop princes until the beginning of the 19th century, earning it the nickname "Rome of the North". An independent city of the Holy Roman Empire dominated by prince archbishops, Salzburg joined the Austrian Empire after the Congress of Vienna in 1816. Its riches from the exploitation of salt, copper and marble allowed the prince archbishops to call upon the talents of the best architects and artists of the time to transform the city into a sort of "Italian city" with majestic palaces and churches.

Not to be missed in July and August is the Salzburg Festival, the best in classical music with almost 200 performances.


Salzburg, city of salt. 4,000 years ago, the Celts discovered the salt deposit in the Dürrnberg mountains. Salt contributed to the prosperity of the city and earned Bishop Worms, Salzburg's ecclesiastical founder, the nickname "salt saint". The bishop received the town as a gift from the Duke of Bavaria around 700, as well as a share in the salt water springs of Reichenhall. This salt-related development was greatly favoured by the city's geographical location, allowing all international trade routes to meet. By the year 1000, Salzburg had already become an important centre of exchange, with its Old Market Square attracting foreign population and traders. The salt money helped to subsidise the activities of Archbishop Eberhard, who protected the town by making the Hohensalzburg fortress impregnable and bought the neutrality of the town from Maximilian I. In the years 1587-1612, the income from salt reached its highest level. This enabled Prince Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau to build the churches, castles, fountains and squares that have made the city famous. In 1611, following a conflict with the Duke of Bavaria, the export of salt was forbidden to the Bavarians. After the escape, imprisonment and death of the Prince Archbishop in 1617, it was thanks to the negotiating skills of Count Paris Lodron and the income from salt that Salzburg was spared from the Thirty Years' War and was able to resist all the aggressors. At the end of the reign of the last prince archbishop in 1803, Salzburg passed successively into the bosom of Bavaria, Austria and France, finally returning to Austria in 1816. She came out of her sleep on August 22, 1920, thanks to the grace of the first Salzburg Festival, born of the joint initiative of Max Reinhardt and Hugo von Hofmannsthal. From then on, the "heart of the heart of Europe" became one of the most visited cities. But how can one evoke it without mentioning Mozart, born in 1756, on the side of the old town, in a small bourgeois street, at number 9 of the Getreidegasse! Of the seven children of Leopold and Maria Anna Mozart's family, two survived, a daughter, Maria Anna Walpurga, and the future child prodigy, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Ironically, Mozart showed great contempt for his hometown, which today sells many tourist products bearing his image, including the famous Mozartkugeln.

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