City of Salzburg, Austria. © Thomas Pintaric
Until 1816, Salzburg was a city-state, independent of
the Hapsburgs and ruled by powerful prince-archbishops. It is
situated on the northern border of Austria, 70 miles (113km)
southeast of Munich, in a picturesque setting surrounded by
Mozart was born here and the city's fascination with
its most famous son is best demonstrated during the Salzburg
Festival, which presents world-class performances of opera, drama
and concerts each summer. Even the non-musical will find it
difficult to resist Mozart's impression on the town: his image is
on every postcard and chocolate box and both his birthplace and
family house are now museums offering detailed insight into his
life and work.
The city is also the hometown of Baroque and the
south side of the river is a beautiful Baroque sprawl of charming
churches, squares, houses, and fountains. The original buildings
were cleared in the late 1500s by Prince Archbishop Wolf Dietrich
von Raitenau in order to create a 'German Rome'.
All the main sights are within walking distance of
the spacious old city (Altstadt), which is now largely
pedestrianised. A few miles to the south of the city are the
historic towns of Hallein and Werfen and to the west are the lakes
of Salzberger, which are especially worth visiting during the
spring and summer when the wild flowers are out.
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