If you are interested castles of Austria First of all, be sure to visit the Hohensalzburg Castle - the largest of the completely preserved medieval fortresses of Europe . Undoubtedly, it is worth climbing to the very top of Mount Festung, where a piece of authentic medieval life of Austria has been preserved in the ancient walls, and from the terraces and towers you have a fantastic view of the city of Salzburg and the surrounding mountains and valleys.
Myths and Facts
Hohensalzburg Castle (which translates as “the high fortress of Salzburg”) was founded in 1077 by order of the Archbishop of Salzburg Gebhard I. The castle, originally built in the Romanesque style, was rebuilt and strengthened several times, gradually turning into a powerful fortress, which served as a stronghold for the ruling archbishops. By the sixteenth century, Hohensalzburg had acquired its current dimensions: 250 m long and 150 m wide, with a total area of 30 thousand square meters.
Funds for the construction of new towers and buildings of Hohensalzburg came from mines in the Alps, where at that time a third of the world's gold was mined. But in 1525, miners and peasants rebelled against the archbishops, and the castle was besieged (the first and last time in the history of Hohensalzburg).
The legend of the Salzburg bull is associated with this event. The food stocks of the castle were small and ended after a few days of the siege. The archbishop decided to outwit the miners. He ordered the only remaining bull to be repainted every day and led him around the fortress to demonstrate to the rebels his imaginary food supplies. The trick was a success: the demoralized miners surrendered after 14 days, considering the siege of the fortress with such reserves hopeless.
Hohensalzburg is one of the few castles in Austria that has never been taken by attack. Only during the Napoleonic Wars was the fortress surrendered without a fight, as it had lost its military significance at that time. Subsequently, Hohensalzburg was used as a barracks and warehouses. At the beginning of the XX century there was a prison for foreign prisoners of war and Nazis.
Now Hohensalzburg Castle has been restored and opened as a museum of the Middle Ages of Austria.
What to see
Castles in Austria have an elegant and sophisticated interior. The apartments of the archbishops are located in the so-called "Hoher Stock" (high floor). The most luxuriously furnished room is the Golden Chamber. Along the long walls, upholstered in gold-embossed leather, are benches richly decorated with carved ornaments with grapes, leaves and animals.
In the bishop's bedroom, the original furniture with precious fabric upholstery has been replaced with a more modern copy. The walls of the room are covered with panels to protect from the cold. The upper part of the panel is decorated with gilded buttons, the upholstery of the lower part is not preserved. Behind the door is a toilet, which is a hole in the floor with a wooden frame. In those days it was a very modern toilet, each floor also had a bathroom.
Within the walls of Hohensalzburg there is a chapel built in the 16th century, with painted ceilings and marble reliefs. An interesting feature of the castle is the huge mechanical organ in the Krautturm tower, created in 1502 and restored in 1735.
The Hohensalzburg Museum presents a large collection of medieval works of art, armor, weapons and various instruments of torture.
Returning from a trip to the past, you can enjoy stunning views from the terraces and towers of the castle on modern Salzburg, which lies down in the valley against the backdrop of the Alps.
Another couple of Salzburg attractions that are definitely worth a visit:Mirabell Palacewith the most beautiful gardens in Austria afterSchonbrunn Palacein Vienna andSalzburg Cathedralwhere Mozart played his immortal works.
Hohensalzburg Castle is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from May to September, and from 9.30 a.m. to 5 p.m. from October to April.
Cost: a combined ticket, including a lift to the castle by funicular, a visit to the castle, museum and an audio guide - 9.80 €, children from 6 to 15 years old - 5.60 €. (If you have a map of Salzburg - for free).