Salzburg - Abbey Travel, Ireland



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Welcome to Salzburg


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 mountains. 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-musically minded will find it difficult to avoid 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 home town of Baroque and the south side of the river is a Baroque masterpiece 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 sights are within walking distance from 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.

Information & Facts


Salzburg has a continental climate with Alpine influences because of its proximity to the mountains. Summers are warm and pleasant, although rainy days are common. Winters are cold, temperatures hovering just above or below freezing, with plentiful snow.

Getting Around

The central core of Salzburg is easy and pleasant to explore on foot. There are buses and streetcars available, for which a 24-hour pass can be bought which includes the use of the Hohensalzburg Funicular. Taxis are plentiful at visible ranks throughout the city, but they are expensive.

The official language in Austria is German.

The unit of currency is the Euro (EUR), which is divided into 100 cents. Currency can be exchanged at banks and bureaux de change available in all towns, but it may be easier to use the ATMs. Banks are closed on Saturdays and Sundays, but exchange offices at airports and major city rail terminals are open seven days a week. Major credit and debit cards are widely accepted though some small hotels and restaurants may only accept cash. Travellers cheques are also accepted.

Local time in Austria is GMT +1 (GMT +2 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).

The 11th-century Hohensalzburg Castle stands on a rocky outcrop approximately 394ft (120m) above the city. Although originally built by Archbishop Gebhard to repel attacks from the neighbouring Bavarians, the present-day fortress was largely rebuilt in the early 16th century by Archbishop Leonhard Von Keutschach who added the grand state apartments. Visitors can walk around the courtyard and outskirts of the fortress at no cost unless they take the guided tour around the state apartments. The tour finishes at two small museums (this is optional) that display a selection of weapons, uniforms and armour together with instruments of torture - such as the Schandmasken - which petty criminals had to don as punishment for their crimes.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in 1756 at his family's home in Getreidegasse. The house has since been converted into a museum displaying exhibits which include the violin played by Mozart as a child, his concert violin and clavichord, a pianoforte and various portraits. The museum was first opened in1880, by the International Mozart Foundation, and restored in 1994.

The Salzkammergut is a lake area spanning Upper Austria, Salzburg and Styria, and was formerly home to the salt mines of the Hapsburg Empire. The many lakes and mountains in the region lend themselves to a variety of activities such as swimming, golf and hiking, as well as relaxing at the beautiful shore and hillside retreats. Take some time out to enjoy the local kaiserschmarrn(sugared pancakes with raisins), lebkuchen(gingerbread) and krapfen(doughnuts).

Dating as far back as the 17th century, Schloss Kleßheim Palace was used by Adolf Hitler during World War II and today serves as a casino with an elegant atmoshere and beautiful gardens. The palace also featured in the 1965 film The Great Racestarring Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Peter Falk. The casino also has some historical interest, as the eagles displayed at the palace entrance are reminiscent of the Third Reich.

If you only have time to visit one of Salzburg's many churches, make sure its the 9th century St Peter's Abbey Church (Stiftkirche St Peter), one of Salzburg's most impressive Rococo buildings. The Peterskirche was built at the beginning of the 18th century on the foundations of the former church, which was founded in 792. The ornate interior is more impressive than the exterior with high marble pillars and a magnificent frescoed ceiling. The ancient catacombs that were carved into the rock face by the early Christian inhabitants are accessible only through a short guided tour.

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