Touring Austria′s Baroque Heritage - Part III

4.) Salzburg: Essentially all of it

The city and province of Salzburg were ruled by rich (though reasonably powerful) Prince Archbishops independently of Austria. Baroque art was introduced by Prince Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau in the early 17th century - therefore, many of Salzburg′s most important Baroque buildings precede those of Vienna for decades (if not a century).

Salzburg, my hometown, a Baroque pearlAt a time when the Habsburgs in Vienna struggled with Protestants, Turks and Hungarians all at once, Salzburg re-invented itself in Baroque glory still visible in every corner of the city. Note the difference to Vienna: The early Baroque buildings of Salzburg are smaller and often less elaborate; plus, they are usually rather sacral, as Salzburg was essentially a church-state.

It is hard to find anything that is not Baroque in Salzburg - nonetheless, here is a short list of the most important buildings and sites: The Salzburger Dom Cathedral; the gardens of Schloss Mirabell Castle as well as the castle′s marble hall; the Church of the Holy Trinity, the Erhardskirche Church, the church of the Stift St. Peter; the Collegiate Church, the Kajetanerkirche Church, Mülln Parish Church, Markuskirche Church, Schloss Hellbrunn Castle; the Zoo Hellbrunn; the trick fountains of Hellbrunn; the Getreidegasse Lane and the many burgher houses; the Residenz and the Neue Residenz with the Glockenspiel; the Pferdeschwemme horse wells and Schloß Leopoldskron as well as Schloss Klessheim (both are late Baroque/Rococo); the Basilica of Maria Plain. A hidden gem is the Johanneskirchlein just underneath the Capuchin′s monastery, one of my favourite churches in Salzburg.

There are articles on each of these sightseeing attractions on our partner site for Salzburg:

5.) Palaces & Castles outside of Vienna

The noble families that built their fancy "Palais" palaces in Vienna often had even more impressive palaces in the area where they normally lived - where they were the local landlords. Often the main castles are "Baroquinised" versions of previously existing, Medieval buildings. Seriously rich nobility could also afford to build summer palaces or countryside retreats for hunting and other rural leisure. Altogether, Austria is blessed with a rather large number of Baroque palaces and castles all over the place - regardless of where you are, it is always worth to ask for the closest castle.

There are only two that I would like to name here, because both of them are within easy reach from Vienna and particularly impressive: Schlosshof in the Marchfeld area is Austria′s biggest castle on the countryside and was build for - surprise - Prince Eugene of Savoy, a gay Frenchman who turned into a national-hero for being efficient in killing Turks. The castle′s gardens were recently reconstructed to their original Baroque glory. Unfortunately, I haven′t seen them after the reconstruction, I remember Schlosshof only as a slightly run-down, yet extremely charming palace. These days, it is said to be a firework of Baroque art and architecture.

The second site I would like to point out is Laxenburg: Here you can find the Habsburg′s "other" summer retreat (the primary one being Schönbrunn) with a huge, huge garden, three palaces (of which only one is Baroque) and summer palaces of other Austrian top-notch nobility nearby. The palaces are not open to the public (they are usually private property or rented by an educational/research institution), but it is the parks that attract the crowds and will provide deep insights into the joys and delights of being rich in the 18th century: Hunting, ambling, gambling. The parks of Laxenburg must have been a joyful place.

Go to: Part I - Part II - Part III - Part IV

Further Reading

Biographies of Lukas von Hildebrandt & Fischer von Erlach

Introduction to Austrian Baroque

Suggested Itinerary for Touring Austria

Wikipedia on Baroque

back to "tours & trips"