Long before I traveled to Salzburg I had already heard a lot of great things about the city. When I found myself in Munich for work I was happy to see that Salzburg was located right on the German border and was only 90 minutes away from where I was staying. My first experience in Salzburg was driving along the Salzach river where I was able to get a glimpse of the old city and surrounding mountains. At one point I drove under the Monchsberg mountain through a tunnel known as Sigmund’s Gate shown below. On the other side of the tunnel I found some parking and later ended up passing through an adjacent tunnel for pedestrians.
Before I went through the tunnel again I actually climbed the Monschsberg through its trails. There were several houses on top of the mountain along with a museum and cafe. I intended to go to the museum later but never made it back. The mountain gives some excellent views of the city, which is where I took the first two photos from. I could even see a few people fishing in the Salzach River such as this guy on the upper right.
This church here on the left is the Mülln Parish Church and was built way back in 1453. I randomly passed by it as I began to climb up the Monchsberg mountain. There is so much good history in Salzburg that I wish I had actually taken a tour. There are tours of all kinds offered in the city, even “Sound of Music” tours. Since I didn’t take any it was up to me to do my research on what to find in the city, and I’m sure I missed out on countless important facts and places. I did come across this little painting of the Sound of Music that was painted in the city center.
One of the first things I came across on top of the Monchsberg was the Mullner Schanze Fortress. City walls have existed in Salzburg since the medieval times and were expanded over the centuries. These walls here were part of the old fortifications that I explored. On top of the Monchsberg you can also see other castles in the distances on other mountaintops.
Like I said, from the top of Monchsberg you get some amazing views. The first photo on the left is of the south part of the city which is mostly a residential area. Actually the photos from below are from that neighborhood showing some of the small houses and buildings I came across. It was on the verge of spring when I visited so I image that the house covered in ivy on the lower right turns all green to where you can’t even see the house! On the upper right is one of the signs I saw along the trail giving directions and distances from popular places. I found it funny how on the lower right of the sign they showed that it was 450 meters to get beer!
When I got back down to the old city I started exploring on the other side of Sigmund’s Gate where I came across this large fountain and horse statue. I wasn’t sure the history of it at the time but after looking it up it turns out it’s a former horse well that has existed for hundreds of years. Even more important, this was one of the scenes in the Sound of Music where they sang the song “My Favorite Things”. Although horses don’t use this well anymore, there are plenty of them pulling carriages throughout the old city.
In the central part of the old city I came across a street market. The market wasn’t really all that big but they had several stands selling things from flowers and toys seen above, to baskets, meats and other food items. I’m not sure if it’s always here or just on Saturdays when I happened to be in the city.
The old city has all types of interesting shops for those looking to bring things back home. There was even this vintage style clock store photographed on the right. I visited Salzburg right before the Easter holidays so lots of shops had their Easter decorations up. This one on the left seemed to completely dedicate their store to the holiday! Below are two other photos from the old city showing some of the open plazas and cafes. The lower right photo has the town hall in the background.
One thing I couldn’t help but notice about Salzburg was that several buildings were covered in graffiti, even sections of the old city. I’m not sure if people here see this as a big problem or just kind of overlook it. Most parts weren’t too bad, but any tunnel or quiet alley I went through seemed to be guaranteed to be covered in spray paint.
While doing my random exploring I came across this historical marker. In March of 1938 Salzburg and among other parts of Austria was annexed by Nazi Germany. When the war came Salzburg tall buildings such as the cathedrals were heavily bombed and destroyed, but much of the city’s Baroque architecture remained in tact. Only a month after the Nazis took over Salzburg there was a large burning of books in the city center of anything that was suspected of being pro Jewish or Marxist. In the hundreds of years that Salzburg has existed, it’s dark days are rather short and the city is one again one of the most beautiful in the world. Instead of racial rallies in the city center there are people from all over the world, and even this living statue.
After seeing the old city I crossed the river and found the other side of Salzburg to be similar. The streets and buildings looked the same and there were plenty of shops and outdoor cafes here. I actually walked for a few miles here to find an English book store but that ended up being closed. The neighborhoods changed from the old city atmosphere into more of a normal commercial district and eventually into housing communities. Along the walk I also passed by the St Andrew church photographed below. The church has been around since 1898 but was destroyed during bombing raids in World War II.