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Salzburg, Austria is a beautiful city, and a haven for history buffs and music nerds alike. If you missed part I of this series on Salzburg, be sure to read it here.
After our visit to Dom zu Salzburg (Salzburg Cathedral), Leslie and I took the funicular to the top of Mount Festungsberg. I have this weird quirk where if something is really fun to say, I can’t stop saying it. So yeah, I said “funicular” about 127,000 times in the time it took us to get from the bottom of the mountain to the top. (That also might have been a coping mechanism because, as I’ve mentioned before, me and heights do not get along well. Or at all…)
Originally built in 1077 by archbishop Gebhard to protect the principality, Hohensalzburg is the largest fully-preserved castle in central Europe. That’s not hard to believe, either—it was like visiting another whole city! Hohensalzburg Fortress takes up the entire mountaintop and towers over the rest of the city. You can see it from just about anywhere, which is super convenient for orienting yourself as you navigate the narrow, hilly streets of Altstadt (old town Salzburg).
Not only did the fortress have some pretty impressive state rooms, a weaponry museum, and an entire room for storing salt (I kid you not), it also had a marionette museum. We were pretty pleased about that since the other one had been closed, and it was so fun to see all the puppets on display.
The fortress also provided the most incredible views of the Austrian Alps and the city below. As Leslie says, “It was worth the price of the funicular just to for the beautiful view of the city below and the mountains surrounding the area.”
- Hohensalzburg Fortress
- Official Site
Basic Ticket: €12
Standard Ticket: €15.20
Online Standard Ticket: From €11.50
- (3.5 / 5)Our Rating
Our last stop of day one was at Stift Nonnberg (AKA Nonnberg Abbey), an 11th Century convent church that plays an important role in The Sound of Music—and in the real life story of the Von Trapps. This church was where Fräulein Maria Augusta von Kutschera became a Benedictine novitiate, and after working as a governess for Baron von Trapp, the two were married there in 1927.
During the filming of The Sound of Music, the abbey was used for many church scenes, including the mass scene early in the movie and part of the song “Maria”. The children go to the church gate (the very one I’m posing with above) to plead with the nuns for a chance to speak to Maria, and the sabotaged Nazi cars at the end are parked in the Abbey courtyard.
Unfortunately, the church was closed when we arrived, so we didn’t get to go inside. It’s a real shame, as I hear the gothic wooden altar by Veit Stoss is incredible. Guess I’ll just have to go back.
Shucks darn it.
Sebastianfriedhof (St. Sebastian’s Cemetery)
Our 2nd day in Salzburg was a Sunday, so we spent most of the day resting at our hostel and watching General Conference. The weather was lousy anyways, and it was nice to just relax and feel the Spirit. But when Leslie and I both needed a little fresh air, we braved the rain and went for a little walk. We wandered over to Sebastianfriedhof, a 16th-century cemetery where lots of famous people I’ve never heard of are buried. Mozart’s wife is buried here, as well as some other family members.
I kind of love cemeteries, and this one was quiet and serene. It almost felt more like a park than a cemetery. I really enjoyed our visit and I was grateful for something so peaceful to enjoy on the Sabbath.
From there, we just wandered around and enjoyed the architecture. There was hardly anyone out, so it was almost like having all of Salzburg to ourselves. It was a perfect way to end our time in this beautiful city.
Read more about my trip with Leslie here.