Salzburg is known as a mecca for music and theater festivals in Austria, attended by celebrities from all over the world every year.
Classical music is breathed in every corner of the city crossed by the Salzach River, where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born on January 27, 1756. But contemporary music also found a prominent place here.
Likewise, visitors who have nothing to do with music can spend some very entertaining days in the baroque city of northern Austria, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco.
Below, dpa offers six good reasons to visit the city at the foot of the Alps.
1. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
In the so-called “Casa Hagenauer”, located at 9 Getreidegasse, there are documents and memorabilia that offer surprising details of the musician’s life. Mozart spent his childhood and youth here with his parents Leopold and Anna María, and his older sister “Nannerl” (Maria Anna Walburga Ignatia). In his hometown, the child prodigy, who had visible smallpox marks, composed his first pieces at the age of five.
Today, the house is a museum that not only reviews the life of the musician, but also the time in which he lived. In addition to touring the original rooms, where you can see historical instruments such as the Austrian composer’s children’s violin and harpsichord, visitors also learn about many things that are indirectly related to Mozart’s work. For example, that in the 35 years of his short life he spent about ten years traveling. More exactly, it was 3,720 days in which he traveled almost all of Europe in slow, cold floats with hard seats.
2. La “bola de Mozart” (Mozartkugel)
The spherical bonbon made of dark chocolate and filled with pistachio marzipan, is the most traditional souvenir of Salzburg. The “Mozartkugel” was created in 1890 by pastry chef Paul Fürst in honor of the city’s most famous son. In 1884, Fürst opened a confectionery on the Alter Markt, which is still in the same location. The pastry chef won the gold medal for his “Mozart ball” at the World’s Fair in Paris in 1905.
The “Mozartkugel” is still made in a traditional way and according to the original recipe. During its preparation, the ball is threaded on a wooden stick and immersed in a bath of dark chocolate.
Fürst wanted to have a perfectly round chocolate. There is still a legal dispute as to what the “real Mozart ball” is.
According to the descendants of the pastry chef Fürst, the original “Mozartkugel” has been wrapped in silver foil for 130 years. There is a version of the chocolate with a red and gold wrapper, but it is not round or Austrian.
3. Unesco World Heritage
Since 1997, Salzburg has been part of the Unesco Cultural Heritage for its “special value to humanity”. The heritage covers an area of 236 hectares and more than a thousand objects, and also includes its long history as a metropolis of art and culture.
The city and its historical treasures, which stretch along the right and left banks of the Salzach River, are easy to explore on foot. The oldest part, the one on the left, where the Getreidegasse (the alley of the cereals), the Kaiviertel (the quayside), the Festungsberg (mount of the fortress) and the Mönchsberg (the mount of the monks), They are part of the World Heritage Site. Not only are many ancient walls visible, but also craftsmen’s workshops and small traditional shops: tailors of regional costumes, hatters and tanneries.
From the hill of the fortress, which can be climbed on foot or by train, you also get a good view of the city. The Hohensalzburg Fortress was built in 1077 and from there you can see the rooftops of the old town and the surrounding green countryside.
4. Salzburg, a city surrounded by greenery
With 150,000 inhabitants, Salzburg is the fourth largest city in Austria and is surrounded by greenery. The baroque Mirabell Gardens are the jewel of the city center. But you can also get out into nature by taking an excursion to Leopoldskron Palace or Hellbrunn Palace. Many places can be reached by bicycle, with a guided tour or on your own.
The Grossgmain Open Air Museum is a must see. It has a hundred buildings from six different centuries that were rebuilt and that represent the development of rural architecture and the life of farmers, as well as commerce and industry.
By the way, the trees and shrubs that grow wild on the steep cliffs of the city are frowned upon. There are specialists who are in charge of cleaning the rocks so that the roots do not detach the stones from the mountains of Salzburg.
5. Salzburg for children
Music, art, or cultural events may sound unappealing to children. However, the Austrian city offers a number of activities for the little ones. For example, with the “Little Amadeus” tour, little explorers can go on a treasure hunt that takes them to the most important places in the city.
A classic, not only for families with children, is the Salzburg Puppet Theater. Since 1913, the puppeteers have given life to famous figures such as the Queen of the Night, Rumpelstiltskin (the jumping dwarf) or the Little Prince.
For her part, the founder and director of the Salzburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Elisabeth Fuchs, also organizes the Children’s Festival, in which she stages classics in such a way that even young children can understand what is happening on stage.
6. Music and theater
Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s play “Jedermann”, with the Salzburg Cathedral as a backdrop, belongs to the tradition of the Festival of Music and Theater. This piece, also known as “The Death of the Rich Man,” was first performed by director Max Reinhardt on August 22, 1920. Currently, the festival comprises more than 150 performances in 17 different venues.
In addition to the Salzburg Festival, which this year celebrates its centenary, the city also hosts the Easter and Pentecost festivals, the first started by Herbert von Karajan more than 50 years ago. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year they begin on October 29 with Mozart’s Requiem.
But not only classical music lovers feel like a fish in water in Salzburg. Jazz, electronic music and folk music also feature prominently on the music scene. For its part, the “Flavourama” is one of the biggest streetdance competitions in Europe, where hip hop and house dancers from all over the world come together to battle for victory.