Salzburg – European River Cruise
Salzburg prides itself as being the Stage of the World and if you see the extensive list of concerts, musical and theatrical events, plays, etc. that take place in this city all year round, you’ll not wonder at this claim.
As the birthplace of Mozart, Salzburg draws in huge numbers of visitors who, like us, have come to enjoy this famous composer’s music in his home town. At the turn of every street corner, you’ll see posters advertising concerts and ‘Mozart’ look-alikes trying to sell tickets to the various concerts.
We thought the first thing to do is to take the funicular ride up to the Hohensalzburg Fortress and from here we had a wonderful bird’s eye view of Salzburg. Built in 1077, Hohensalzburg Fortress is the largest, fully-preserved fortress in central Europe. The fortress itself now houses several museums holding historical records of its glorious but faded past. Having served as a fortification and temporary residence of the prince archbishops for many years, the fortress also served as military barracks and a prison. Prince Archbishop Wolf Dietrich was held captive in the fortress for five years by his nephew and successor, Markus Sittikus, up to his death in 1617. It was very pleasant being up in the fortress and we would have liked to stay up there the whole afternoon.
After the fortress, we visited Salzburg Cathedral. With its magnificent façade and mighty dome the Cathedral represents the most impressive early Baroque edifice north of the Alps. Among the precious objects to be found in the Cathedral are the baptismal font where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was baptised, the majestic main organ, as well as the magnificent Cathedral portals made by Scheider-Manzell, Mataré and Manzú. In his capacity as the court organist and concert master, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed numerous undying works of sacred music for Salzburg.
For lovers of marizipan, look out for Fürst, Brodgasse 13, where the first marzipan was made. Mozartkugeln or Mozart Balls were invented by the Salzburg confectioner Paul Fürst in 1890. They’re small chocolate balls with a core of marzipan mixed with pistachio. Then a layer of nougat is added and a thin layer of bitter chocolate. The balls are wrapped in silver or gold foil, imprinted with Mozart’s head.
Other interesting streets and landmarks include Getreidegasse – a charming narrow shopping strip decorated with wrought iron guild signs, the statue of St. Florian, patron saint of firefighters, in the old town square, Mozart’s house, etc.
It was lunchtime, and after looking around, Cafe Tomaselli at Alter Markt 9 looked liked a nice place to stop. We sat upstairs on the wide balcony overlooking the square and caught all the action in the streets. The Austrians appear to like their pastries. Huge trays of cakes were brought to your table and the locals made no attempt to resist them.