SALZBURG | Hohensalzburg Fortress 

Autumn 2021. In theory we could travel to other continents, but destinations we had in mind such as Japan or the United Kingdom were impossible to plan ahead. Instead we organised a rail trip to Eastern Europe, travelling to Berlin, Gdańsk, Wrocław, Karlovy Vary, Pilsen, Bratislava, Poprad, Vienna, Linz and Salzburg. By travelling to Germany, Poland, Czechia, Slovakia and Austria, we explore an area which was in the (not too distant) past bonded together by the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation and by Austria-Hungary.

Hohensalzburg Fortress, Festung Hohensalzburg or High Salzburg Fortress (if you want to translate literally) dominates Salzburg’s cityscape. It’s unavoidable.

Hohensalzburg Fortress.

Hohensalzburg Fortress is a large medieval fortress sits atop the Festungsberg (Fortress Hill) at an altitude of 506 metres. It was erected at the behest of the Prince-Archbishops of Salzburg. The fortress is 250 m (820 ft) long and 150 m (490 ft) wide making it one of the largest medieval castles in Europe

Construction of the fortress began in 1077 under archbishop Gebhard von Helfenstein. The original design was a basic bailey with a wooden wall. In the Holy Roman Empire, the archbishops of Salzburg were already powerful political figures and they expanded the fortress to protect their interests.

Helfenstein’s conflict with Emperor Henry IV during the Investiture Controversy influenced the expansion of the fortress, with the Archbishop taking the side of Pope Gregory VII and the German anti-king Rudolf of Rheinfelden. The fortress was gradually expanded during the following centuries. The ring walls and towers were built in 1462 under Prince-Archbishop Burkhard II von Weißpriach.

That’s right, Salzburg was an independent prince-archbishopric within the Holy Roman Empire from 1328 to 1803

Salzburg’s coat of arms as a Land of Austria, based on the coat of arms of the prince-archbishopric.

Prince-Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach further expanded the fortress during his term from 1495 until 1519. The current external bastions, begun in the 16th century and completed in the 17th, were added as a precaution because of fears of Turkish Invasion.

The only time that the fortress actually came under siege was during the German Peasants’ War in 1525, when a group of miners, farmers and townspeople tried to oust Prince-Archbishop Matthäus Lang, but failed to take the fortress. In 1617 the deposed Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau died in the fortress prison. During the Thirty Years’ War, Archbishop Count Paris of Lodron strengthened the town’s defenses, including Hohensalzburg. He added various parts to the fortress, such as the gunpowder stores and additional gatehouses. 

A testament of manhood.

The fortress was surrendered without a fight to French troops under general Jean Victor Marie Moreau during the Napoleonic War of the Second Coalition in 1800 and the last Prince-Archbishop Count Hieronymus von Colloredo fled to Vienna. In the 19th century, it was used as barracks, storage depot and dungeon before being abandoned as a military outpost in 1861.

Hohensalzburg Fortress was refurbished from the late 19th century onwards and became a major tourist attraction with the Festungsbahn funicular railway, opened in 1892, leading up from the town to the Hasengrabenbastei. It stands today as one of the best preserved castles in Europe.

During the early 20th century it was used as a prison, holding Italian prisoners of war during World War I and Nazi activists before the Anchluss in March 1938.

As a set of museums

Hohensalzburg has several museums. The Fortress Museum itself shows historical exhibits focused on courtly life led by the prince archbishops. There’s the Marionette Museum and the Museum of the Rainer Regiment. The historic armoury houses an interactive exhibition on suits of armour and weapons. 

Also located on the third floor of the fortress are the Princes’ Chambers, consisting of the Princes’ Hall, the Golden Chamber and the Golden Hall. The furnishings in all of these rooms are original and have remained unchanged since 1501/1502. 

The Panorama Tour

A truly special experience the panorama tour, which leads from the salt magazine via the dungeon to the viewing platform of the Reckturm tower, where there is probably the most beautiful view in the city. Afterwards, the tour leads through the battlements to the famous Salzburg Bull

A visit

So you can or hike up the mountain or take Festungbahn. Why not take the complete tickets, so you can visit all the museums. Why the Fortress is not one larger museum, is a mystery. 

Danny and I visited many castles in our lives and no, Hohensalzburg Castle’s exhibition doesn’t really stand out. Still, there’s plenty to see up there, not least the view. 

2021 Rail Tour of Imperial Europe

  1. POTSDAM 2021 | Schloss Sanssouci.
  2. 1945 Potsdam Conference’s Cecilienhof Palace.
  3. Potsdam 2021.
  4. REVIEW | InterContinental Berlin.
  5. BERLIN 2021 | Pergamon, ‘Das Panorama’.
  6. BERLIN 2021 | Humboldt Forum in the Berlin Palace.
  7. BERLIN 2021 | The Bundestag in the Reichstag.
  8. Berlin 2021.
  9. By train from Berlin to Gdansk via Szczecin.
  10. Stopover in Szczecin.
  11. REVIEW | Restauracja Ritz in Gdańsk.
  12. REVIEW | Holiday Inn Gdansk.
  13. GDAŃSK | Museum of the Second World War.
  14. GDAŃSK | European Solidarity Centre or Europejskie Centrum Solidarności.
  15. A walk through Gdańsk.
  16. Gdańsk 2021.
  17. POLAND | PKP Intercity Gdansk to Wroclaw via Warsaw.
  18. Wrocław Museum of Architecture.
  19. The Dwarfs of Wrocław.
  20. Wrocław.
  21. Poland 2021.
  22. By train from Wroclaw to Karlovy Vary.
  23. Karlovy Vary.
  24. REVIEW | Hotel Imperial Karlovy Vary.
  25. Czechia’s Great Spa Town of Europe Františkovy Lázně.
  26. CZECHIA | Pilsen Historical Underground Tunnels.
  27. CZECHIA | Pilsner Urquell Brewery Tour.
  28. CZECHIA | Pilsen.
  29. CZECHIA 2021 | Cheb and its castle.
  30. Hotel room for one.
  31. By train from Karlovy Vary to Prague via Pilsen.
  32. Czechia 2021.
  33. RegioJet from Prague to Bratislava.
  34. Bratislava Castle.
  35. REVIEW | Crowne Plaza Bratislava.
  36. Bratislava on a rainy Monday.
  37. ZSSK Fast Train Tatran from Bratislava to Strba.
  38. The Tatra rack and electric Railway from Strba via Strbske Pleso to Poprad tatry.
  39. SLOVAKIA | AquaCity Poprad.
  40. REVIEW | Hotel Seasons AquaCity Poprad.
  41. Slovakia 2021.
  42. Poprad – Bratislava – Vienna with ZSSK’s intercity train.
  43. VIENNA | Restaurant Steirereck.
  44. REVIEW | InterContinental Wien.
  45. VIENNA | Luxury Sisi’s in Schönbrunn Palace.
  46. The Hofburg in Vienna.
  47. Vienna’s Furniture Museum.
  48. Vienna 2021.
  49. Pöstlingberg & Grottenbahn in Linz.
  50. REVIEW | Motel One Linz.
  51. Linz.
  52. AUSTRIA | ÖBB RailJet from Linz to Salzburg.
  53. BAVARIA | Lokwelt – Locomotive World in Freilassing.
  54. REVIEW | Hotel Sacher Salzburg.
  55. SALZBURG | Mirabell Palace and the Mozart Residence.

10 Comments Add yours

  1. elvira797mx says:

    Wow! So beautiful place and photos! Thank’s for share, Timohy.
    Have a wonderful day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Timothy says:

      Thank you Elvira

      Have a great day

      Like

      1. elvira797mx says:

        A pleasure, Timothy.
        You as well.

        Liked by 1 person

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