When the weather permits you should go for a walk through the Mirabell Garden and maybe have a look at the Castle too. The Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg had these gardens and the castle especially designed for his mistress. Gardens that once suited the exquisite taste of the P-A's mistress should certainly be to the liking of humble tourists such as ourselves...
Isn't this a romantic story.....
The Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau had Altenau Palace built in 1606 as a token of his love for Salome Alt. They must have really been in love to produce 15 children, with 10 of them surviving!
The Palace is known as "A precious jewel." Fire destroyed some of its frescoes and buildings, luckily the grand marble staircase that led into the palace and the marble hall survived unscathed.
To me, it was a rather plain very large building, with some nice sculptures and beautiful little cherubs decorating the Marble balustrade. I think the garden is what makes the Palace.
Today, the Palace is the home of Salzburg's mayor and the municipal council. It has a Marble Hall considered to be one of the "most beautiful wedding halls in the world."
Meetings, awards ceremonies and concerts are held here regularly.
PALACE IS OPEN.....
Mon, Wed, Thu: 8 am - 4 pm, Tues + Fri: 1 - 4 pm.
No visit in case of special occasions.
Angel Staircase (staircase in baroque style): open daily approx. 8 am-6 pm.
The Mirabell Gardens are beautiful, no wonder they are famous gardens! They were opened to the public by Emperor Franz Joseph in 1854 and are known as a horticultural masterpiece.
A lovely fountain, is the Pegasus Fountain, which has four groups of statues surrounding it. These symbolize the 4 elements which are fire, air, earth and water. There are many lovely statues dotted around the garden, and I loved the Urns with the angry faces that were sitting on the fence line of the Palace! The annual flowers are in swirls and different designs, they look beautiful when viewed from the top terrace of the gardens.
Altogether, a lovely garden, NOT TO BE MISSED
FREE TO VIEW
These lovely gardens were designed by Fischer von Erlach. There are great views towards the fortress from here. The gardens contain many beautiful flowers, statues, the Pegaus Fountain which featured in The Sound of Music. There is also an interesting dwarf garden and a hedge maze.
A palace with a nice garden. It was a present from the Prince Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau to his mistress Salome Alt. Today the Palace accommodates the office of Salzburg's Buergermeister (mayor) and the municipal administration.
And the Marble Hall, formerly the prince archbishop's banquet hall where Mozart's father Leopold and his children Wolfgang and Nannerl once played their instruments, is acknowledged to be one of the "most beautiful wedding halls in the world".
The gardens are laced with scenes from the Sound of Music. Maria and the children sing 'Do-Re-Mi' here while dancing around the Pegasus statue fountain and suing the steps as a musical scale. While the Sound Of Music sights are the main stop make sure to also check the view from the Palace terrace and the Pergola which is a long vine covered tunnel. Near the Pegasus fountain you'll see steps leading to the dwarf gnome park, which all of the statues all modeled after real dwarfs. Find the only dwarf statue with glasses, it was patted on the head in the movie.
Mirabell Castle is somewhat of a scandalous building - it was built by Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau for his mistress, Salome Alt, whom he had ten children with!
It was constructed in 1606 on the northern side of the Salzach. which was out of town at the time. Originally, the castle was called "Altenau" after the mistress, it was only Wolf Dietrich's successor who renamed it into "Mirabell". He also drove Salome out of her castle after Wolf Dietrich's death. The castle was reconstructed in the 18th century to become a baroque castle, but after a fire in 1818 parts of it were reconstructed in the original classic style again, so that now it is kind of a mixture.
In the orangerie of the castle there is a baroque musum with paintings and sketches, but we did not go there.
You cannot see a lot of the castle's interior as it is now used by Salzburg's mayor and magistrat. The wonderful baroque Gardens are open to visit though, and they are very beautiful. The gardens still stick to the design from 1690, that is, geometrical forms. At the entrance you find a Pegasus statue made of copper in 1661. This statue was originally located at the Kapitelschwemme, but later brought to Mirabell. If you turn right from here, you come to the Rosenhügel (Rose Hill), a wonderful place. The fountain in the middle of the Gardens depicts the four elements symbolized by four mythological stories: Aeneas saves his son from burning Troy, Herkules lifts Antaeus into the air, Proserpina is led by Pluto into the earth and Paris kidnaps Helena to the sea.
There are many hidden corners and beautiful things in these Gardens, so just stroll around and explore, relax and enjoy :-)
The Zwerglgarten (Dwarves' Garden) is a small place in a corner of Mirabell Garden and very popular with children, but also with other visitors. There are about fifteen dwarves, they are about 1,20m - 1,40m tall and depict professions of daily life: A gardener, a salesman, a tradesman...
There had originally been 28 dwarves, made for Ludwig I, king of Bayern, but he found them so disagreeable that he wanted them to be destroyed. They were scattered to the four winds, but fortunately about half of them could be found again and are now on dislay here. They are made of marble and look very funny and quaint. A nice photo opportunity!
Within the castle, there is the Marmorsaal (Marble Hall), which you can see when there is no function or wedding taken place (which did when we visited). What you can see in any case is the Engelstiege (Angel's Staircase), a most wonderful stairwell with lots of stucco and marble. The sculptures were made by Georg Raphael Donner who is the most famous sculptor of the time. The little angels that are playing and dashing on the railing are very cute and interesting. So make sure you have a look at the staircase when you visit the gardens - it is also the only interior part of the castle's main building that can be visited by tourists.
Mirabell Palace was originally built in the early part of the 17th century, by the Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau who named it Altenau Palace. It was built for his mistress Salome Alt who bore him 15 children, ten of whom survived. The successor to von Raitenau, Archbishop Markus Sitticus von Hohenems, renamed the castle Mirabell.
It was renovated in the late 18th century in the baroque style and the beautiful baroque gardens are thought to be among the best in the world. Good news is that these days the complex is available for weddings and is genaerlly open to to the public. Admission to view is free.
This small stretch of gardens is a beautiful mix of flowers and sculpture, in summer at least. If you need a break in your day, I'd recommend finding a bench here to sit. However, this is not the place to spread out on the grass. Winter visitors should be cautioned that much of the gardens are closed off, though the main area is open. Fans of the Sound of Music will also find some familiar sites here.
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