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 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.
Even though it was drizzling, it was still fun to come through the gardens given to the Archbishop's mistress, in a fit of love, as they say. The statues have a hazy quality in the misty rain that does not show in photography unless you are a professional, but one must adapt to one's circumstances, yes? So on our walking tour through these lovely gardens, I enjoyed my son and his wife's company in the drizzle.
The gardens of Mirabell palace outshine the palace are really the attraction that draws the visitors, the palace itself is not out of the ordinary for one of its age. One unique feature of the gardens is its collection of dwarf statutes
The Mirabell Gardens (Mirabellgarten) is a colourful world of flowers and sculptures.
In 1606 Archbishop Wolf Dietrich built for his mistress Salome Alt the castle ‘Altenau’ at the gates of the city. Hs successors enlarged it and made it the summer residence of the archbishops and called it Mirabell.
Surrounding the high fountain in the middle there are four groups of figures by Ottavio Mosto. They portray the elements air, earth, fire and water.
The great fire of 1818 destroyed much of the Mirabell palace but left intact two of Baroque art's greatest masterpieces. The great marble staircase is known as the Donnerstiege after the creator of the life sized classical statues in the niches lining the staircase, considered among the finest of existing Baroque creations (1726). This famous Viennese sculptor was selected to appear on the 2002 Austrian Euro gold commemorative coin in recognition of his many famous works.
The staircase itself is by Lukas von Hillebrandt working off the original design of the Altenau Palace. In an overwhelming setting of marble, delightful marble angels adorning the ornate balustrades have led to the second name for the staircase, the Angel Staircase.
Enjoy a Baroque overdose in this area, with the castle, gardens, fountains, and view of the Old Town and Fortress. This is probably the best place in Salzburg for views and photographs, especially if you have time to kill but not much money. Sound of Music fans can find a covered walkway where they can pretend they're Maria. Husbands of Sound of Music fans can humor their wives and tell them how much fun it is. ;)
The Zwergerlgarden or Dwarf Garden is the most unique and bizarre feature of Mirabell, with four foot high statues of dwarves who lived in the palace during the time of Archbishop - Prince Franz Anton Graf Harrach and created by an unknown sculptor approximately 1715. There may have been as many as 28, apparently modelled on real life subjects. Depending on the source, as few as nine originals remain. The modern day park site dates from the 1920's.
Dwarves were a part of most Baroque courts in the 17th and 18th C, kept for entertainment but also valued for their loyalty to their masters. Image 5 shows the relationship of the dwarf garden to the pegasus statue and the palace. There is no signage and this discrete segment of the gardens is easy to miss.
A featured segment of the famous movie was filmed at the Mirabell Gardens. Walk in their footsteps by entering the gardens through the unobtrusive gateway ( image 1 )from Rainierstrasse and enter a subdivision of the gardens with a central fountain with a statue called the Papagena (images 2,3 ) modelled after a similar work in the old city. This is a delightful little park, a nice and peaceful place for a brief rest amidst the chaos of the bus tours in other areas.
Entering the gardens proper, turn right and walk behind the palace to the Pegasus statue ( Image 4 ). Made of copper, it was originally created in 1661 for a well near the cathedral. It would later grace the watering trough in front of the Mirabell and reach its final place in the Small Parterre behind the palace in 1913. Behind the Pegasus are the stairs leading to the Rose Garden ( image 5 ), used in the movie for the song Do-Re-Mi with the characters bouncing up and down the stairs. Pegasus statues flank the base of the stairs. Above the steps is a rose garden, with on our visit very few roses. Today these steps are stated to become in the evening a major cruising point for the homosexual population of Salzburg.
The Mirabell Gardens are not a unified concept, rather 6 or 7 discrete rectangular sections each with a different character.
The Grand Parterre is the oldest existing segment with colorful sculpted flowerbeds separated by grassy plots ( image 1 ) and all surrounded by a marble railing topped with vases created by Johann von Ehrlach, Austria's Father of Baroque Architecture ( image 4 ). The centerpiece is a massive fountain surrounded by four famous statues sculpted by Ottavio Mosto in 1690. They represent the four elements - water ( Paris kidnapping Helen ), air ( Hercules and Antaeus ), earth ( the abduction of Proserpina by Pluto - image 3 ), and fire ( Aeneas fleeing Troy with his father - image 2 ).