Mirabell Gardens is one of the most visited sites in Salzburg, both on its own merits and its role in the Sound of Music movie. A garden has existed since the early 17th C backing the Altenau Palace, originally just a kitchen garden but oriented from the first with the long axis putting the Hohensalzburg Fortress and the Salzburg cathedral in the background and creating one of the most famous images of Salzburg (images 1,2). As tastes changed, the garden was renovated several times. What we see today dates from 1730, by Baroque landscape architect Franz Anton Danreiter.
The most used entrance is from Makartplatz near the pedestrian bridge. Two large semicircular balustrades are centered on the famous fencers created by master sculptor Andreas Gotzinger dating from the late 1600's (image 3). The balustrades feature 16 statues of Roman gods from the same time period ( pictures lost when camera 2 was stolen in Vienna ), very impressive. Note how the fortress is framed by the fencers - in real life the entire entranceway encloses the fortress and cathedral in the background.
The 1818 fire destroyed several ceiling frescoes by Rottmayer, but left relatively unscathed the beautiful Marble Hall (Marmorsaal) today used as a wedding hall often called the most beautiful in Austria and up to 300 Mozart concerts a year, some designed for tourists and others featuring the most highly acclaimed musicians in Europe. During the 17th C, it was the ceremonial hall and main dining room of the prince archbishops, and among others Leopold Mozart and his gifted family performed here for state dinners and ceremonies. The Marble Hall is a most striking room - the name is drawn from the ornate patterned tan, red, black, and white marble floor (Image 4). The walls are bright white covered with delicate gold appliques. Crystal chandeliers and extensive windows bathe the room in light. With the Angel Staircase, the Marble Hall make a stunning celebration of Baroque excess, well worth visiting.
The modern day Mirabell Palace is mundanely occupied by the munincipal offices of Salzburg but has a long and interesting history. The original Baroque palace on this site was built in 1606 by Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau, the first and arguably most famous of Salzburg's three archbishop-princes who elevated the city to a foremost rank in the Holy Roman Empire. It overlooked the Salzach River on the bank opposite the old city, surrounded by gardens, and was named Altenau in honor of his consort Salome Alt. After his abdication in 1612 and imprisonment in the Hohensalzburg Fortress following an ill-advised and unsuccessful salt war with the far more powerful kingdom of Bavaria, his successor Markus Sittikus renamed it Mirabell ( beautiful view ). The palace would undergo several renovations including a major effort by prince archbishop Franz Anton Furst von Harrach between 1721-7 as designed by the famous Baroque architect von Hildebrandt. A fire in 1818 destroyed much of the palace and most of what we see today is the work of Viennese master Peter von Nobile soon afterward. Interestingly this last renovation led to a more classical and far less ornate decor and the exterior today is relatively simple. One of the only hints of the original Baroque excess visible on the exterior of the palace is the ornate window trim. Perhaps the less extravagant appearance reflects Salzburg's loss of independence and inclusion is Austria in 1815 following the Napoleonic wars and the overthrow of the prince-archbishop rule at the end of the Holy Roman Empire.
As a munincipal building it is open to all free of charge during business hours but there are no tours or brochures to help the visitor along. As described in the next tip, the interior contains two of the world's great Baroque masterpieces.
WOLF DIETRICH AND SALOME ALT - the tyrannical and universally hated Wolf Dietrich had only one soft spot - his affection for Salome Alt, the daughter of a prominent Salzburg businessman. She is variously described as being Jewish or Protestant, but never Catholic. They would have 15 children, of whom ten survived, and all considered illegitimate by the church. This relationship is stated to have been one of true love and they remained faithful throughout their lives, even when Wolf was imprisoned in 1612. Salome served as an advisor and hostess, scandalizing the conservative Catholic Salzburgers and the church. An attempt at a papal dispensation failed, not surprisingly for an archbishop trying to marry a non-Catholic. He would remain a prisoner till his death in 1618.
After his death, Salome moved to neighboring Wels where she lived to age 75 (1633), remaining true to the departed Wolf Dietrich. Strangely, and despite her prodigious labors, she would die without a single grandchild.
Schloss Mirabell means "beautiful view" and this gorgeous palace was built in 1606 under the reign of Prince Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau. It was rebuilt in 1818 following a fire that caused major damage.
The Mirabell Palace has been owned by the City of Salzburg since 1866, and since 1947 it has contained the city’s administration offices and the mayor's office.
The palace is right in the middle of the old town and has fantastic gardens, and it really is a baroque masterpiece with ornate stairwells, courts and halls. Fresco ceilings, marble features, sculptures and artworks make this a sensational place to see.
It is open from 8am to 6pm daily.
Mirabell Garden was built by the emperor for his mistress. Wish I lived then and was a mistress, seems like they had as good a time and the royals themselves. There are at least four entrances to the Mirabell Gardens, but you would probably want to enter from the Rainerstrasse and head for the Rosenhügel (Rosebush Hill). When you arrive at the top of the steps, you would have reached the point where Julie Andrews and her seven "children" showed off their singing ability in The Sound of Music.
The center of the gardens is dominated by four large groups of statues representing the elements and designed by Ottavio Mosto. The flowers that bloom here are just a magnificent array of colour and scents. A bronze version of the horse Pegasus stands in front of the south facade of the palace in the center of a circular water basin. The most famous part of the Mirabell Gardens is the Zwerglgarten (Dwarfs' Garden), which can be found opposite the Pegasus fountain. Here you'll find 12 statues of dwarves sculpted in marble, and I must say, I think this was my favorite part of the garden.
The palace is from 1506 and was called Mitwald, later Miribelle. It was built for the ruling king's mistress, and they had 15 children; all dead by 1612.
This has a very well manicured garden. Even though it is small in comparison to some others in Europe, it is always well taken care of. The serenity is what one looks for plus the beauty. Concerts have been held here for many years. They were designed in 1690, under the guidance of Prince Graf von Thun. Later they were redesigned again. It was designed in baroque style, having the statues and fountains as its theme, with the entrance having 2 lion statues.
The beautiful Mirabell Gardens adjoining the lavish Mirabell Palace. Red begonias planted in decorative patterns create a vibrant contrast to the lush green lawns. What a spot for our picnic lunch -- a setting ablaze with color! Beautiful sculpted figures, representing the four elements, are placed around the central fountain. In one area, a bizarre sculpture garden of grotesque dwarfs adds a strange aura to the peaceful setting. This garden, always open, is free for visitors.
For those of you who have seen the film The Sound of Musicthese gardens need no introduction. For the rest of you, this is a must on your list of places to visit whilst in Salzburg. The gardens are so well looked after, colourful, lots of sculptures, splendid view of the Hohensalzburg Castle, and a pleasant place to just sit and rest for a while after walking round the city.
For garden lovers, you must surely admire the hard work that has gone into making these gardens so beautiful for us to admire.
Between Schloss Mirabell and the river you find the very beautiful Mirabell garden. Sure, in winter parts of the garden are closed and the number of blooming flowers is very limited :( but I enjoyed the garden nonetheless.
See the orangerie building with the museum on Baroque style, the greenhouse, the hedges modelled after those in the jardin de tuileries, the Baroque fountain and the maze.
Closed in winter was the "Zwerglgarten", the part where you find the 15 famous dwarf statues of the originally 28.
Schloss Mirabell was built 1606 and redesigned a couple of times so that it now appears as a classicistic building from outside. It is office of the mayor/administration nowadays. Thus you can only visit the famous Baroque staircase and the Marble hall, and the latter only if it is not used for any meetings, wedding ceremonies and so. And that is almost NEVER as the guy at the entrance told me. Bad luck for me, btw, during the 4 days I was in Salzburg the Marble Hall was used for an important meeting.
Anyway, I enjoyed looking at the facades and the beautiful staircase.
The palace was built by Archbishop Wolf Dietrich in 1606, who wanted a residence outside the town walls for his mistress Salome Alt and their children – of whom 10 survived infancy.
The Archbishop named the palace Altenau. His reign came to an unfortunate end, however, and he ended up as a prisoner in Hohensalzburg Fortress. His successor renamed the palace Mirabell in an attempt to “whitewash the past”.
The palace has seen many changes and re-modelling into the form we see today. Only a few rooms are open as the palace is now used as government offices, however, it is worth a visit and the Baroque staircase is especially flamboyant.
This castle was rebuilt several times, but in 1818 the castle rebuilt as it is today. The Mirabell gardens where developed in 1730 in geometrical shape and have virtually not changed since that year.
Often people sings, dance and make music here in summer, as at the time we where here!
Me and my cousin walked through the gardens at the Palace of Mirabell. It was a nice spot to visit in the early evening/afternoon on a warm summer day. There are lots of flowers, mainly roses, just around the Castle. People just chill out and sit on the benches.
During their existence, the gardens have been re-modelled according to current trends. They were initally designed by an architect Fischer von Erlach for a royalty in 1689 and were first opened to the public in 1854 by Emperor Franz Joseph.
There are 4 main areas to the Gardens. The hedge arcade along the west side of the Grand Parterre is perhaps the most famous feature of the gardens due to the fact that it was featured in the musical "The Sound of Music" in a scene where Maria and the von Trapp children run through it. Inside the hedge arcades is the entrance to the Heckentheater (lit. hedge theatre) -a hedge maze- that hosts concerts during the Salzburg Festival. It was built in the early 18th century, and is one of the oldest hedge theaters north of the Alps.
The oldest part of the gardens that survived the changing design trends is the Grand Parterre. It has 2 balustrades that hold the original 1689 statues of Roman gods and goddesses created by Bartholomäus van Opstal. It is circled with a marble railing decorated with vases. There is a large fountain in the middle, with several statue groups around it, depicting rather unpleasant events such as two rapes (Prosperina and Helena); Aeneas and Anchises; and Hercules and Antaeus.
The Mirabel Castle is located at one end of the garden, together with the Small Parterre. The Small and the Grand Parterre are linked via a path way. The Small Parterre also has a fountain in its core with a horse statue on top of it. This copper statue has an intresting past. It was initially intended for the well on the Kapitelplatz (near the Salzburger Dom). It was then made part of a horse well in front of the Mirabel Castle and finally transferred to its current location, on top of a fountain, in 1913.
The Mirabell Palace itself is nothing special (maybe except the Wedding Hall) but it has a great French style garden from which and over which you can enjoy some of the nicest views of the fortress and the ensemble below it - according to my opinion both look best from here, much nicer to see them from the distance than to visit them, especially the cathedral.
A remarkable garden is also the "Zwergerlgarten" (Dwarfs Garden), only a few steps from the great views. It is an early form of the later sweetened garden dwarfs so typical for German gardens (but they seem today to be mostly produced in South East Asia and sold by Vietnamese in Poland along the streets leading to the German border...)
This beautiful palace and gardens is one of the first landmarks encountered in Salzburg as you make your way through the New Town in the direction of the more picturesque Old Town.
It was built by order of the Prince Archbishop Wolf Dietrich for Salome Alt. 'Mirabell' meaning 'beautiful sight' was adopted as the name.
The gardens were designed by Fischer von Erlach and the main features include sculptures and fountains as well as floral borders.
It is free to peruse the gardens although there is an entry charge for the palace itself.