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.
We started a very nice walked tour in Salzburg,seeing this beautiful gardens:Mirabell Gardens,they are located just next to the Mirabell Castle.From here you can have some awesome views of the city and the Fortress.
This is a nice place to take a break and if you like photography,in here you'll find many good places,and small corners to make very nice photos,because there are lots of nice sculptures,fountains, flowers,etc.and has a very nice view of rest of town.
Probably you'll see lots of visitors in here,because is a Must See in Salzburg,but I liked specially this beautiful gardens.
Take a look into my travelogue to see a few more photos taken at Mirabell Gardens.
This is a picture taken at Mirabell Castle.This beautiful building,was built by Prince-Archibishop, Wolf Dietrich,in 1.606.Now can be visited,but unfortunatelly I didn't had the chance to see the castle for the inside,my visit to Salzbug was very short.
Here you can see now some music concerts and interesting expositions.
Also the palace accomodates today the office of Salzburg's Bürgermeister (Mayor) and the Municipal administration.
The Mirabell gardens are an exceptionally beautiful area of Salzburg. They were designed by Fischer von Erlach and the many stunning statues within the gardens were created by Ottavio Mosto in 1690.
From the gardens you get a great view up to Hohensalzburg fortress. Although the fact that the fortress is on a hill means that pretty much anywhere in the city you will get a great view, but when you have the gardens lying right in front of you as well - it is even better.
There are a few different areas in the garden, the main area has vibrant red and yellow flowerbeds on bright green grass, with fountains and (the aforementioned) statues. There are also some more secluded areas in the garden - if you want to sit away from other people in the gardens. There are many wooden benches to sit on and rest or to eat your lunch on (like I did) and enjoy the serene atmosphere around you. Even when there are heaps of people walking around it seemed like everyone was having a great time in the gardens, taking pleasure in the surroundings.
Also around the gardens are: Mirabell Palace, the Landestheater (provincial theater) and a Baroque Museum (although I did not enter any of these buildings, so I don't feel I can comment on them, sorry). As I have noted in my tip on the 'Sound of Music Tour' the gardens were used in the filming of the same movie.
It is definitely a great place to wander around, I loved it and came here on both days I was in Salzburg. I suggest you see the gardens if you are in Salzburg.
More photos and comments can be found on my Mirabell Gardens travelogue.
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.
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.
The gardens were designed by Fischer von Erlach in 1690 to the orders of Archbishop Johann Ernst Thun; groups of sculptures, the weirdly humorous Dwarves' Garden, exquisitely planned flower beds, the maze and the "hedge theatre" are a joy for everyone.
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. ;)
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