Salzburg, Austria was one of the more important cities in Europe not only because it sat at a crossroads of trade, but also because it became the place where the precious salt was shipped through before it was distributed to the rest of the European cities. It was this important commodity that gave the city its name, Salzburg, and it eventually grew to be know as the Rome of the north.
It is an impressive city that still has a hold over people as tourists come here to see its sights, shop among it many shops, and enjoy the beautiful nature that surrounds the city. It is one of Europe’s biggest tourist attractions and it all starts at the heart of the city, the altstadt.
The old part of town is basically a huge series of squares that are surrounded by various Catholic churches. I have never seen so many churches collected in one single place. It seemed that every corner I turned there was another church that I could explore. I was curious how such a small population of people could support that many churches.
The greatest of these churches is the Salzburg Dom or the Salzburg Cathedral. It is different from many of the other cathedrals found in Europe because it was built in only fourteen short years, and is designed in Baroque style. When they were creating it, they made sure not to supply it with stained glass windows because they wanted natural light to illuminate the altar instead. Its main focus was on the music that would be performed during the service and Sunday mass still draws in many people to experience it. There are four pip organs that surround the crossing of the asp allowing the music to come at the people in surround sound.
Of course, this was the place where one of the world’s most famous musicians, Mozart, got his start. Salzburg was his birthplace, and he got his start playing music in this cathedral before he went off to write his own symphonies, and operas.
His childhood home is actually on one of Salzburg’s more famous streets, Getreidgasse. This street used to be the main economic center of Salzburg with various shops lining the street, and not much has changed over the years. People still come here to do their shopping but they now can find modern shops among the coffee shops and long established restaurants. The old signs still hang above the new ones allowing you to see what it was like back before the chains moved in.
The biggest attraction looms over the city though, the Fortress Hohensalzburg. This was built to show military might, but was never actually used in this fashion. Just by having it above the city prevented anybody from trying to take it over with force. It was eventually opened to the public and has become the number one sight for anybody that is visiting the city.
There are many other treasures that can be found while strolling through the many walking streets of Salzburg’s older portion of the city. It is a great way of introducing yourself to the city before you dive further into what the place has to offer.