A Symbol for the power of the archbishops

Salzburg – the city of Mozart – is overlooked by Fortress Hohensalzburg, one of the largest existing 11th century fortress complexes in Europe. This imposing monument is a remarkable sign of the desire for recognition expressed by the prince bishops - and a demonstration of the political authority and power they held. The fortifications were built to protect the prince bishops and the principality itself from attack. Actually, the fortress never faced a real siege. Most of the time the prince bishops lived in the palace at the heart of Salzburg town, known as the ‘Residenz’.

The steep cone-shaped rock had already been seen as a strategically beneficial vantage point on the northern edge of the Alps for centuries. In 1077 the archbishop of the time, Gebhard I of Helffenstein, ordered the erection of a castle above the city of his residence. Building work was triggered by an investiture dispute between the German emperor, Heinrich IV, and Pope Gregor VII, who was supported by the archbishopric of Salzburg.

Although Archbishop Gebhard was forced into exile in 1085, his successors completed the building. Fortress Hohensalzburg was constructed in three main phases, responding to the development of powerful weaponry with ever-greater ranges by further fortifying the castle. Intensive building work under the rule of Archbishop Leonard von Keutschach around 1500 completed the fortress as it can be seen today. In 1501 under his regency the ‘Upper Level’ was developed into a ‘pallas’, cisterns were installed and the existing towers raised.

Stier – Salzburg Bull Organ

The Salzburg Bull is a roughly 500-year-old wheel-driven barrel organ. Down the centuries it has been restored several times and played a variety of musical pieces. Initially it played a 3-part F-major piece along with the so-called ‘Alter Choral’ – at 4am and at 7pm. Today it can be heard over the rooftops of the city of Mozart – at 7am, 11am and 6pm; every time the Salzburg ‘Glockenspiel’ carillon has finished sounding in the old town. As well as playing the ‘Alter Choral’ it also performs pieces by former conductors of the Salzburg court ensembles, such as Johann Ernst Eberlin, Paul Hofhaimer and Leopold Mozart.

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