Historic Centre of the City of Salzburg
Historic Centre Of The City Of Salzburg
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Salzburg is of outstanding universal value as an important example of a European ecclesiastical city-state which preserves to a remarkable degree its dramatic townscape, its historically significant urban fabric, and a large number of outstanding ecclesiastical and secular buildings from several centuries. It has preserved an extraordinarily rich urban fabric, developed from the Middle Ages to the 19th century when it was a city-state ruled by a prince-archbishop. Its flamboyant Gothic art attracted many craftsmen and artists before the city became even better known through the work of the Italian architects Vincenzo Scamozzi and Santini Solari, to whom the centre of Salzburg owes much of its Baroque appearance.

The city skyline, against a backdrop of mountains, is characterized by its profusion of spires and domes, dominated by the fortress of Hohensalzburg. There is a clear separation, visible on the ground and on the map, between the lands of the Prince-Archbishops and those of the burghers - the former characterized by monumental buildings and open spaces, the latter on small plots fronting on narrow streets, with the only open spaces provided by the three historic markets.

Salzburg is rich in buildings from the Gothic period onwards, which combine to create a townscape and urban fabric of great individuality and beauty. The cathedral (St Rupert and St Virgil) is the pre-eminent ecclesiastical building and the spiritual city centre. Archaeological excavations during the reconstruction following severe bomb damage in the Second World War have revealed much about the predecessors of the present building, back to its foundation in the 8th century as a three-aisled basilica. The second cathedral, in the same form but much enlarged, was built in 1181, but this was virtually destroyed by fire in 1598, to be replaced by the present structure. The original plan was the work of Vincenzo Scamozzi, a pupil of Andrea Palladio;the present building, the work of Santini Solari, the court master-builder, preserves many of Scamozzi's features.

The Benedictine Abbey of St Peter, founded in the closing years of the 7th century, contains in its church the only High Romanesque structure in Salzburg, mostly dating from the early 12th century. The main body of the church has undergone many modifications since the 12th century. Of special significance are the cemetery and catacombs of the abbey. The Nonnberg Benedictine Nunnery is the oldest convent north of the Alps, founded around the same time as the Abbey of St Peter. The present massive complex, on the eastern peak of the Mönchberg, is a striking feature of the townscape, with its dominating church roof and Baroque dome.

The Hohensalzburg Fortress, a Roman structure on this steep rock fan overlooking the city, was replaced in the Middle Ages by a wooden fort. The first stone building dates from the early 12th century and this was enlarged with towers, bastions and outer wards in the 15th century. Massive reconstruction and extension works were initiated at the beginning of the 16th century and continued to the late 17th century.

The creation of the Archbishop's Residence, begun in the early 12th century, lies in the heart of the old town. The present layout dates to the major rebuilding carried out by Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau in the early years of the 17th century. The buildings are grouped round two courtyards.

In addition to its architectural heritage Salzburg is especially noteworthy for its associations with the arts, and in particular with music in the person of its famous son, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.