Historic Center of the City of Salzburg (1996)

Back to index

Salzburg has managed to preserve an extraordinarily rich urban fabric, developed over the period 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. 

This meeting-point of northern and southern Europe perhaps sparked the genius of Salzburg's most famous son, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, whose name has been associated with the city ever since. 

United Nations (Vienna) 2002. World Cultural Heritage. The Statue "Pferdeschwemme" in Salzburg, Austria. United Nations (Vienna) 2002. World Cultural Heritage. Panoramic view of Salzburg, Austria.

In 1948 Austria issued a very nice set of eight stamps for the benefit of the reconstruction of Salzburg Cathedral after WWII.  The stamps show various views inside and outside the Cathedral, and are all meticulously described by courtesy of Austrian Post. 

Austria 1948. World Cultural Heritage. Salzburg Cathedral, statue of St. Rupert. Austria. The stamp shows the statue of St. Rupert who was the founder and first bishop of the city of Salzburg. He settled in the ruins of the formerly flourishing Roman town of Juvavum. Around 690, he founded the Abbey of St. Peter at the foot of Mönchsberg (Monks' Hill) and a nunnery on Nonnberg (Nuns' Hill), whose first abbess was Rupert's niece St. Erentrudis. 

The bishop promoted salt mining in nearby Reichenhall and the salt trade, which is reflected in Salzburg's name (Salz being the German word for salt). Therefore, he was always depicted holding a salt bucket in his hand. This also holds true for the Late-Baroque statue displayed on this stamp showing him wearing the episcopal vestments. The statue was created by Franz Hitzl around 1778 for the high-altar of the church of St. Peter's Abbey in Salzburg.  

  • Austria 1948.  Salzburg Cathedral.  Statue of St. Rupert.  
The Residenz Fountain shown in the foreground stamp forms the centre of Residenzplatz square located north of the Cathedral. It was constructed under Bishop Guidobald Thun from 1656 to 1661 and, given its height of 15 metres, it is the biggest and most monumental Baroque fountain north of the Alps. 

Its design is attributed to Tommaso Garona. From the octagonal basin, a rock structure rises that is flanked by four water-spouting horses. On the peak of the rock, a group of three nude men carry a huge water bowl in which three dolphins support a smaller ribbed bowl on their raised tail fins. In the small bowl, a Triton sits spouting water through a shell up into the air, which flows down across the two bowls. In the background, the stamp shows the north front of the Cathedral with the two towers and, to the far right, the arcade-style "Cathedral arches" linking the Cathedral and the episcopal residence. 

  • Austria 1948.  Salzburg Cathedral.  Residenz Fountain. 
Austria 1948. World Cultural Heritage. Salzburg Cathedral. Residence Fountain. Austria.
Austria 1948. World Cultural Heritage. Salzburg Cathedral. Mary's Column. Austria. The front of the Cathedral with Mary's Column in the foreground. This work of art, donated by Archbishop Sigismund Schrattenbach and created from 1766 to 1771, features four larger-than-life allegoric figures each placed on one of the four protruding plates of the foundation. The figures represent the "church" and a cherub in the front, and "secular rule" and the devil on the rear side. The upper part of the pedestal displays the coat of arms of the archbishop and lead reliefs. 

The column is crowned by an Immaculata figure with graceful attitude standing on a globe held by puttos. The presented view clearly shows the two storeys of the marble structure broken by numerous windows. Likewise, you can see the two towers and their octagonal crests surrounded by balustrades. 

  • Austria 1948.  Salzburg Cathedral.  Mary's Column. 
This stamp presents the view of the Cathedral from Kapitelplatz square, from the south. In the foreground you see the balustrade of the Kapitelschwemme fountain and a part of its water basin, while the wall structure forming part of it is located behind the beholder. 

The wall structure was decorated with magnificent sculptures - Neptune standing on a sea horse and two water-spouting Tritons - by Josef Anton Pfaffinger (d. 1758) upon a commission by Archbishop Leopold Anton Firmian in 1732. These details,however, are concealed to the beholder of this stamp due to reasons of perspective. In the stamp's centre, we see the right Cathedral Arch linking the Cathedral and St. Peter's Abbey and the spire of the Franciscan Church behind it. 

  • Austria 1948.  Salzburg Cathedral.  Balustrade of the Kapitelschwemme Fountain. 
Austria 1948. World Cultural Heritage. Salzburg Cathedral. Balustrade of the Kapitelschwemme Fountain. Austria.
Austria 1948. World Cultural Heritage. Salzburg Cathedral. Above the roofs of Salzburg. Austria. The view presented on this stamp does not show the Cathedral, but the view towards the west, in the opposite direction. The most striking building is marked by the dome of the church of St. Peter's Abbey, which does not date from the 12th century like the rest of the church, but was added in 1622 and raised in 1757. 

To the left of the dome, the western tower of the said church rises. In the right foreground, the spire of the Late-Gothic St. Margaret's Chapel at St. Peter's Cemetery stands out. Behind it, you see the slender spire of the Franciscan Church consecrated in 1221. At the horizon, you see the outlines of the dome of the University Church erected by the inspired architect Johann Fischer von Erlach in 1694 - 1707.  

  • Austria 1948.  Salzburg Cathedral.  Above the Roofs of Salzburg. 
The interior of the Cathedral opens up a journey through the eventful art history of many centuries. 

With a length of 101 metres and a transept width of 69 metres, with the dome area having a height of 72 metres, the Cathedral offers room for approximately 10,500 people (including the choirs). 

Each side aisle of the three-part nave is made up of four interlinked chapels.  

  • Austria 1948.  Salzburg Cathedral.  The Interior of the Cathedral. 
Austria 1948. World Cultural Heritage. Salzburg Cathedral. The interior of the Cathedral. Austria.
Austria 1948. World Cultural Heritage. Salzburg Cathedral. View of Salzburg-Mönchsberg. Austria. The stamp shows the view of the city and the Cathedral from the left bank of the Salzach River, visible to an observer positioned halfway up on Kapuzinerberg hill to the Hohensalzburg fortress. 

The old buildings along Rudolfskai quay are tightly packed in front of the enormous Cathedral building. Its towers and dome are a landmark dominating the city's skyline. At Mönchsberg Hill you see the imposing complex of Hohensalzburg Fortress that dates from the time of the Investiture Controversy (1077). In addition to providing support to the reconstruction of the Cathedral, this stamp was also dedicated to the Salzburg Festival of 1948 and to promoting the city's reputation abroad. 

  • Austria 1948.  Salzburg Cathedral.  View of Salzburg - Mönchsberg. 
Pacher's Madonna, the stamp's motif, was the last work of the master Michael Pacher from Bruneck who, for example, also completed the marvellous altar for the church of St. Wolfgang am Wolfgangsee. He came to Salzburg in 1495 to create a high-altar for the Franciscan Church and died while executing this commission in 1498. 

This altar was already dismantled in 1709 and replaced by a Baroque altar. Only the Madonna statue was preserved. Virgin Mary wears a beautifully draped gold-plated coat with blue lining and a scarf on her parted blond hair. Her right hand is slightly raised and holds a grape. Her left hand holds the infant Jesus sitting naked on a white cloth on her lap. This Jesus figure, however, is not an original, but was added in the 19th century.  

  • Austria 1948.  Salzburg Cathedral.  Pacher's Madonna. 
Austria 1948. World Cultural Heritage. Salzburg Cathedral. Pacher's Madonna. Austria.

Austria 1972. World Cultural Heritage. Late Gothic Exhibit in Salzburg. Austria.

This special issue stamp shows a detail from the triangular panel of an altar. Saint Hermes can be seen, a traditional saint of the Salzburg Cathedral, who was a government official in Rome, converted to
Christianity with his entire family, and was beheaded for it. 

The altar is said to have emerged in the year 1449 and it's creator was the most famous alpine painter of this epoch, Conrad Laib. Due to the spread of Dutch enthusiasm he became the forerunner of "Mid-century Realism" whose achieved effect was delayed in Salzburg. 

  • Austria 1972.  Late Gothic Exhibit in Salzburg. 

The founder of Salzburg, Wolf-Dietrich von Raitenau came from a little-known aristocratic family residing near Lake Boden. Nevertheless, on March 2, 1587, he was elected Archbishop of Salzburg at the tender age of 22. With Wolf-Dietrich entered an individual into Salzburg's legislature who was to lead the medieval archbishopric down a new path. 

Imperial Archbishop Wolf-Dietrich allowed the princely-ruled civil state to emerge according to principles of absolutism. During his rule the Gothic city of Salzburg was transformed into the Baroque. After a 25-year reign, continual flare-ups in the dispute with Bavaria over the salt trade - the cornerstone of Salzburg's wealth - led to his fall. 

By invading Berchtesgaden in the fall of 1611 the archbishop hoped to seize control of the salt production from Bavarian Duke Maximilian - but to no avail. As a result, Maximilian sent an army to Salzburg and defeated Wolf-Dietrich. While fleeing, the imperial archbishop was captured by Bavarian troops on Carinthian territory and temporarily placed in the fortress at Castle Hohenwerfen. 

He was then imprisoned in the fortress of Hohensalzburg. The princely ruler died on January 16, 1617 and was laid to rest in the Chapel of Gabriel in a burial spot which he himself specially arranged. 

Austria 1987. World Cultural Heritage. Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau, founder of Salzburg, Austria.

Salzburg is located in western Austria, capital of Salzburg Province, on the Salzach River. Industries include tourism, the production of beer, and the manufacturing of metals, chemicals, and textiles. At Salzburg the Salzach River passes between two lofty masses of rock, one of which, the Mönchsberg (523 m/1716 ft high), bears an 11th-century fort. Originally a Celtic settlement and later a Roman trading center called Juvavum, Salzburg has been an archbishopric since about 800; a 17th-century cathedral in the Italian Renaissance style is in the city. Salzburg was incorporated into Austria in 1814. 

Austria 1989. World Cultural Heritage. Abbey of St. Peter in Salzburg. Austria.

According to archaeologists, the Abbey of St. Peter in Salzburg is situated on the remains of the Roman town of Juvavum from the 2nd to the 5th centuries. 

The founder of the Church of Salzburg, Rupert von Worms, came here around 696. As Choir Bishop he founded the Church of St. Peter of a West Franconian mother-church and a society of priests with the goal of newly organizing ecclesiastic relations between Ziller, Tyrol (from the old border between the Roman provinces of Noricum and Raetia) and the eastern border of the empire. The abbey of today focuses mainly on the liturgical duties of the church, which indeed is the Benedictines' primary vocation.

Salzburg was the birthplace of the 18th-century composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The child prodigy Mozart composed his first symphonies at the age of nine, and at the Emperor's request wrote his first opera "La finta semplice" at the age of eleven. 

After fulfilling courtly duty in Salzburg and an engagement as court organist, Mozart supported himself after 1781 as a free-lance composer and musician. He was commissioned by Emperor Josef II early in his career to write a German national lyrical drama, from which "The Kidnapping from the Serail"  [Entfuehrung aus dem Serail] emerged. "The Marriage of Figaro or "The Great Day" (1786 opening in Vienna's Burgtheater) was an overwhelming success, especially in Prague. 

Mozart was appointed Imperial Chamber Composer in 1887, yet not even this could halt his financial decline. His health also deteriorated and on December 5, 1791 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died totally impoverished, his brilliant musical achievements unrecognized. 

Austria 1991. World Cultural Heritage. Souvenir sheet of two stamps , dedicated to the composer W.A. Mozart, native of Salzburg, Austria.  

It is also a well-known resort and the site of internationally famous annual music and drama festivals. It is the seat of Salzburg University (1622) and the University of Music and Dramatic Art in Salzburg (1914). The mining of salt has historically been important to the city, which takes its name from the German words salz (salt) and burg (castle or fort). 


Other World Heritage Sites in Austria (on this site). Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, Austria section, for more information about the individual properties. 

Back to index

Revised 18 aug 2007  
Copyright © 1999 Heindorffhus 
All Rights Reserved