Monday, September 29, 2014

Salzburg - Gardens at Mirable Palace

Date of visit: 13th April 2014

Group photo in Mirabell Garden, thank you stranger (to the person who was kind to snap for us) 

Mirabell Palace is a historical building in the city of Salzburg, Austria. The palace with its gardens is a listed cultural heritage monument and part of the Historic Centre of the City of Salzburg UNESCO World Heritage Site. The famous fountain in Mirabell Gardens is seen in the "Do-Re-Mi" song from The Sound of Music film. Therefore, many visitors are coming to visit Mirabell Gardens whenever they are in Salzburg, a must visit place. That is why we ended our tour list in that beautiful breath taking garden. The photo that Anne snapped of the 3 sisters was with the overview of Hohensalzburg Festung Castle which is worth to visit too.

The palace was built in year 1606 outside the medieval walls of Salzburg according to Italian and French models, at the order of Prince Archbishop Wolf Dietrich Raitenau as a residence for his mistress Salome Alt. When Raitenau was deposed and arrested in 1612, Alt and her family were expelled and the palace received its current name from Italian words, "mirabile" or "bella" meaning an amazing or a wonderful. It was rebuilt in a lavish Baroque style from 1710, according to plans designed by Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt. The current Neoclasical appearance dates from year 1818, when the palace was restored after the great fire that swept through, not only the palace but the whole city. A number of frescoes including those by Johann Michael Rottmayr and Gaetano Fanti fell victim to the flames. The grand marble staircase that led into the palace and the marble hall survived unscathed.

Me with the palace and the garden

Roses garden
Visitors from all over the world use the opportunity coming here to see the locations in the city of Salzburg, where the film 'The Sound of Music' was shot. Especially amongst fans from overseas. The film has reached a unique status and incredible popularity and many of them dream of following Maria's footsteps at least once in their life. Not me okay.

The purple flower plant is undeniably too beautiful

Prince Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau had Altenau Palace built in 1606 as a token of his love for Salome Alt. The palace fulfilled its purpose as 15 children were born of their union, 10 of whom survived. After Wolf Dietrich's death, the palace was renamed "Mirabell" by his successor, Markus Sitticus von Hohenems.

The famous Mirabell Gardens were redesigned around 1690 under Prince Archbishop Johann Ernst Graf von Thun to plans by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach and completely remodeled around 1730 by Franz Anton Danreiter. The Pegasus Fountain, a work by Kaspar Gras from Innsbruck, was installed in 1913. The four groups of statues around the fountain were sculpted by Ottavio Mosto (1690) and symbolize the 4 elements: fire, air, earth and water. The Mirabell Gardens were opened to the public by Emperor Franz Joseph in 1854. Today they are a horticultural masterpiece and popular backdrop for photographers.

The Hedge Theater was created between 1704 and 1718 - is located in the main part of the Mirabell Gardens and is one of the oldest hedge theaters north of the Alps. The Dwarf Garden features a number of misshapen creatures made of white Untersberg marble and dates back to the time of Archbishop Franz Anton Harrach.

I have been blessed with a good sister, Roshayati through thick and thin, she is always there for me. There are times that we fought a lot but the bloods that we shared did not easily move an inch of our close feeling towards each other. She went through a lot in her life that made me felt at nothing as compared with when I complained to God of my difficulties. She, at various times try to be someone else but Anne saw that she was so herself when we were at Mirabell Garden. I'm so happy that Anne shared with me her opinion. It was the same happiness when a friend said to me 3 nights agoa message "I'm very happy that you are happy". Yes, indeed I am too very happy when my sister is happy.

Lover you sister, love you best friend.... Peace

Friday, September 26, 2014

Salzburg - Mirabellplatz & St Andrew Chuch

Date: 13th April 2014

After lunch, we were heading straight towards Mirabellplatz to see the famous Mirabell Garden where the film "The Sound of Music" was shot. Mirabellplatz is a square located in the new town of Salzburg, the same as Taj Mahal restaurant and the hotel that we stayed. Salzburg old and new cities can actually be covered in 1 day. Should you wish to see more details than you should extend to another day, if not just follow all places that we went so far in Salzburg.

Mirabell Palace seen accross St Andrew Church
St Andrew Church captured from the square
The Mirabell Square is in fact the area around the Mirabell Palace. A very long time before it was where the city gates was located. It was turned as a castle but then later being used as a parade ground surface of the Mirabell stable. The open space was used to build the warehouse at the end of the Second World War, in 1788.

Car Parks at Mirabellplatz
Mirabell Platz is an important transport hub for public transport. Buses, on various external parts of the city coming, interchange points have here in the old town. The parish church of St. Andrew is located in the same Andraviertel just opposite the Mirabell Palace.

The left side view of the church

The present buildings emerged slowly in the 19th Century and the road Rainer became a kind of boulevard. Beside Mirabell Palace, in the southwest corner is the Villa Kast. Seated across Mirabell Palace is the parish church of St. Andrew, where I went exploring inside, alone while my sisters and my best friend were having a nice conversations with 2 Malaysian girls (Kelantanese). Both of the girls are a first year Architecture students (studying in Europe) who we met earlier before reaching the square. They were there during exam break. Amazingly, they flew there instead of taking trains. So, I believe the 3 old ladies would convince them to use European train to travel by time I finished my tour inside the church.

My apology for a blurry image

The original St. Andrew's Church or Church of Saint Andrew once stood next to the Platz (square) on the eastern corner of Trinity Street. The original Gothic church was first built by Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau to a Renaissance building remodeled under Archbishop Andreas Jakob I. It was transformed again with considerable effort in Baroque style in 1750. The church was badly affected during the great town fire in 1818.

According to the plans of Josef Wessicken the new church of the city architect was Jacob Ceconi in neo-gothic style on the by the razing of the bastions built space gained. In 1898 the new church was consecrated with its 61 m high towers. The portals and the cross altar of the original church were sold to the parish of St. Georgen, these components in the construction of the Calvary Church used.

After heavy bomb damage in the Second World War, only the western facade had remained reasonably intact - the church was rebuilt short again after plans by the Bavarian architect Michael. The original appearance of the neo-Gothic church was completely lost during the renovation in the years 1969 to 1972.  At the suggestion of the then 83-year-old architect Clemens Holzmeister, a typical Gothic for rather a new style high spiers replaced by short and pyramids and the pediments and other decorations away.

The last few photos hared in this entry are my favorite angle shot. If my Nikon is not so sick with poor lighting , I believe it will not fail me to give a perfect result is it is well. Will definitely send it to the clinic (Nikon Service Centre) before my 3rd leg of the train race begun by end of the year.

Next will be on Mirabell Garden... 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Salzburg - Indian Food for lunch at Taj Mahal Restaurant

Date: 13th April 2014

Anne has searched the halal food restaurant from the website for our Europe trip. I did nothing on that chapter. She chose "Restorante Pizzeria Beccofino" located in Bayerhamerstrabe street, which is about 10 minutes walk from our hotel, Star Inn. It is a halal Italian Restaurant where we can get cheap pizza, according to Anne. 

Under a gloomy weather, the walk along the empty street (due to Sunday) was rather a pleasant thing to do. We were hungry after a visit to the old city part of Salzburg where we had covered the cathedral and the castle fortress. Without much problem, we found the street but it was unfortunate that the restaurant was closed on Sunday. We gazed around and spotted the Taj Mahal Restaurant seated across the street. You may find further details about the place from their website, Restaurant Taj Mahal.  

We reached the restaurant at around 1 noon that day, right before their lunch closing time. Apparently their business hours are a bit strange, it's open from 11.30am till 2pm (to serve lunch) and later in the evening from 5.30pm till 10.30pm (for dinner). They only close on Monday but choose to operate even on Public Holidays and Weekends. From the website, they have stated that they serve "Halal Meat" which they found at a Sazlburg muslim butchery. But the main attraction that I found in here is they serve "Jain Food", for both meat eater and vegan.

I must say that we have a great time here as the food that brought to our table tastes 100% pure original Indian food (the chefs are brought from India). The owner is an Indian (from India) who is very friendly to share his story about how he started his business and his obstacles to satisfy his clients vis-a-vis comments that he received on the website review. At this point, I wish I could say that everybody in this world has been tested by God to a test that we can handle. Nothing comes easy in life. The sweet can be tasted after an amount sweat of works.

Anne was so hungry to share her meal. She chose Mutton Biryani and the rest of us had shared Mixed Sabzee (assorted vegetables cooked with onion and curds) served with plain rice and my favorite capati (plain wheat bread). We had mango lassi and spice tea which is so so awesome. These are the usual foods that I enjoy during my 2 years working tenure in India.

Beside the foods, the ambience of the restaurant and a friendly owner made you want to conclude a 5 star treatment received in here. In addition, the decorations are heavily decorated in a pure Indian style  where most of the things are brought from the owner home land country. He has allowed us to offer prayer at the corner of his beautiful restaurant. We were truly touch with his kind gesture. 

Mango Lassi

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Salzburg - Hohensalzburg (Festung) Castle

Date of visit: 13th April 2014

Festung castle seen from Salzburg Cathedral court yard

The castle is called in German language as Festung Hohensalzburg, literally means "High Salzburg Fortress" which is sits atop the Festungsberg, a small hill in the old city of Salzburg. It was erected at the order of the Prince Archbishops of Salzburg with a length of 250 m and a width of 150 m in the beginning of 11th century and is one of the largest medieval castles in Europe. Once we got up there, we found a breathtaking panorama view of Salzburg from the fortress viewing gallery. I'm sharing the said photos below. I'm indeed very lucky to reach this place to witness Allah's creation together with my 2 siblings and my best friend.

Construction of the fortress began in 1077 under Prince Archbishop, Gebhard von Helfenstein. The original design was just a basic bailey with a wooden wall. It was expanded during the Holy Roman Empire, where the archbishops of Salzburg who were already a powerful political figures wanted to protect their interests with grandeur and solid castle. In addition, the Prince Gebhard's conflict with Emperor Henry IV during the Investiture Controversy influenced the expansion of the castle, with the Archbishop taking the side of Pope Gregory VII and the German anti-king Rudolf of Rheinfelden. Thereafter, the castle was gradually expanded during the following centuries. The ring walls and towers were built in 1462 under Prince-Archbishop Burkhard II von WeiBpriach.

There are 2 options to go up to the castle, either by foot walk or by taking a cable car. As all four of us are at our graceful age, we opted for the latter. The entrance of the cable car seated not far from the Salzburg cathedral bazaar. The ticket was charged at EURO11.30. To tease the old girls, I pretended that I was paying for them all and was laughing at all of them when they were stopped without a ticket to cross the entrance point.

400 years later, Prince Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach during his term from 1495 until 1519 further expanded the castle. His coadjutor (a bishop designated as his successor) Matthaus Lang Von Wellenburg, who was later to succeed Leonhard, in 1515 wrote a description of the Reisszug, a very early and primitive funicular railway (the cable car route that we took at present date) that provided freight access to the upper courtyard of the castle. The line still exists till now, albeit in updated form, and is probably the oldest operational railway in the world.
4 graceful ladies in 40's and 50's

The canon for protection of the fortress from intruder
The only time that the fortress actually came under siege was during the German Peasants' War in 1525, when a group of miners, farmers and townspeople tried to expel Prince Archbishop Matthaus Lang. However the peasants failed to take the castle. In 1612 the deposed Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau died here in prison. During that 30 Years' Peasant War, Archbishop Count Paris of Lodron strengthened the town's defenses, including Hohensalzburg. He added various parts to the fortress, such as the gunpowder stores and additional gatehouses.

Us, the 3 sisters snapped by Anne

Cities view, the old city and the new city of Salzburg divided by Salzarg River
The fort was surrendered without a fight to French troops under General Jean Victor Marie Moreau during the Napoleonic War of the Second Coalition in 1800 and the last Prince-Archbishop Count Hieronymus von Colloredo fled to Vienna. In the 19th century, it was used as barracks, storage depot and dungeon before being abandoned as a military outpost in 1861. Once at the castle, you may visit various buildings that was built during the last 1000 years expansion. We did not visited all places as our times here were rather short. I would however recommended for you to visit the Golden Chamber and the bed chamber of Prince Bishop which are worth to see. The bedchamber is the most intimate room of the princely chambers. The original furniture and precious textiles, such as tapestry were replaced by more modern ones, but still you can see the grandeur of this place where it was once.

Inner courtyard towards the Hohe Stockand St. George's Chapel

Hohensalzburg castle was again refurbished from the late 19th century onwards and became a major tourist attraction with the Festungsbahn cable car, opened in 1892, leading up from the town to the Hasengrabenbastei. It stands today as one of the best preserved castles in Europe. During the early 20th century it was used as a prison, holding Italian prisoners of war during World War I and Nazi activists (before the Anschluss with Germany) in the 1930s.

The fortress consists of various wings and courtyard. The Prince-Bishop's apartments are located in the high floor. The Salzburg Bull (powder tower), houses a large aerophon of more than 200 pipes is a huge mechanical organ built in 1502 by Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach. It was renewed by Rochus Egedacher in 1735. On the 3rd floor, seated a Golden Hall where Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach had the magnificent state apartments installed it in 1498. The rooms in which the archbishops would normally have lived were on one floor below. The state apartments were primarily used for representative purposes and for festivities. The Golden Hall was richly decorated and indicates that the fortress served the archbishops not only as a refuge in times of crisis, but frequently also as a residence up to the 16th century. These are the places that you should visited should you have more times to spent in the castle.

After a short self tour, we headed down with Reisszug funicular to visit a show place of Festungsbahn. Festungbahn is a funicular railway providing public access to the Hohensalburg castle where it links the castle with Festungsgasse, under the north side of the castle walls. It is open in 1892 as a water balance funicular operated the Salzburger Eisenbahn-und Tarmwaygesellschaft. It is previously used as barracks, the line made the castle available to a broader range of visitors. Last but not least (I hope), I'm sharing below photos of the city view from the cable car down to Festungsbahn show places.

Hope you enjoy the short blogger tour of this entry...

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Salzburg - Sunday Mass in Salzburg Cathedral

Date: 13th April 2014

It was a pleasant weather that Sunday morning when we were in Salzburg. The white clouds hid away the blue sky from our gaze. With poor natural lighting, my Nikon DSLR with attached tiger eyes has failed to give good picture. Hence, I depend on my Iphone and Anne's camera for blog entries in Salzburg.

Our first destination was heading towards the courtyard of Salzburg Cathedral using a guide map given by the hotel. After some photos on the area, we went inside to join the Sunday mass. The church was full. We were truly blessed with such peaceful sights where the choirs and majority of Sazlburg citizen were worshipping our same, monotheist God. The Christians and the Jewish are our brothers and sister reunited under the chain of Holy Book. I like this cathedral much more than St Stephen Cathedral in Vienna. In my opinion the church reflected and suited humbly for worshiping house of God but the other 1 was more grandeur reflecting human desire of the worldly life. 2 cathedral with 2 different perspective in my eyes. 

I'm using mostly the photos, snapped using Iphone of internal side of the cathedral for this entry as it's beauty truly captured my heart. This 833 year old Salzburg Cathedral is the 17 century Baroque cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Salzburg dedicated to Saint Rupert and Saint Vergilius. It was founded by Saint Rupert in 774 on the remnants of a Roman town, the cathedral was rebuilt in 1181 after a fire. In the seventeenth century, the cathedral was completely rebuilt in the Baroque style under Prince/Bishop Wolf Dietrich Raitenau to its present appearance. The baptismal font in which composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was baptized is still safely kept safe for tourist to see.

The first cathedral was built under Saint Vergilius of Salzburg, who might have used foundations by St. Rupert. The first Dom was recorded in 774. The so-called Virgil Dom was built from 767 to 774 and was 66 metres long and 33 metres wide. Archbishop Arno in 9th century was the first to arrange renovations of the Dom, which was in place for less than 70 years. In 842, the building burned down after being struck by lightning. 3 years later, the re-erection of the building started.

The original church experienced at least 3 extensive building and rebuilding campaigns during the early Middle Ages, the final result of which was a somewhat ad hoc Romanesque basilica. In 1598, the basilica was severely damaged, and after several failed attempts at restoration and reconstruction, the building was finally ordered to be demolished by Prince-Bishop Wolf Dietrich Raitenau (Archbishop from 1587–1612). Wolf Dietrich was a patron and supporter of modern Italian Baroque architecture, having seen it from its origins in Italy and particularly Rome. The Bishop was also responsible for the building of the nearby Alten Residenz, which is connected to the cathedral till to date.

Wolf Dietrich hired the Italian architect Vincenzo Scamozzi for a comprehensive new Baroque building. Construction did not begin until his successor, Mark Sittich von Hohenems (Archbishop from 1612–19), in 1614 laid the cornerstone of the new cathedral. The present cathedral, designed by Santino Solari, who fundamentally changed the original Scamozzi plan was completed in less than 15 years, being finished by 1628. At its consecration on September 24, 1628, 12 choirs positioned in the marble galleries of the cathedral sang ”a Te Deum”, (meaning the score of which is since lost) composed by Stefano Bernardi, the Kapellmeister to the Salzburg court. The present Salzburg Cathedral is built partially upon the foundations of the old basilica. The relics of Saint Rupert were transferred here when the cathedral was completed.

Salzburg Cathedral is located adjacent to Residenzplatz and Domplatz in the Altstadt (Old Town) area of the city. The Domplatz is accessed by three open arcade arches in the north, south, and west. These "cathedral arches" unite the cathedral with the Salzburg Residenz and St. Peter's Abbey to form a unique self-contained square. According to a plaque on the side of the cathedral, the figure group shows reactions to the mystery of the Immaculate Conception where the angels are delighted, human wisdom vanishes, the envious devil growls, and the triumphant Church rejoices.

The body of the church is made of dark grey conglomerate; the ornamentation and façade are made of bright Untersberg marble. The richly decorated facade is framed by 2 towers and a curved gable. The north tower houses an old oven used for baking communion bread. The façade is divided into 3 horizontal sections. The lower section has 3 high round arches or portals that provide access to three bronze doors. The portals are flanked by 4 large sculpted figures representing the diocesean and cathedral patrons.

The central section of the facade contains statues of the 4 evangelists, Saint Matthew, Saint Mark, Saint Luke, and Saint John represent the salvation offered through their preaching. The mantelpieces over the central windows contain a lion and an ibex, the animals depicted in the coats of arms above, and a golden crown that aligns with the Marien column in the Domplatz. The top section tympanum bears the coats of arms of the builders of the cathedral, Markus Sittikus and Paris Londron. The figure group on the pediment represents the Transfiguration of Jesus on Mount Tabor, showing Christ as Salvator Mundi, with Moses holding the tablets on the left and the prophet Elijah to the right.

Everything inside the cathedral offerred an awesome views as it has the best collections of a very fine arts from centuries ago well maintained. What I like most was watching a beautiful church choir performing collections of prayer songs from the Psalms, the Holy Book of Prophet David. I even recorded a full songs in my phone. For those who has read the Psalms (I read from King James translation, the best that I would search of it's originality from the hebrew version) would definitely deeply touch by the sweet soothing life performance. 

For those who has not read Psalm (zabur) before, I'm sharing below Psalm 4 verses 1 to 4 given to the Chief Musician; on stringed instruments. A Psalm by David :-
4:1        Answer me when I call, God of my righteousness.
Give me relief from my distress.
Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.
4:2        You sons of men, how long shall my glory be turned into dishonor?
Will you love vanity, and seek after falsehood?
            Selah (take a moment to asses yourself).
4:3        But know that Allah has set apart for himself him who is godly:
Allah will hear when I call to him.
4:4        Stand in awe, and don’t sin.
Search your own heart on your bed, and be still. 

Last but not least is the front view of the cathedral that is visibly alright to share from my Nikon DSLR and 1 out of the 3 bronze door which is so beautiful.