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...
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