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Salzburg, a capital of culture enveloped by the beauties of nature, combines the charm of a smaller city with the extravagance of a cosmopolitan center, and for this reason, has come, in the minds of many of its visitors, to be emblematic of the best that Austria has to offer.
Salzburg is imperial in its own way: the city's glorious architecture, its splendid churches, palaces and mansions reflect Salzburg's history as a sovereign, indeed "princely" state, an identity that had long been established when the church-state, ruled for centuries by prince-archbishops, was incorporated into the Habsburg empire in the early nineteenth century. Salzburg literally means "salt fortress" - and it is true that Salzburg's riches were based on the revenues from the nearby salt mines, riches that were the foundation for Salzburg's glorious architecture, splendid churches, palaces and mansions.
Salzburg is renowned for the magnificent music that was (and still is) created and performed within the city. Salzburg has often been called "the Rome of the North," for its incomparable beauty - a beauty so spectacular that at first sight, the visitor might almost be overwhelmed by Salzburg's abundance of architectural and cultural attractions. Indeed, a brief stay can hardly satisfy the appetite for loveliness that Salzburg inspires, leading many visitors to return and rediscover the beauties of the city in more detail.
Copyright © Austrian National Tourist Office
The Sounds of Salzburg
The highly-cultured atmosphere in Salzburg created the background in which Mozart's genius could develop and flourish during his formative years. Today, Salzburg is brimming with musical performances and festivals practically every day throughout the year, starting with the Mozart Week in January, continuing with the Easter Festival and the Whitsun Baroque Festival, it reaches its pinnacle with the Salzburg Summer Festival and continues with "Szene Salzburg," a festival of dance and experimental art, the Salzburg Culture Days, the "Salzburg Jazz Autumn," palace concerts, performances of the Marionette Theater and closes out the year with many Advent and Christmas activities. Stefan Zweig summed it up: "It is the artistic capital not only of Europe but of the whole world."
Copyright © Austrian National Tourist Office
Silent Night, Holy Night
The world's loveliest and most famous Christmas carol was composed by schoolteacher Franz Xaver Gruber about five miles outside of Salzburg, in the small village of Oberndorf, and first performed on Christmas Eve in 1818. Ever since, this simple song has captured the spirit of Christmas around the world. The "Silent Night" Memorial Chapel in Oberndorf can be visited all year round.
* Information is courtesy of the Austrian National Tourist Office
Festivals & Events
Spanish Riding School
The Spanish Riding School in Vienna is one of Austria's most known attractions. Please note that seating as well as standing room at the Imperial Palace Home of the Spanish Riding School is limited.
Tel: (+431) 533 90 31
Fax: (+431) 533 90 32 40
Vienna Boys' Choir
An Austrian cultural institution, the Vienna Boys Choir can usually be heard Sunday mornings at the Imperial Palace Chapel and various concert performances.
Bruckner Festival Linz
September 15 - October 6
Numerous classical concerts with world renown orchestras and soloists in Anton Bruckners hometown. The Festival is ushered in each year by the Linz Cloud of Sounds.
Tel: ++43-732-77 52 30
Vienna Music Film Festival
Annually in July and August
Famous opera performances on screen, masterful concert interpretations every evening under the stars with the splendid backdrop of Vienna's City Hall
Free admission nightly during the summer months.
Vienna City Hall Park
(as part of the Vienna Festival)
May 1 to June 16
The Vienna Festival concerts are the highlights of Vienna's concert season. The world's most renowned orchestras, conductors and soloists will be performing, among them in 2002: the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra directed by Claudio Abbado and the Wiener Philharmoniker (Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra) directed by Sir Simon Rattle.
Annually around Easter time
The music festival is opened by Bach's "Passion of St. Mathews" performed by the Wiener Philharmoniker under Nikolaus Harnoncourt at the Musikverein. Concerts at the Musikverein, the Konzerthaus and the Hofburgkapelle, a scenic oratorio performed at Odeon and an Easter Night concert at St. Stephen's cathedral round off the program.
Vienna State Opera
One of the most famous opera houses in the world, program runs from September through June each year.
Tel: ++43-1-513 1 513 (ticket sales one month prior to desired performance)
Mid April to Mid November
This Benedictine Abbey was founded in 1089 and is a major representation of Austrian Baroque architecture. Melk Abbey is overlooking the Danube River and can easily be visited during any Wachau Valley excursions.