Salzburg is steeped in history, and its museums offer the visitor a wealth of opportunities to dig deeper the city's past. In fact, many say the Altstadt - the city's medieval core - is a museum itself. With its winding ancient streets, lovingly preserved facades and dangling shop signs, there's much to say for that assertion.
Perhaps of the best places to gain perspective on the city's history is at Festung Hohensalzburg, the fortress that overlooks Salzburg. Its displays put into context the defensive needs of the medieval city and the power struggles between the prince-archbishops that ruled the territory and other rulers, often the reigning pope, at other times the Holy Roman Emperor. Overall, the Festung's display demonstrates the political powers of the prince-archbishops.
The Cathedral Museum more fully explores the spiritual aspects of the prince-archbishops' domain. Among other items, it houses a collection of art and liturgical objects, some dating back over a thousand years. Further artworks from the archbishops' collection are held in the Residenzgalerie, located on the upper floor of the Residenz, the splendid palace that was home to the archbishops once they left the fortifications of the Festung.
The Salzburg Museum provides context for daily life in Salzburg as it grew from the seat of the archbishops to a popular resort in the 18th and 19th centuries, attracting especially painters and writers from the Romantic school. Overall, exhibits show the development of Salzburg from a church-dominated principality to part of the modern Austrian state.
An often-overlooked but fascinating look at Salzburg life can be found at the Salzburger Freilichtmuseum on the city's outskirts. This open air museum brings together farm and village dwellings going back to the 17th century in a beautiful woodland setting. Another museum taking visitors back in time can be found in the town of Hallein, just south of Salzburg. There, the Celtic Museum opens the world of some of the earliest inhabitants of the region.
Largest fortified structure in Europe... read more
View famous Dutch still-life paintings... read more
Recreates the history of Salzburg through art and artefacts... read more
Mozart's home: See instruments he played... read more
Learn about ancient agriculture or grab a beer at their historical pub... read more
Huge natural history museum, zoo and aquarium...
Treasures of the Dom and the Prince-Archbishops...
Modern art museum, take an elevator through the hill to reach it!... read more
Mozart museum and concert venue for his music...
Well developed and presented history of brewing plus beer tasting... read more