History of Salzburg

Looking quickly at the history of Salzburg, you see an unfolding picture of amazing development, burgeoning trade, religious zeal, political conquest and inspiring architectural and artistic creativity.

Travelling back in time to 710-720AD, we find Bishop Rupert who, on the abandoned site of the Roman settlement called 'Juvavum', first founded Salzburg.

With a sense of industry and purpose, Bishop Rupert then set about establishing St Peter's Church, St Peter's Monastery and the Nonnberg Convent.

The foundation stones were set!

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The 'Early' Years

798AD was an important year in Salzburg's history.

It signalled the moment when the town was designated as an 'Archbishopric' - or, an ecclesiastical principality of the Holy Roman Empire.

Salzburg was no longer a small settlement, rather a growing city.

It was also, at this time, made ruling sovereign over the old Bavarian dioceses of Regensburg, Freisung and Passau.

With its increasing stature, Salzburg's economy also quickly grew. The trade of salt, gold, iron and copper was shrewdly managed under the leadership of the Archbishops.

The city would flourish to become a splendid place of wealth and power.

The 'Middle' Years

Turn the clock forward to the 17th and 18th centuries. These were times of great advancement in the history of Salzburg.

Over the decades, Archbishops Wolf Dietrich, Markus Sittikus and Paris Lodron invested their passion, energy, and limitless resources into shaping the contemporary face of Salzburg.

Grandiose baroque buildings were built that reflected the sophistication, richness and power of the city.

Salzburg Cathedral

But a change was about to take place.

Until the end of the 18th century, the Archbishops ruled as absolute, royal sovereigns.

In the year 1803, however, Salzburg was finally secularized and incorporated into Austria, bringing an end to the power of the Archbishops.

The 'Modern' Years

Moving to the 19th Century and beyond, Salzburg would go on experience vast changes.

It would change hands many times - held under French Administration after the Napoleonic victories, given back to Bavaria, and then in 1816, given back again to Austria.

Not until 1850/1881 did Salzburg become a province of the monarchy with its own provincial government.

Whilst politics raged, culture thrived. Salzburg’s most famous son, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in 1756. He would leave a legacy acclaimed the world over as one of the high points of musical accomplishment.

Salzburg today

Salzburg remains the ‘Baroque jewel’ of Europe, a statuesque capital of culture, magnificent architecture and beauty. Read on to explore more!

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