Salzburg Churches and Cathedrals

Salzburg is a city of churches and cathedrals - spires, fretted stonework, soaring archways, fine wrought iron and quiet recesses.

As an 'Ecclesiastical State of the Holy Roman Empire', Salzburg hosted the building of churches and monasteries, each one rising with greater grandeur than that which had come before.

Alters were built, crucifixes hung, frescoes painted and glass windows constructed to filter light onto the baroque symphony of gilt and colour.

Below are four of the most beautiful and important sights to see and enjoy.

Salzburg Cathedral

Salzburg Cathedral (Dom)

Walk into the beautiful Salzburg's cathedral, hailed by many as the "most perfect northern Renaissance building".

Located on Domplatz, the cathedral is the largest of the Salzburg’s thirty six lavish churches.

It is also the third building of its kind erected on this site. Previous years saw other houses of worship built by the rulers of the time.

On 24th September 774, Bishop Virgil consecrated the opening of the first cathedral; 33 metres wide and 66 metres long. This however was burnt down in 1167 when Salzburg was set on fire by warring enemies.

Little time was wasted and in 1177, under Archbishop Conrad III von Wittelsbach, a new cathedral was built. It would surpass the old cathedral in its grandeur and beauty.

Four hundred years later, in 1598, another fire ravaged the city of Salzburg. Parts of the second cathedral were destroyed.

Viewing it as an opportunity to build an emblematic structure representative of his power and authority, Archbishop Wolf Dietrich had the remains torn down.

To the citizens of Salzburg, this was an outrage - an act of arrogance, conceit and egotism. The tearing down of the cathedral lead to the destruction of valuable sculptures and the desecration of tombs belonging to many important personages.

Local insurrection saw the imprisonment of the Archbishop in Hohensalzburg Fortress and the ordination of a new successor, Markus Sittikus von Hohenems.

At Von Hohenems request, master builder Santino Solari was commissioned to build a new cathedral for Salzburg, this time in the early baroque style.

Started in 1614, the Salzburg Cathedral - as it currently stands - was finally consecrated on 25th September 1628.

St Peters Church Salzburg

St. Peter (Stiftskirche St. Peter)

St. Peters is a beautiful church to explore.

You can visit the tomb of St. Rupert, illuminated by an ‘eternal light’ - the same Rupert who was responsible for founding the church in 696 AD.

St. Peter was completely renovated in the Rococo style in the 17th and 18th centuries, however you can still see the frescoes painted in the original Romanesque style.

Take a close look also at the west door. This dates from 1240.

If you are lucky, might hear the sound of the mighty organ, echoing notes once played by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Also fascinating to visit is the wonderful "St. Petersfriedhof" cemetery, which lies to the rear of the church.

It hosts a labyrinth of quiet green, mottled graves and splendid wrought iron signs depicting paintings and stories of those long departed.

If you look up at the cliff face, you can see the entrance of the catacombs, hewn into the cliff face above. These were once hiding places for locals persecuted by invaders.

Salzburg Churches

St. Blasius Church

To enter St. Blasius is to step inside the most ancient Gothic Church in Austria.

Hugging the Mönchsberg cliff at the end of Getriedegasse, St. Blasius Church was constructed from 1327 to 1350.

Also known as the "Bürgerspital Kirche", or the Hopital Church, St. Blasius formerly served the Civic Hospital.

Spend some time admiring the vaulted interior and the beautiful stained glass windows.

Nonnberg Abbey Salzburg

Convent Nonnberg (Stift Nonnberg)

The Nonnberg Convent, with its red onion-shaped dome, is an amazing institution.

Founded in approximately 700AD, Nonnberg Convent is recognized as the oldest existing nunnery in the German speaking world.

The first Abbess of Nonnberg Convent was St.Erentrudis, the niece of St Rupert, who founded the city of Salzburg.

From the time she took up post, convent activities have never been interrupted.

The Gothic church at Nonnberg Convent is famous for its Gothic altar, vaulted ceilings and amazing murals dating from the 12th century.

The convent buildings that currently stand were built between the 13th and the 19th century.

Nonnberg Convent gained addition 'fame' in the 1960s when it was immortalized in the film 'The Sound of Music'. It was the convent in which novice Maria von Kutschera lived before leaving to join the Von Trapp family.

Because it is still a functioning convent, the buildings are not open to the public.

For those still inquisitive, the convent is located at Nonnberggasse 2.

Click here to see more Salzburg Sights!

Salzburg Palaces

Salzburg Famous Cemeteries

Hohensalzburg Fortress

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