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Published: October 19th 2005
Salzburg, the name comes from Salz (salt) and burg (castle) of which the Hohensalzburg Fortress over looks the city and has provided for its protection since 1077. The Salz or salt comes from the salt mines located not far from Salzburg and was the source of its wealth. Although famous for the birthplace of Mozart and the film “The Sound of Music”, Salzburg has been around a long time. Steeped in history, Salzburg was controlled by the Roman Empire around 150 B.C. until the barbarian invasions laid waste to the city. It remained in ruin until about A.D. 700 when it was given to Bishop Rupert by Bavaria. The city was rebuilt and remained an independent state until the arrival of Napoleon around 1800. Salzburg was able to avoid the many ravages of wars until World War II. Salzburg is situated on both sides of the Salzach River with the old city on the fortress side and the new town across the river. During World War II the new town side of Salzburg, especially near the train station, was completely destroyed but the old town was spared.
Although we stayed on the new town side of the river, walking around
Mozart Born Here
His home/museum was undergoing repairs so this plague was the only thing worth taking a picture.
Salzburg is easy and delightful. The narrow cobblestone streets are filled with shops and the views walking down the streets of the surrounding hills are almost picture postcard perfect.
The sounds of music have always been an integral part of Salzburg but well before the Von Trapp’s were Do-Re-Miing a fellow by the name of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart really made Salzburg famous. Mozart was born here in 1756. Six years later, yes six years old, he was playing his first royal concert in Vienna and by the time he was eight he had toured Rome, Paris, London, Geneva, and Frankfurt. During his short life (he died at age 35), he composed 624 pieces of music, including 24 operas, 41 symphonies and over 40 concertos. It is interesting to note that while Mozart was alive Salzburg hardly took note of him but since his death, Salzburg has become a veritable compendium of his life and works. Besides his birthplace, his home, the graves of his mother and father, you can buy Mozart balls (small spheres of chocolate wrapped in gold foil with Mozart’s picture on it). Almost every other street is named for him (there are 16 streets in relatively
Mirabell Gardens and Palace
Beautiful view of the garden, cathedral and castle. Was also featured in the "Sound of Music".
small Salzburg with the name Mozart or Wolfgang in them). What Elvis once was to Las Vegas, Mozart was to Salzburg.
What would a visit to Salzburg be without some pictures of the places where the “Sound of Music” was filmed 40 years ago? I find it hard to believe that it was released 40 years ago. Based on the recommendation of Rick Steves, the travel writer, we decided to take the “Sound of Music” tour, which was worthwhile and enjoyable, not only due to the beautiful sights but also the trivia concerning the movie. Based on Rick Steves’ “Germany and Austria 2005” and Amazon.com’s Fun Facts on the “Sound of Music”, I’ve included both trivia and some interesting facts that hopefully you will find enjoyable and not ruin the movie for you. The “Sound of Music” was based on the real Von Trapp family and their escape from Germany prior to World War II. Here is goes:
1. The “Sound of Music” and the Von Trapp family are not that well known in Austria with the exception of the millions of tourists that want to see the sights of the movie.
2. Although Maria was in
Another famous scene from the Sound of Music with all the children dancing was filmed here.
the convent, she left the convent for health reasons and she wasn’t the governess to all the children, but only a governess and teacher to the Captain’s second oldest child, Maria, who was bed-ridden with rheumatic fever.
3. Salzburg is on the German border, not the Swiss border (5 hours away). There was no way for them to climb over the mountain to freedom as they would have wound up in Germany. In real life the Von Trapp family traveled by train to the Italian border for a supposed mountain-climbing vacation, crossed openly, and never returned. The border was closed the next day.
4. Maria and the captain were married in 1927 and had two children before they fled Germany in 1938.
5. In the opening scenes of the movie where Maria is on top of the hill and begins singing the “Sound of Music”, first that hill is about 10 miles from Salzburg. Remember in the movie she ran from the hill after hearing the abbey bells ringing. She must have been in great shape and had fantastic hearing. And second, during the filming, every time the helicopter would fly in to do a close-up of
Another Part of the Mirabell Gardens
This area was used during the song Do-Re-Mi in the Sound of Music
Julie Andrews, the wash from the helicopter would knock Andrews on her butt. After more than a dozen retakes they finally got the shot.
6. “Edelweiss” is not an Austrian folk song. It was the last song written by Oscar Hammerstein II before his death.
Irrespective of the above, the “Sound of Music” was and still is a great musical.
Austria and Germany both have an interesting custom concerning the dead. A burial plot is not owned but rather it is rented for 10 years. If you don't pay, out they go and someone else is put into their place. Although I find it hard to believe as some of these tombs dated back to 1600 and earlier that there are relatives around to pay the rental. However, both Austrians and Germans are very respectful of the dead. Saturday is the day relatives go to the gravesites and spruce up the graves, cut the grass and plant new flowers.
We enjoyed our visit to Salzburg. There was a lot more that we wanted to see but time did not permit it. Fortunately, Salzburg is approximately a three-hour drive from Ansbach and we are looking forward to
The Home Used in the Sound of Music
Actually, there were two homes used in the filming, this one for the back of the home and another for the front. Neither of which were the real Von Trapp family home.
Next stop: Prague, Czech Republic
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