Quick trip to Salzburg – Salt Fortress and Love Locks

Austria’s 4th largest city, birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with an Altstadt (old city) listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, Salzburg is probably one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.

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Short History

The first settlements of Salzburg date all the way back to the Neolithic Age, and were merged into one city during the Roman Empire times.The city was named Salzburg, with means Salt Castle, honoring the barges carrying salt on the Salzach River, in the 8th century.

Salzburg, as the capital of one of the Austro-Hungarian territories, became, through time, home for a large number of Protestant emigrants and emigrants from regions of the Kingdom of Hungary, as refugees from the war.

Even if during the World War II, the bombing destroyed 7,600 houses and killed 550 inhabitants, the Baroque architecture was preserved and the city rebuilt, blossoming year after year.

The Hohensalzburg Castle

The High Salzburg Fortress, is located at an altitude of 506 m, on Festungsberg, a small hill situated in the heart of the city, which offers visitors probably the best view over Salzburg.

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Measuring 250 m in length and 150 m in width, Hohensalzburg is one of the largest medieval castles in Europe.

The construction of the fortress, originally designed as a simple wooden fortification, began in 1077, under Archbishop Gebhard von Helfenstein, and was gradually expanded during the following centuries, until 1462, when the ring walls and towers were built, under Prince-Archbishop Burkhard II von Weißpriach.

Even if the main purpose of the fortification was protection, the only time it actually came under siege was during the German Peasants’ War, when in 1525, the townspeople tried to force Prince-Archbishop Matthäus Lang out of his position, but failed.

Hohensalzburg Castle

Nowadays, the castle, with various wings, chambers and a beautiful courtyard, is open to the public, and if you want to visit, you can get there either by cable car or by foot. As usual, I had to choose walking, so I can stop on the way, and admire the gorgeous view over the city. I must say, I wasn’t disappointed at all!

The Makartsteg Bridge – Locks and Love

Named after the 19th century painter Hans Makart, the bridge over the Salzach River is the most modern bridge in the city center, with 20,000 pedestrians crossing it everyday.

However, this is not what the bridge is so famous for. The fence of the bridge is covered in a sea of locks, brought there by lovers from all around the world, which are meant to declare their eternal love.

Makartsteg Bridge

Even if this is a bit cheesy for my taste, I must say I was impressed by the large number of locks. Also, I couldn’t help but wonder how does this work in case of a break-up. Do you go back there, jump in the river, look for the keys, find them (right … good luck with that) and get rid of the evidence? 🙂

Either way, the shop owners selling them, are very happy and thankful for all the couples who feel the need to write their names on fences (not sure what happened to the good old romantic dates where people brought knifes along and carve their names on trees).

With plenty Romanesque and Gothic Churches and Cathedrals, a perfect blend of baroque and classical modernism buildings and a beautiful contemporary architecture found in Salzburg’s old town, the city is definitely not lacking variety.

Regardless if you stop by to visit the historic center or the Alpine surroundings, Salzburg is full of culture, history and beauty, and ever since my first visit, it’s been on my top 5 favorite cities list.


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Vienna – The Magical Winter City

As soon as you arrive in Vienna, a journey through time starts, where the past and the present combine right in front of your eyes. The architecture is absolutely stunning, and the sound of the horses making their way through the city center, opens a gateway to a different time. A place which screams history!

Some of the world’s biggest musicians (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Joseph Haydn, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schuber, Johann Strauss and many others) called Vienna their home, and after a few hours spent in the gorgeous city, I could see why.

Combining a walk through the center, with a visit at Empress Sisi’s palace, and a day of shopping at the famous Christmas Market, this city has something which always makes me want to come back.

Schönbrunn Palace

The Schönbrunn Palace, meaning “beautiful spring“, is Empress Sisi’s former imperial summer residence. Built in the 1740’s, the Palace is currently one of the most important historical monuments in Austria. Starting 1996, it’s part of the UNESCO World Heritage together with its beautiful gardens.

I’m not sure if the picture gives you a correct feeling about how big this place really is, but believe me, a few hours are not enough to see everything the Palace has to offer.

The carriage museum, the roman ruins, the palm house and the desert houses are only a few of the main attractions. Even more, during winter, Schönbrunn garden is also home of a Christmas Market, which is guaranteed to get you into the spirit of the season.

Surrounded by an enormous garden (over a square kilometer), which hosts the oldest Zoo in the world, this place is absolutely fascinating, and definitely worth a visit.

The Christmas Market

Considering that the first Viennese Christmas Market took place in 1298, we can say Vienna has a long tradition of bringing the seasonal joy into our homes. DSCF9589 The most famous Christmas Market takes place during November and December, in front of the City Hall (Rathaus) located on the Rathausplatz. There are a few more markets scattered around Vienna, though, competing with the latter, in Schönbrunn and on Spittelberg. The aromas of the Christmas delights, combined with the seasonal decorations and wood toys displayed in the small wooden market stalls, have their own magical power.

If you love Christmas, there’s no better place to be during winter, than in Vienna. In case you decide to visit, don’t forget to try the famous Wiener Schnitzel, the hot baked potatoes, roasted chestnuts, and a glass of wine, for which the city is so famous for.