Hohensalzburg Fortress

The Festung Hohensalzburg, or Hohensalzburg Fortress as it is known in English, is a formidable Salzburg attraction. You can't miss this large castle in Salzburg, as it graces Festungsberg Hill, which overlooks the city. It makes for quite the icon on the horizon, and you might be interested to know that the Hohensalzburg Fortress is the largest preserved fortress in all of central Europe. In other words, it's worth checking out when enjoying a Salzburg visit.

Construction on the Hohensalzburg Fortress was commenced in 1077, and originally, the plan was quite basic. It was ordered to be built by Gebhard von Helfenstein, who was then the Archbishop of Salzburg. This grandiose castle in Salzburg would serve as the stronghold for the ruling archbishops and prince-archbishops for centuries, being continually built up over time. Many different builders would bring a range of different tastes to the structure, which wouldn't be completed until 1681. Both state issues and defense issues were handled in this main castle in Salzburg, making it a most important area base of operations.

By the twentieth century, the Hohansalzburg Salzburg castle saw use as a prison, and among its inmates were Nazi activists. These activists were jailed in the 1930s, though after the annexation of Austria to Germany in 1938, they would be set free. Later on in the twentieth century, the castle was refurbished. This time it was prepared for its role as a tourist attraction. A cable car to transport visitors to the top of Festungsberg Hill was built as far back as 1900, and there is still one here today that can get you to the top, and thus to the Hohensalzburg Fortress. Of course, you can always opt to hike up the hill with your own two feet, which generally takes no longer than 30 minutes. Hike to the top, and you can treat yourself to a nice meal later in the evening without feeling bad about the calories. There's also a restaurant at the fortress itself if you want to claim your culinary reward right after your fortress tour.

Guided tours of the Hohensalzburg castle in Salzburg are available, or you can choose to tour the premises on your own. The hours and departure times for these tours tend to vary with the season. Opening hours are generally between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. throughout the year. Like some of the other castles in Austria, the Hohensalzburg Fortress boasts some truly elegant and ornate state apartments. The prince-archbishops must have surely been proud to call this castle in Salzburg home. In addition to touring the Hohensalzburg Fortress Salzburg, you can also check out the two museums here, one of which has a great medieval art collection, the other which has armor and arms on display. The Burgmuseum, which boasts the art, also offers up various instruments of torture, as well as some intriguing Gothic artifacts, so you might take note of that if you are visiting with children. In the Rainermuseum, you can view marble reliefs that honor the Apostles.

While you're at the top of the hill here, you will also want to take in the views, which not only include the city of Salzburg, but also the rising Alps in the near distance. Coincidentally, another Salzburg castle worth visiting when in town is Mirabell Palace, which also boasts some fantastic gardens.

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