Castle of the Week 48 – Festung Hohensalzburg

Salzburg Castle (Festung Hohensalzburg) stands on the Mönchsberg, a 400 foot hill overlooking the beautiful and musical Austrian city. It is Europe’s largest fully-preserved castle but, despite its great age (over 900 years), it has little history as it was never attacked and only occupied once when it was surrendered to Napoleon without a fight.

It was built in 1077 by Archbishop Gebhard as a refuge in the midst of a controversy between the pope and the king as to who had the right to appoint bishops. The fortifications were expanded in the early 12th century.

It was used as a refuge during the 15th and 16th centuries during the Hungarian and Peasants’ Wars. During this time it was enlarged and the arsenal and granary erected. The exterior view has been virtually unaltered since then. Its final alterations took place in 1681 with many Italian baroque modifications..

During its long history it served as a refuge for the archbishops, a military barracks and a prison.

It can be visited today and is reached either by a funicular railway, built in 1892, or a hard slog up the hill and has tremendous views from its walls of the city beneath on one side & the Alps on the other three. There are winding passages and ornate state rooms, including the Golden Room and Golden Hall together with a museum of medieval torture.

Write-up provided by GillB. Pictures courtesy of Ice