Hohensalzburg Fortress - History and Facts | History Hit

Hohensalzburg Fortress

Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria

Hohensalzburg Fortress is a vast 11th century citadel in Salzburg, Austria.

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About Hohensalzburg Fortress

Hohensalzburg Fortress, also known as Hohensalzburg Castle, in Salzburg, Austria, is an incredibly well preserved citadel and one of the largest remaining medieval fortresses in central Europe.

History of Hohensalzburg Fortress

Hohensalzburg was built in 1077 by Gebhard von Helfenstein, also known as Prince Gebhard I of Helffenstein and Archbishop Gebhard, and was later expanded over the centuries, including by Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach in the 16th century out of fear of a Turkish invasion.

The fortress was surrendered to French troops in 1800 during the Napoleonic Wars and throughout the 19th century it was used as a military outpost and barracks. During the First World War, the fortress was used as a prison to hold prisoners of war, and Nazi activists later commandeered the fortress prior to the Anchluss in 1938.

It is said that Hohensalzburg Fortress has never been captured by enemies; however attempts to take it have also been sparse and of dubious force. As denoted by its name, which literally translates to “High Salzburg Fortress”, Hohensalzburg Fortress sits high atop Salzburg and is an imposing white stone structure with large battlements and turrets.

The Hohensalzburg Fortress today

The fortress towers above Salzburg, and no visit to the city is complete without a trip up to it. The spectacular Golden Hall is breath-taking: look out for the series of Festungskonzerte (Fortress Concerts) which use it as a backdrop year round – the programme is quite unsurprisingly quite Mozart heavy but it’s a must for any fans of classical music.

Inside Hohensalzburg Fortress is the Fortress Museum displaying, amongst other things, a good collection of ancient weaponry, Roman coins, and historic musical instruments. You can also see several state rooms as well as torture chambers. The views from Hohensalzburg Fortress are spectacular and these alone are worth the trip.

Getting to the Hohensalzburg Fortress

The fortress is a short uphill walk from town – there’s a bus station (Salzburg Festungsbahn Bergstation) helpfully next to the fortress and the main station (hauptbahnhof) is a 30 minute walk away.

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