Salzburg Cathedral | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Salzburg Cathedral

Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria

Luke Tomes

20 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Salzburg Cathedral

Salzburg Cathedral is a 17th century Baroque cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Salzburg in the city of Salzburg, Austria, dedicated to Saint Rupert and Saint Vergilius.

History of Salzburg Cathedral

Salzburg Cathedral is the centre of this historical Austrian city’s ecclesiastical community. Whilst the city’s first cathedral was built there in 767, Salzburg Cathedral has been built, destroyed, reconstructed and expanded numerous times and has been consecrated three times.

In 1167, Salzburg Cathedral was destroyed when the city was set alight by the Counts of Plain. Despite being reconstructed, it was subject to yet another fire in 1598, which ravaged large parts of it. Much controversy followed, as the archbishop of the time tore down the entire church rather than trying to preserve its remaining parts.

Salzburg Cathedral’s final incarnation took shape in the 17th century, when architect Markus Sittikus was commissioned to design a new cathedral. Sittikus designed Salzburg Cathedral in a Baroque style with a majestic marble façade crowned with green domes and flanked by towers, a style which was new to the region.

The cathedral was consecrated in 1628, having managed to avoid the conflict of the Thirty Years’ War. Since then, Salzburg Cathedral’s dome was destroyed and rebuilt when it was struck by bombing raids in 1944. The new dome and cathedral were then consecrated once again in 1959 and dedicated to Saint Rupert of Salzburg. His statue stands in front of Salzburg Cathedral, together with those of the apostles Peter and Paul and Saint Virgil.

Salzburg Cathedral Today

Salzburg Cathedral is an imposing tribute to the Early Baroque. Visitors are greeted by the resplendent façade made of Untersberg Marble. Looking down from it are four monumental statues: Apostles Peter and Paul holding a key and a sword, as well as Salzburg’s two patron saints, Rupert and Virgil, clasping a salt vessel and a model of the church. The two escutcheons at the top of the gable commemorate the two builders of the cathedral, Markus Sittikus and Paris Lodron.

The Cathedral Square, with a statue of the Virgin Mary, forms the atrium – serving as the imposing backdrop for the performances of Jedermann during the Salzburg Festival as well as for the beloved Christmas Market.

At Salzburg Cathedral there is much to discover: the baptismal font, the crypt, the art installation “Vanitas”, as well as the chest containing relics of the Saints Rupert and Virgil. In addition, many secrets are associated with the seven bells as well as the three entrance doors. If you take a closer look, you will even find 370-year-old graffiti scratched into the marble portal.

Inside the ornate interior of Salzburg Cathedral, one can find the place where composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was baptized and also where he composed many of his musical pieces.

Getting to Salzburg Cathedral

The address of the cathedral is Dom zu Salzburg, Domplatz 1a, 5020 Salzburg. It is located on the southbank of the river Salzach, next to Mozart’s Birthplace. If using public transport, the closest stop is Salzburg Rathaus, on the routes 25, 27, 28, 840 and O-Bus 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 14.

By far the best way to get around Salzburg is on foot, the streets are largely pedestrianised making it very easy to see all the sights within the city centre. There is a very reliable tram and bus system, tickets cost €2.10 for a single journey if purchased from the driver or €1.90 if you buy from a ticket machine or Tabak stand.

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