Private Salzburg Guided Walk with Hohensalzburg Fortress Tour
Tour Participation Requirements
Festung Hohensalzburg literally means "High Salzburg Fortress," and looking out from the battlements of this magnificent structure, 1,660 feet above Old Town, it's clear that any attempt to storm its massive walls would have been foolhardy. (An angry mob of Salzburgers tried and failed in 1525.) But though it couldn't be taken by force, it could be surrendered; Napoleon's forces took it without a fight in 1800, leaving it with a 1-1 record over 900 years.
The Fortress didn't always look as it will when you see it. It evolved from a simple wooden structure in 1077 to the stout stone stronghold that stands today over centuries of expansions, reinforcements, and refinements. For instance, the ring walls and towers were built in 1462, and the external bastions were completed in the 17th century.
Inside the wall, the fortress consists of several wings and what many consider a rather romantic courtyard. The archbishop's quarters were on the second floor, and the third floor had rooms reserved for guests and for special functions, such as the richly appointed Golden Hall.
One thing that hasn't changed is the view, which is what made it the ideal location for a defensive outpost in the first place. The "High Salzburg Fortress" lets you see for miles in every direction; guard duty here wouldn't have been so bad.
By the way, if you notice one house that's sitting off by itself with no other houses around it on the fortress grounds, there's a reason: No one wanted to be near it. It was the executioner's home.
Keeping it clean
Getreidegasse has been the main commerce road in Salzburg since the beginning of the city. As such, it was where the town's doctors, rich merchants, and wealthy craftsmen lived, and many of their original shops and offices are still used today. But it was also the road where the stables and storage areas were located. So to keep the street clean, a canal was used to flood the street at night and wash the mess down to the river. It wasn't great for the river, but the town's elite were happy.
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