Mirabell Palace & Gardens, Salzburg

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As Mozart’s birthplace and the film location for The Sound of Music, Salzburg, Austria, draws droves of tourists each year. Since its completion, Mirabell Palace and Gardens stands as one of the city’s main attractions.

Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich Raitenau commissioned the construction of Altenau Castle circa 1606 with his mistress Salome Alt in mind. Construction supposedly completed within six months. After Raitenau’s arrest in 1612, his successor Mark Sittich von Hohenems removed Salome Alt from the grounds. He renamed the building Mirabell Palace from the Italian words mirabile and bella.

For six years following 1721, the palace received a Baroque makeover. A fire damaged the palace, resulting in the present-day Neoclassical stylings, circa 1818. In 1866, the City of Salzburg acquired Mirabell Palace and briefly transformed it into the mayor’s office after World War II.

Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach designed Mirabellgarten and Prince-Archbishop Johann Ernst von Thun began planting in 1687. The aesthetically appealing gardens utilize geometry and mythology to captivate visitors. In 1690, Italian sculptor Ottavio Mosto carved the Paris, Pluto, Aeneas and Hercules statues.

Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria graciously opened the palace gates so the public could enjoy the gardens. The song “Do-Re-Mi” from the Sound of Music was filmed in the Mirabell Gardens near the Pegasus fountain and steps. Next time you’re in Salzburg, enjoy a walk through Mirabell Gardens.

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