Things to Do in Austrian Alps - page 2
Building started in 1956 on Salzburg’s Large Festival Hall, which was designed by Austrian architect and stage designer Clemens Holzmeister specifically to host the annual Salzburg Festival. The grand green-and white theater is neo-baroque in style and the main auditorium can seat an audience of 2,170; it opened to great fanfare in 1960 with a performance of Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier conducted by Herbert von Karajan and is renowned for its acoustics; the circular stage has a width of 100 meters (328 feet) and is one of the largest in the world. The interior decor is a monument to 1960s design, with marble statues by sculptor Wander Bertoni, as well as installations by Anton von Webern and notorious Austrian artist Oskar Kokoschka.
As well as hosting the Salzburg Festival, the venue has a full repertoire of year-round performances and also holds concerts during the city’s Easter and Whitsun Festivals as well as carol services at Christmas.
Located in the gloriously ornate Neue Residenz in Mozartplatz, the Salzburg Museum opened in 2007 to great acclaim and won European Museum of the Year two years later. It serves as an informative and educational museum of art and history, scanning aspects of the development of Salzburg as a city.
A museum of several parts housed in fine marble apartments, it features temporary art exhibitions, highlights the lives of prominent Salzburg movers and shakers, and examines the history of the city through a series of artwork in the permanent exhibition ‘The Myth of Salzburg’. A one-man exhibition on the third floor spotlights the mesmeric paintings of famous contemporary Austrian artist Gottfried Salzmann. The Salzburg Museum is partnered to the adjacent Panorama Museum and they are connected by the subterranean Panorama Passage, which reveals a section of Roman wall covered with murals and four models of Salzburg at pertinent points in its development.
Salzburg’s Old Market Square (or Alter Markt) dates way back to 1280. The medieval buildings have long since gone, replaced by grand Baroque townhouses that line the square.
Take a seat at an outdoor cafe, or pick up some handmade chocolate Mozartkugeln balls at Fürst chocolatiers. You’ll want to take a photo of one of the buildings lining the square at number 10a; you might miss it as it’s the smallest house in Salzburg.
Salzburg’s acclaimed Marionette Theatre was founded back in 1913 and its debut performance Bastien and Bastienne – the comic opera by Mozart – proved an instant hit with audiences. As its fan base expanded, so the theatre’s repertoire increased, taking in operas by Rossini and Strauss, Shakespearian plays and also developing shows especially adapted for children, including Alice in Wonderland and Peter the Wolf; The Sound of Music was also added to theater’s body of work in 2007.
The theater was awarded its own base in 1971, an ornate Baroque theater with a seating capacity of 350 that is tucked between the Mozarteum and the Landestheater. An extraordinary level of detail goes into the crafting of the puppets – each head is hand-carved in wood – and costumes and stage sets are individually designed for each show, while the characters are sung by some of the world’s greatest opera stars.
The number-one destination of beer lovers, Austria’s most popular brewing exhibition is found Salzburg’s oldest brewery, which was built in 1863, although Stiegl has actually been brewing ever since 1492 and the company remains independent to this day. In medieval times the production of beer was as vital to the growth of Salzburg’ wealth as the mining of salt in the region; a visit to the Stiegl Brauwelt encompasses a whistle-stop tour of the brewing process and the bottling plant as well as highlighting the social impact of brewing on the city. Although guided tours are currently only available in German, all the exhibits in the museum are clearly labeled in other languages, including English, so it is easy to understand the displays.
Tastings following the brewery tour give the chance to sample three of the ales produced here, and soft options are offered for non-drinkers. Time your visit correctly and stay on in the restaurant for lunch or supper.
On the outskirts of Innsbruck, the slopes at Bergisel have been the home of Tyrolean ski jumping competitions since 1927. To celebrate this, British Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid designed a towering ski jump stadium, which was completed in 2002 and can seat 28,000 people. In 2008 Pope John Paul II gave Mass here and it has quickly became a year-round Innsbruck attraction as it soars 820 feet (250 meters) above the city and offers superb views over the Inn Valley and surrounding Alps.
The Tyrol Panorama, featuring a massive, century-old painting of the heroic Tyrolean revolt against Napoleon, is found at the foot of the sculptural stadium. From here, the top of the tower rises to 165 feet (50 meters) and is reached by funicular – or 455 steep steps – plus elevator. Here you’ll be rewarded with 360° views over the city and coffee and cakes in the Panorama Restaurant.
More Things to Do in Austrian Alps
The Salzburg Museum incorporates seven branches, including the Toy Museum (Spielzeug Museum) and Museum of Natural History (Haus der Natur), but its main branch is at the Neue Residenz and is connected by subterranean tunnel to the adjacent Panorama Museum. The underground passage itself features a section of Roman wall covered with murals and models of the city at important points in its development but the main attraction of the Panorama Museum is the cyclorama of the city. Painted in 1829 by Johann Michael Sattler, the masterpiece painting-in-the-round is supremely impressive for its fine architectural and topographical detail and is 26 meters (85 feet) in diameter. Visitors stand on a central platform, from here telescopes and computer screens highlight various areas of the city, providing detailed descriptions of 19th-century Salzburg.
Salzburg’s modern art museum consists of two parts; the MDM Rupertinum is housed in an elegant medieval palace in the Altstadt (Old Town) while the MDM Mönchsberg sits on a rocky crag above the city. Together the MdM Salzburg buildings offer over 3,000 meters of exhibition space for 20th- and 21st-century Austrian art and began life in 1983, when local art collector Friedrich Welz donated his entire collection of works by Oskar Kokoschka to the city. Displays include temporary exhibits along with paintings drawn from the museums’ core collection, including Austrian favorites Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, a scattering of French Impressionists and an 18,000-strong collection of contemporary Austrian photography.
The revered German-language poet Georg Trakl was born in Salzburg in 1887 and spent much of his short life building up a body of literary work that has remained with us long after he died in a military hospital in Krakow at the tender age of 27. He spent his formative years in the city and much of his work shines light on the Salzburg of the early 20th century, although he flitted restlessly around Austria, traveling frequently to Vienna and Innsbruck. Heavily influenced by the works and lifestyles of French symbolist poets like Baudelaire and Rimbaud, Trakl was soon heavily involved with drugs and also suffered from depression; it is suspected he may have committed suicide but this is not known for sure.
Nevertheless his poetry attracted much praise attention and his reputation lives on. Many years after his death in 1914, his birthplace on Salzburg’s Waagplatz was converted to a museum in his memory in 1973.
Salzburg is the city of Mozart and music festivals and is also home to several Baroque orchestras. Most prestigious is the Mozarteum Orchestra, which was founded in 1841 with the help of Mozart’s widow and their sons; today it is one of Austria's leading symphony orchestras under the leadership of English conductor Ivor Bolton. It plays a leading role in the annual Salzburg Festival and has a permanent home at the Mozarteum, a complex of two concert halls built between 1910 and 1914. The grand and glittering neo-classical Great Hall (Grosser Saal) has seating for 800 and is regarded as Salzburg’s most beautiful concert venue, while the Viennese Hall is a smaller auditorium perfectly proportioned for chamber-music concerts, with an audience capacity of 200.
Salzburg’s cathedral (Dom) is on the south side of the River Salzach and has Romanesque foundations, although today its appearance is exuberantly Baroque as it was rebuilt after a fire in 1598. Mozart was baptized here in 1756 and held the post of court organist from 1779, writing much of his early music to be performed in the cathedral.
The museum is found on the upper floors of the cathedral, vaulted and stuccoed galleries with patterned marble floors all lavishly decorated with stags’ heads and exquisite furniture. It is dedicated to telling the story of the cathedral’s 1,300-year history and exhibiting religious art from the 15th to 18th centuries. Treasures in the collection include cabinets of curiosities squirreled away over centuries by Salzburg’s former ruling archbishop princes, glittering gold icons and relics, the priceless 8th-century Cross of St Rupert and a gold-and-purple enamel peace dove made in the early 13th century in Limoges.
Housed in the elegant Renaissance Bürgerspital, which was once a hospital, the Toy Museum was founded in 1978 and surrounds one of the most beautiful cloistered courtyards in Salzburg. It is an offshoot of the Salzburg Museum, which incorporates seven branches, including the Museum of Natural History (Haus der Natur) and the Monatsschlössl ethnology museum at Schloss Hellbrunn as well as its main branch at the Neue Residenz. Exhibits include antique dolls’ houses and puppet theaters among its collection of historic toys, but the museum is largely given over to interactive displays for children. It is a joy to visit for families with young kids as there are many games to play and puzzles to solve as well as Teddy bears to cuddle, dolls to dress up and a maze to get lost in. Model trains and racetracks are found on the second floor along with lots of costumes to dress up in and possibly the world’s biggest collection of Barbie dolls.
Located in two buildings on Museumsplatz near the River Salzach, Salzburg’s natural history museum was founded in 1924. It is an offshoot of the Salzburg Museum, which incorporates seven branches including the Toy Museum (Spielzeug Museum) and the Monatsschlössl ethnology museum at Schloss Hellbrunn as well as its main branch at the Neue Residenz. Along with a series of exhibitions focusing on dinosaurs, geology, the natural world and space travel, there’s an aquarium and reptile zoo featuring alligators and poisonous lizards.
The separate and largely interactive science center is wonderfully child friendly and displays across its three floors of hands-on exhibits examine energy, the human body and noise – this being Salzburg, the Audio Lab features the music of Mozart; it also has a science lab where junior experiments can be safely conducted under supervision.
The museum featuring the work of Michael Haydn, younger brother of the much-more-famous Baroque composer Joseph Haydn, is found in the Benedictine Abbey of St Peter, parts of which date back to 696 AD, making it the oldest abbey in Austria.
Johann Michael Haydn lived between 1737 and 1806; arriving in Salzburg in 1763 he was a close contemporary of Mozart but rather than leaving Salzburg for the bright lights of Vienna, he forged a successful career as a court musician by remaining in the city. He was incredibly prolific, composing more than 350 pieces of work, including 40 symphonies and 37 masses as well as 19 operettas and during his lifetime he was considered as bright a talent as both his brother and Mozart. Samples of Hadyn’s melodies can be heard in the museum, which is a must-see museum for devotees of Baroque music and showcases manuscripts, sheet music and paintings reflecting his life and times.
Things to do near Austrian Alps
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