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Definition: Salzburg from Philip's Encyclopedia

City on the River Salzach, NW Austria, capital of the alpine Salzburg state. It grew around a 7th-century monastery, and for more than 1,000 years was ruled by the Archbishops of Salzburg. It became part of Bavaria in 1809, but returned to Austria in the Congress of Vienna. The birthplace of Mozart and the home of several music festivals, its most important industry is tourism. Pop. (2001) 144,816.

Summary Article: Salzburg
from The Columbia Encyclopedia

(zälts'bʊrk), province (1991 pop. 482,365), c.2,760 sq mi (7,150 sq km), W central Austria, bordering Germany in the north and northwest. It is a predominately mountainous region, with parts of the Hohe Tauern Mts. and Salzburg Alps, and is drained by the Salzach River. There are famous salt deposits that have long been worked, as well as gold, copper, and iron mines. Precious stones are also found there. A scenic area, it is noted for its numerous Alpine resorts and spas. Manufactures include clothing, leather, textiles, beer, wood products, paper, and musical organs. Cattle and horses are raised. Kaprun dam, on the Salzach high in the mountains, includes one of the largest hydroelectric facilities in Europe. The province's capital and chief city is Salzburg (1991 pop. 143,978), an industrial, commercial, and tourist center and a transportation hub. Picturesquely situated on both banks of the Salzach River, the city is bounded by two steep hills, the Capuzinerberg (left bank) and the Mönchsberg, on the southern tip of which is the 11th-century fortress of Hohensalzburg (right bank).

Landmarks and Institutions

The city of Salzburg is an architectural gem. Its most noteworthy buildings are a late 7th-century Benedictine abbey, which was for many years the center of missionary activities; the Franciscan church, consecrated in 1223; the early 17th-century cathedral, modeled after St. Peter's in Rome; the Residenz (16th–18th cent.), formerly the archiepiscopal palace; Mirabell castle (early 18th cent.), situated in a beautiful garden; and the Festspielhaus (1960), the city's chief concert hall. There is a monument to the physician and alchemist Paracelsus, who died in Salzburg in 1541. The city's university (founded 1623), except for its theological seminary, was closed in 1810 but was reopened in 1963. The Salzburg Seminar in American Studies is centered in Schloss Leopoldskron (18th cent.), a rococo castle.

The composer Mozart, Salzburg's most distinguished son, met scant recognition in the city during his stay there, but he is now honored by an annual summer music festival (see Salzburg Festival), which constitutes an important source of tourist revenue for Salzburg. Part of the house where Mozart was born is now a museum, and there is a commemorative statue on the quaint little square, the Mozart Platz. Since 1920 the morality play Everyman, written by Hugo von Hofmannsthal, has been performed annually in the cathedral square (now during the Salzburg Festival).


Originally inhabited by Celts, the territory was conquered by the Romans and became part of the province of Noricum. After the fall of the Roman Empire, its history followed that of the city of Salzburg. An ancient Celtic settlement, and later a Roman trading center named Juvavum, the town developed in the early 8th cent. around the late 7th-century monastery of St. Peter.

By c.798 Salzburg was the seat of an archbishopric, and for almost 1,000 years it was the residence of the autocratic archbishops of Salzburg, the leading ecclesiastics of the German-speaking world. They became princes of the Holy Roman Empire in 1278 and wielded their power with extreme intolerance. In the late 15th cent. the Jews were expelled, and in 1731–32 some 30,000 Protestants migrated to Prussia after a period of severe persecution. Secularized in 1802, Salzburg was transferred to Bavaria by the Peace of Schönbrunn (1809). The Congress of Vienna (1814–15) returned it to Austria.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2018

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