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Touring Hohnsalzburg Fortress in Salzburg, Austria

Hohensalzburg Fortress, Austria - Beautiful view of Salzburg seen from the fortress walls

Salzburg Fortress, also known as Hohensalzburg, is very impressive. The Salzburg Fortress is a fully preserved monument of over 900 years old and is one of the largest existing 11th century fortress complexes in Europe. Situated at over 500 m altitude and measuring 250 m (820 ft) in long and 150 m (490 ft) wide, Salzburg Fortress is an impressive site. Read on about my visit at Salzburg Fortress.

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What to expect visiting Salzburg Fortress

Fortress Hohnsalzburg is a large medieval fortress complex that has been built in stages over hundreds of years. Salzburg Fortress is wonderful place to visit and you should plan at least three hours for your visit.

The tramway (dating since 1892) is a fast and convenient way to climb up the hill to the fortress as it takes only 30 seconds to get up the mountain. The tram ticket price also includes two tours of the interior.

Hohensalzburg Fortress, Austria – The tramway is a fast and conveninet way to climb up to the Hohensalzburg Fortress. It takes you up to the fortress in about 30 seconds
Hohensalzburg Fortress, Austria - The tramway is a fast and conveninet way to climb up to the Hohensalzburg Fortress. It takes you up to the fortress in about 30 seconds
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My favorite things to do at Salzburg Fortress

Your tram ticket includes two tours of the some parts of the fortress interior. Once you get inside the fortress look for signs posting the times of the tours.

  • The Fortress Museum and the torture chamber.
  • The small illuminated lower church, the bastion and the romantic courtyard
  • The magnificent princes’ apartments which are among some of the most beautiful Gothic secular chambers in Europe
  • The big bonus is the 360 degrees panorama view from ‘Reckturm’ watchtower, above Salzburg town and the horizon, trimmed with beautiful green hills

The fortress dominates the whole area and it can be seen from anywhere in Salzburg. Therefore when you are inside the fortress you get sweeping views of the entire surrounding areas.

Hohensalzburg Fortress, Austria – Beautiful view of Salzburg seen from the fortress walls
Hohensalzburg Fortress, Austria - Beautiful view of Salzburg seen from the fortress walls
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Hohensalzburg Fortress is an intricate history lesson

I love history because so much of the present can be explained by understanding the past. The Salzburg Fortress is no exception. A lot of Salzburg’s present development has to do with the past.

The strategic position of this pointy rocky hill captured the interest of the Archbishop Gebhard von Helfenstein. He ordered the construction of the castle in 1077. This initiative came as a result of a dispute between the German emperor, Heinrich IV, and Pope Gregor VII, whom Gebhard was supporting. Between 1495-1519 Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach enlarged and completed the building as we see it today!

Hohensalzburg Fortress, Austria – Fortress walls and surrounding hills seen from the tallest tower of the castle.
Hohensalzburg Fortress, Austria - Fortress walls and surrounding hills seen from the tallest tower of the castle.
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This imposing monument is a remarkable sign of the desire for recognition expressed by the prince bishops – and a demonstration of the political authority and power they held. The fortifications were built to protect the prince bishops and the principality itself from attack. Actually, the fortress never faced a real siege. Most of the time the prince bishops lived in the palace at the heart of Salzburg town known as the ‘Residenz’.

For many years the fortress served as a fortification and temporary residence of the prince archbishops, but it also served as military barracks and a prison. As a matter of fact during its long history the fortress has never being conquered.

Is it worth visiting Salzburg Fortress?

Even though we were tired after walking all over Salzburg, we were very glad we visited the Salzburg Fortress as well. The fast and easy tramway up the steep hill made it very appealing to visit even towards the end of the day. Once inside the Hohnsalzburg Fortress we absolutely loved the sweeping views all around and the interesting tours of the interior chambers. So, yes, it was well worth visiting Salzburg Fortress.

My best resources for planning your trip to Salzburg, Austria

Here is my short list of resources for planning your trip to the Salzburg area.

Austria Europe
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