We were in Salzburg for a few days and had already visited the town of Silent Night (which you can read about here) and enjoyed a Mozart Dinner Concert (which you can read about here), and now I was about to set off on my own to climb Kapuzinerberg, the mountain behind our hotel.
Salzburg appears to be surrounded by mountains and although the one behind our hotel was not the tallest, it still reached a height of 636m and looked more than worth the effort. I had woken up early to do it, so as not to impact on the rest of our day, and was excited to find the snow falling when I got outside into the dark. I was going to be following a route which took in more than just the mountain, and which should have started from the Mozart Square. However, from my starting position at the hotel that would have meant crossing the Salzach River just to come back on myself, so instead I started from the medieval Steingasse street and a memorial plaque for Joseph Mohr, the writer of the lyrics to Silent Night. From there I climbed the steep Imberg Stairs, immediately passing a massive and graphic crucifix on my way to St Johann am Imberg Chapel, which was often visited by Mozart and his sister, and I continued the climb up the steps until I came to the Capuchin Monastery, enjoying some wonderful views back on to the city as I went up.
It was dark and snowing but the city was still lit up as the morning traffic began. At the top of the steps I passed another Kalvarienberg on my left which was as graphic as the one at Oberndorf bei Salzburg, and recognised that as being at the top of my way back down once I had climbed the mountain. Then there was a statue of Stefan Zweig before I walked through the archway to the beginning of the various paths up the mountain.
Looking at the basic city map I decided to take the outer path up the Kapuzinerberg to get to the Franziskischlossl at the summit, the former archiepiscopal summer residence with a cafe, because that way I stood less chance of getting lost in the woods. I did not have a detailed map but the paths appeared to be well signposted and given that one of them suggested it was 30 minutes to get to the top I did not think this was going to be the most taxing ascent ever.
I left the statue of Mozart behind me and followed the Bastei-Weg with the snow still falling, passing along the inside of some houses which overlooked the city until I got to a wall and turned left. This took me up more steps and then along a track until I could see the Franziskischlossl through the trees.
It did not take me very much longer to get to the top and the snow clouds were still low when I got there, meaning that I did not have any great view of the horizon, but the views down on to the part of the city below me were still spectacular.
It had been worth the climb. I decided that I would walk back through the woods and took the Stefan-Zweig-Weg, which moved gradually downhill and by various viewpoints, including a stunning one down on to the Hohensalzburg Fortress (itself at 542m), brought me back to the Mozart statue. Morning had broken by now and I could see the statue clearly.
I made my way past the Stefan Zweig Villa and the Capuchin Monastery to get to the steps at the top of the Kalvarienberg.
I followed the steep path down, noting the Stations of the Cross along the route as it took me to the medieval Linzer Gasse and the former residences of the physician and natural scientist, Paracelsus, and the poet, Georg Trakl, before I found the memorial plaque to the singer Richard Mayr. I turned right and walked past St Sebastian’s Church to take me back to the hotel. I had not quite finished the tour but we had a morning of exploring Mozart’s birthplace and residence and the Museum of Natural History before I returned to finish it off.
You can see more of my photographs from that morning of exploring here.
I came back to the late gothic St Sebastian’s Church in the afternoon and took a look at the magnificent interior. Unfortunately, it was another church with locked iron railings so I could not get a very close look. I came out and turned right towards the city centre and then took the first right which brought me into a courtyard, before I turned right again to get to the cemetery, built by Archbishop Wolf Dietrich in the style of an Italian ‘campo santo’. It houses the mausoleum for Wolf Dietrich, the Paracelsus tomb and the graves of Leopold and Constantia Mozart. The Mozart graves do not stand out in any particular way and are very dignified. They are on the left as you head down the path to the mausoleum entrance.
The inside of the mausoleum itself is very ornate. I came out of the cemetery the way I had come in and turned right again, this time past the side of the Loreto Church to get on to another main street, and turned left to bring me to the entrance to the church. I found yet another splendid interior and was treated to a lovely rendition of a hymn from a lady who was praying inside.
From there I continued in the direction of the city centre and came to the Mirabell Garden, which was somewhat plain in the winter but still had a stunning look to it, with many magnificent statues. Of course, it also holds the fountain from the Sound Of Music.
I turned left out of the gardens to walk towards the river, and stayed on this side of it, giving me a wonderful view of the old city to bring my little tour to a brilliant finish.
You can see more of my photos from the day here.