Hellbrunn palace in Salzburg, from 1619, is best known for its gardens and the palace fountains.
As an entity, the palace of Hellbrunn and its gardens are a unique example of Mannerism style, and thanks to its size (60 hectares/148 acres), it is also one of the most important recreational areas in Salzburg.
Salzburg’s famous Archbishop Markus Sittikus gave the commission to build the palace only a year into having been chosen to his position, in 1613, and the building was completed on the Sittikus’ year of death, 1619.
To build the palace (whose name in English translates as “Clear Spring“), Sittikus used Italian architect Santino Solari, who also designed another major tourist attraction in the city, the Salzburg cathedral.
PHOTO: An overview of the Hellbrunn palatial area, as seen from ‘Stadtaussicht’ observation platform.
PHOTO: Hellbrunn palace’s Baroque style main building, behind of which the famous “jeux d’eau” water fountains are located.
PHOTO: Because the palace was build as a summer residence for Archbishop Markus Sittikus, and to be used for entertaining guests, the themes of is statues are very light, including unicorns taken from ancient mythologies.
PHOTO: Within the palace’s formal gardens, you can find the pictured, large Karpfenteich pond, which features many magnificent statues.
PHOTO: On both sides to the Karpfenteich, you can find a fountain, where, among the fountain statues, you can find fish swimming freely. Farther away in the picture, next to the pond, the statue portrays ancient Roman goddess of flowers and Spring, Flora.
PHOTO: Markus Sittikus called the palace gardens a “Chamber of Miracles”. As you walk along the gardens, fountains, located side-by-side, including the pictured Eurydice-nymph fountain, form a wonderful whole.
PHOTO: From the Hellbrunnerberg hill, which is still within the palace’s gardens, you can find the pictured Monatsschlössl (“Month Palace“, named after the fact, that it was completed in a record time, in a month). The building is from 1615, and houses today the Salzburg Volkskundemuseum Museum (www.salzburgmuseum.at/151.html).
PHOTO: From the Hellbrunnerberg, in addition to the Monatsschlössl, you can also find an observation platform, Stadtaussicht, with benches. On a good weather, the observation platform offers great views all the way to the Festung Hohensalzburg fortress.
PHOTO: One of the more modern additions to the Hellbrunn gardens is the (pictured) Sound of Music pavilion, which was used for filming the movie ‘Sound of Music‘ (1965)…for a scene with the song “Sixteen going on seventeen“. The pavilion, which the filming crew donated to the city of Salzburg after filming was completed, is especially popular among American tourists. An example of this is the group of American tourists in the picture, being told about the pavilion’s history by a guide from Panorama Tours (panoramatours.com).
Markus Sittikus added ‘trick’ “jeux d’eau” fountains to the palace, which are considered among the most significant Renaissance fountains still in existence.
The ‘trick’ part in the fountains comes from the fact, that some of the water fountains were placed on the seats surrounding the outdoor table, wetting the behinds of guests sitting there, when the water sprouts are activated.
The only chair that does not have the water sprouting jet, is the one from where Markus Sittikus entertained his guests.
Among the fountain gardens highlights is also a mechanical, water-powered, and music playing theater from 1750, portraying events from a typical Baroque town, with over 100 figurines.
Parts of the Hellbrunn palace gardens were heavily rebuilt from 1721 – 1727 in Baroque style, by Archbishop Franz Anton von Harrach.
During this rebuilding, the gardens were also made a “hortus conclusus“, gardens surrounded by a wall.
Today, the Hellbrunn palace area includes a zoo of over 800 animals, the Salzburg Zoo (www.salzburg-zoo.at).
The palace and its gardens are located about 4 km from the city center of Salzburg, and you can use public transportation to get here.
Instructions on how to get here are available from, for example, the official palace website, www.hellbrunn.at.
A good time to make a visit to the palace is the Hellbrunn festival weeks, when you can party like Markus Sittikus, at the palace, where the slogan is “Lustschloss zu Salzburg” (“Salzburg’s Palace of Fun”).