The Baroque Mirabell palace and its gardens in Salzburg, are the most popular tourist attraction within the new town side of the city.
Mirabell was build by Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau in 1606, as a residence for his lover and mother of his 15 children, shopkeeper’s daughter Salome Alt.
When von Raitenau was replaced in 1612, the palace became a summer residence for the Salzburg archbishops, and it was completely rebuilt to better suit their tastes in 1727, redone in late Baroque style by master-architect Lukas von Hildebrandt.
PHOTO: Mirabell palace offers a very understated Baroque style facade, which, however, is fitting to its surroundings that also include, for example, St. Andrä church.
PHOTO: Mirabell palace Baroque gardens, which were designed in 1690 by the most famous architect in Austrian history, Johann Berhard Fischer von Erlach, offer terraces, fountains, and marble statues…as well as a wonderful panorama over the old town, all the way to the Festung Hohensalzburg fortress.
PHOTO: The sculptures within the palace gardens are from several artists. Within these sculptures, you can find artworks portraying events from ancient mythologies around the central fountain, and statues of ancient gods and goddesses on the sides of the garden area.
PHOTO: The pictured lion statues, by Michael Bernhard Mandl, were originally located at Salzburg’s Klessheim palace. The pegasos statue, meanwhile, is one of the most famous details within the gardens, as the 1965 “Sound of Music” film’s “Do-Re-Mi” scene was shot around this very statue.
PHOTO: “A jump from one palace to the next is much easier with wings”.
PHOTO: The mythology theme in the palace statues, including the pictured unicorn statues, changes towards the other end of the gardens to a theme of ancient gods and heroes, including two “Gladiator of Borghese” sculptures, which are copies of the original ancient Roman artwork, on display at Louvre Museum, in Paris.
PHOTO: One of the most unique sections of the palace gardens is the “Zwerglgarten”, in English “Dwarf’s Garden”…and addition from 1715. Of the original 28 dwarf statues, however, only a few still remain.
PHOTO: Ottavio Mosto’s sculpture from 1960, portraying ‘Aeneas saved by his son Anchises from burning Troy‘…which is a scene from Homer’s “Ilias” poems. The modern building you can see on the background is the main building for Salzburg’s Mozarteum university (www.moz.ac.at).
PHOTO: Within the former palace winter gardens, there is today a Baroque Museum (www.barockmuseum.at)…but there have been plans to replace it with a Sound of Music museum.
The current name for the palace was given by Salzburg’s famous Archbishop Markus Sittikus, combining Italian words “mirabile” (admirable) and ‘bella‘ (beautiful).
Since 1947, the palace has been used by Salzburg city administration, and as an official residence for the city’s mayor.
Inside the palace, highlights include especially…
- the magnificent Engelstiege (Angel’s Stairs) staircase,
- stucco bas-relief artworks, and
- Cherub-statues by Georg Raphael Donner.
One of the highlights that deserves its own mention is the marble hall, which is often called the “world’s most beautiful wedding place”, as it is one of the more popular venues for wedding ceremonies in Salzburg.
On the corners of the garden area, you can find marble vases, which were personally designed by the main architect for the gardens, Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach.