Salzburg Fortress

Salzburg fortress (Festung Hohensalzburg) is a Medieval and Baroque style fortress, one of the best preserved of its kind in Europe, in fact, and the most famous symbol of the city.

Construction work on the Festung Hohensalzburg commenced in 1077, especially to protect the regions’ priests…

…as this was the time of so called Investiture Controversy, the most significant conflict between secular and religious powers during the Middle Ages.

Festung Hohensalzburg Salzburg Austria

PHOTO: A view up to the Festungsberg and Salzburg fortress, as seen from Kapitelplatz square, next to the Salzburg cathedral.

Festung Hohensalzburg funicular

PHOTO: There are two ways to go up to the fortress: either by walking a steep route that takes about 30 minutes one way (from Kapitelplatz), or, you can use the pictured funicular (cable railway), which takes you up in two minutes.

View to Salzburg from Festung Hohensalzburg

PHOTO: From the Salzburg fortress, you can find several observation points, both to the Salzburg old town (looking north), and to the alps (looking south). To find the best views back from the alps towards the fortress, you can go to the Untersberg mountaintop, which is served by a cable car. You can get to the mountain base using Salzburg Stadtbus line 25.

Festung Hohensalzburg Inneres Schloss

PHOTO: A hallway towards the inner parts of the fortress, Inneres Schloss section and to the Festungsmuseum. The hallway features fortress cannons, of which each has class of cannons has been separately named. “Der grob Püffl” cannons could shoot cannonballs weighting over 200 kg (441 pounds), while the “Singerin” and “Trachl” (“small dragon”) class cannons could handle only considerable smaller ammunition.

Burghof Festung Hohensalzburg

PHOTO: Burghof courtyard, the center of the fortress. Highlights in the Burghof are its central well from 1539 and Saint George’s church (Georgskirche).

Georgskirche Leornhard von Keutschach Festung Hohensalzburg

PHOTO: Among the details of the Saint George’s church, you can find the pictured bas-relief artwork of Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach, made out of red marble. In fact, there are no less than 58 carvings around the fortress telling of Leonhard von Keutschach’s significance, as he was the ruler who most expanded the fortress during its history.

Burgschanke tavern Hohensalzburg fortress

PHOTO: Hohensalzburg fortress offers both a restaurant and a tavern for dining…of which the Burgschänke tavern is in the picture.

VIDEO: European travel journalist Rick Steves’ tour of Hohensalzburg.

VIDEO: Geobeats publication’s tour of Hohensalzburg highlights.

The most important expansions and rebuilding of the fortress took place under the reign of Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach, from 1495-1519, which is why the fortress buildings are mostly a mixture of Medieval and Baroque styles.

As a ruler, Leonhard von Keutschach was constantly in conflict with the people of Salzburg, and felt safer inside the thick walls of the fortress.

To make his stay more pleasant, von Keutschach added the luxurious archbishop rooms (Prince’s Rooms), which include ‘Goldene Stube’ (Golden Room), containing a famous Salzburger tile-oven from 1501.

The only way to see the rooms is to participate in a (90 minute long)guided tour.

All in all, the fortress has 50 buildings, covering around 33,000 m² (355,000 sq.ft), with highlights including, in addition to the Prince’s Rooms and observation platforms, especially…

  • Festungsmuseum (,
  • Welt der Marionetten (, and
  • Rainer Regiment Museum.

Of these museums, the Fortress Museum (Festungsmuseum) documents the history of Hohensalburg and offers a look into the everyday life inside the building, via such displays as a Medieval heating system and kitchen.

You can also see at the museum, for example:

  • a medieval gold treasure,
  • Medieval weapons,
  • Gothic style furniture,
  • crafts from 16th and 17th centuries,
  • treasures found in excavations within the region (including ancient Roman coins an ceramics).

Welt der Marionette (Marionettenmuseum), on the other hand, is a unique marionetti-museum, located within the cellar area of Hohensalzburg.

The museum features several historical marionettes from the world-famous Salzburger Marionettentheater (, including ‘Papageno‘ and ‘Papagena‘ marionets from Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” opera.

At the museum, you can also experiment with the marionettes yourself.

Finally, Rainer Regiment Museum, located next to the Prince’s Rooms, contains memorabilia from the historic Archduke Rainer’s 59th regiment, which used the fortress as a base from 1871-1918.