Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hohensalzburg: the Castle

Perched on a hill overlooking Salzburg, the Fortress (Festung Hohensalzburg) High Salzburg guarded the area and the archbishops for hundreds of years. Each of the archbishops added to the defenses over time, making a very impressive, impregnable fortress. I'm not sure if it's really impregnable, but it was never impregnated.

The cable car up from the cathedral where the archbishop worked every day was significantly faster than the Untersbergbahn. The archbishops were driven there, either by horse carriage or else carried by retainers, so they didn't have to hoof the up and down of the hill every day. We only did it once and were quite winded.

We only intended to pop in, see the castle, and pop out again on our last day in Salzburg, but ended up staying for three hours. There was a LOT to see and do. They really did an excellent job with it.

The current chapel of the castle. We also toured the excavated site of the original chapel. Lots of rocks and some rough outlines where things used to be and the hint of a flavor of color that used to be discernible. This is more impressive.

The upstairs is lavishly painted, with coats of arms of nearby allies all over. Art as a sign of power.

I mean, even the doors upstairs are incredibly ornate! The downstairs ... not so much.

The Bull of Salzburg is the mechanical organ in the tower. It chimes the hours with music, including a very loud, long F that resounds at moments important for the working day (get to work!). It apparently sounds like a bull.

They had a display of old Austrian musical instruments, including the ever-popular Glockenspiel and this "Serpentine" horn.

Build your own Festung Hohensalzburg! Fun for the whole family. (Grown up child not included.)

As we said, fun for the whole family.

Joy says, "I loved the puppets."

Downstairs was a marionette museum. They do full-length, very professional movies of great classics. We considered buying Mozart's Magic Flute (right) for Hyrum, but realized it was over 40 bucks and thought better of it. On the left are some devils from the Wizard of Oz. "But if we ever come into our own, we could probably buy it online some day."

The view around the castle. There were literally dozens upon dozens of mosquitos flocking those of us brave enough to be at the top of the castle that day. I got 5 bites just taking this video. Please enjoy it.

They also had a WWI museum. I hadn't ever really studied WWI - focused more on the second war. And even then, my studies were on the Battle of the Bulge with France and England against Germany. The first war, though, was the one that broke up the Austro-Hungarian Empire, so it was pretty important for Austria.

Seeing it from an Austrian perspective was very interesting. It's not the version they'd tell you in the US, let's put it that way. This painting, for instance, is of the worshiping of the beloved Kaiser.

In addition to the displays of WWI memorabilia, they had a fascinating art display of medieval weapons and armor arranged as if they were a small army preparing to charge the unprepared tourist walking through the door. The lights and shadows on it were quite impressive. There was a movie display on the wall facing the army depicting Pythonesque actors fighting back.

The castle is a bit odd. Joy was just saying that she was confusing which castle was which. The reason is that most of the museum lets you wander wherever you like, but they have a guided tour through the part with the mosquitos and the organ and the torture chamber. There was a lot to see. Pack a lunch.


Grandma Jule said...

I am enjoying the video! Thank you for your sacrifice!

"The Bull" looks like a music box!
Are the various "chimes" programmed?

I *ADORE* the blocks!!! For the child in all of us.

Jake said...

Thanks for the picks, the museum looks especially interesting. Was the place crowded at all? Doesn't look like it by the pics. Too bad about the mosquitoes, would have thought a place like that would have a trap or two in place to make the place pest free and enjoyable - maybe you should recommend they check out !

Thanks for the post Derrill !

tim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tim said...

Great pictures. It looks like you could have used some DEET with all those mosquitoes. I have this same problem in my backyard during the summer. I’m researching ways to prevent mosquitoes and also found out about those Mosquito Magnets. Jake, do they get the job done?

D. Watson said...

Jake - sorry I forgot to respond earlier.

The place wasn't particularly crowded, no. We went in September, just after the peak tourist season. The crowds anywhere were noticeable but manageable.

They did have a couple traps up, but the tour guides seemed pretty fatalistic about the whole thing. That, or they had their repellent working and didn't worry about anyone else or the buggers are a lot worse earlier in the season or she was just tired of listening to tourists complain about them every twenty minutes. For myself, I've never seen so many before or since.

Tim - a less-conventional thing to try is drinking orange tea. My mother swears it changes the smell of your blood so mosquitoes aren't interested anymore.