Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Salzburg Cathedral

Salzburg Cathedral, Salzburg, Austria Links to photos

It is the most impressive early Baroque building north of the Alps.

In 767 Bishop Virgil arrived in Salzburg and built the first cathedral on the site of a Roman Juvavum. On 24 September 774 it was consecrated to St Virgil and St Rupert. In 1167 the city, including the cathedral, was set on fire by followers of the emperor Friedrick Barbarossa, Counts of Plain. In 1177 Archbishop Conrad III of Wittlesbach rebuilt it, but made it even more magnificent than the original, it was then the mightiest Romanesque cathedral north of the Alps. It was now larger than the emperor's cathedral in Speyer.

On 11 December 1598, large sections of it were destroyed by fire. Archbishop Wolf Dietrich had the remaining parts demolished and had planned its reconstruction. The citizens were outraged by his actions, especially as sculptures and gravestones were destroyed and the cathedral graveyard was ploughed under, the bones of the dead being dumped with the debris, As a result of a disagreement with Bavaria over rights to salt mining he was imprisoned in the Hohensalzburg Fortress by his successor, his nephew Markus Sittkus von Hohenems. His planned construction projects in the city were stopped. Markus Sittikus commissioned the architect Santino Solari to rebuild the cathedral. At the time of its consecration by Archbishop Paris Lodron on the 25 September 1628, during the 30 Years War, it was the first early Baroquechurch north of the Alps.

The city was heavily fortified, but it was through the diplomacy of Archbishop Lodron that the city was spared most of the hardship during the 30 Years War. Prince bishops had reigned over the city for centuries. The Napoleononic Wars ended their reign, the city coming under the rule of Ferdinand III, Grand Duke of Tuscany, the first of the Habsburg, dethroning the last of the prince bishops, Hieronymus von Colloredo.

The dome and part of the chancel were during a bombing rain in 1944. These were subsequently restored and it was re-consecrated in 1959. The 3 consecrations are recorded on the gates of the cathedral, 774, 1628 and 1959. In front of the main facade are 4 statues, the apostles Peter and Paul, holding keys and a sword, and the 2 patron saints Rupert and Virgil, with a salt box and a model of the church. The 2 church builders, Markus Sittikus and Paris Lodron, are remembered by 2 escutcheons on the gable ornament,

One of  the valuable items in the cathedral is the baptismal font in which Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was baptised. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was the court organist and concert master, composing numerous works of sacred music for Salzburg.

The Cathedral courtyard is Cathedral Square, in 1660 Archbishop Guidobald Thun ordered the construction of the Cathedral arches by Giovanni Antonio Dario. In the centre of the square is an Immaculate Column sculpted by Wolfgang and Johann Baptist Hagenauer for Archbishop Sigismund Graf Schrattenbach


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