Founded at the end of the 7th century, Salzburg achieved wealth and status by extracting and trading in „white gold“ – salt. The city is located on the Salzach river in the centre of the Salzburger basin, and is the fourth-largest city in Austria, after Vienna, Graz, and Linz. Independent Catholic ruling bishops, who imbued the city with its current flair, reigned here well into the 19th century. With its 38 church spires, the Hohensalzburg fortress sits in state high above the old city. It is the largest and oldest medieval fortress still preserved in Central Europe, and is the symbol of the city. The Salzburg Cathedral, the oldest baroque church north of the Alps, was built from 1614 to 1628. In 1996, UNESCO added the Salzburg city centre to the World Cultural Heritage list. Today, the city is an important convention and conference centre, with many trade and service businesses. Its favourable location in the transit network makes it the centre of the European Salzburg cross-border region.
The city‘s most famous son is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, whose birthplace home is located in the Getreidegasse, and is the destination of visitors from around the world. He created more than 350 of his works here in Salzburg; today, he is the most-performed composer in the world. In 1890, the Salzburg confectioner Paul Fürst created the famous „Mozartkugeln“ (Mozart balls) in his honour, chocolate balls with a marzipan centre. Yet another culinary treat is the „Salzburger Nockerln,“ an old sweet dish made with beaten and baked egg yolks. Salzburg offers over 4,000 events a year – culture at its finest. In January, Mozart Week starts off the musical year. That‘s followed by Easter, Pentecost, and then of course the summer festivals in August, with the famous „Jedermann” (“Everyman”) performances; culture days and a jazz festival take place in the autumn. The year winds up with the moving advent choral singing in the city‘s Grosses Festspielhaus (Large Festival Hall). There are numerous favourite excursion destinations in the immediate vicinity of Salzburg, such as the Wasserschloss Hellbrunn (Hellbrunn Palace), the Königssee mountain lake, the Kehlsteinhaus (Eagle‘s Nest), or Oberndorf, where the world-famous Christmas song „Silent Night“ originated.
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