The fortress Hohensalzburg and its bastions are build on an area of 14.000 m², making it the largest completely preserved medieval castle in Central Europe. The castle is the landmark of the city Salzburg.
Construction started in 1077. Over the centuries it got extended in various stages. It’s final extension started 1681, which added its current external bastions. The castle served as residence for the local Archbishops til 1800. After that it was used as barracks and prison. In 1861 is was abandoned as a military outpost and became a tourist hotspot soon after.
The castle was under siege at the peak of the peasant uprising between 5th of July til 31st of August 1525. Those days the city of Salzburg was completely surrounded and protected by strong town walls, which the besiegers could not overcome. The peasant uprising’s only option was to lay siege to Salzburg, cutting off it’s supplies until they were famished and forced to surrender.
The town major expected this strategy and ordered the people to strictly fast.
Nevertheless, the food run short…
One day there was only a single bull left to butcher and the famine was inevitable. However, the town major had an idea:
The next morning he had the bull brought onto the fortress walls where it was well visible to the besiegers. During the night, the bull was painted white and then again presented on the fortress’s walls the following morning. The legend tells that a black bull was seen on the fortress walls at the third morning…
The rebellious peasants who assumed the town was already starving now believed there were still plenty of provisions left in Salzburg. Assuming the siege was in vain, they simply moved on.
The people trapped behind the city walls were rejoicing. They brought the bull down to the river and washed it clean. And from that day on, the folks from the town Salzburg were referred to as “Stierwascher” (German for Bull-washer).
Let’s quickly talk about the City Salzburg: There’s a lot to discover in this little Austrian town beside fortress Hohensalzburg:
The historic town center is renowned for its baroque architecture – its a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can find 27 churches in the city and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born there.
Should you be in the mood of something sweet, try the “Salzburger Nockerl” (served in most restaurants) or the original “Sachertorte” (Sacher cake) which is available at Hotel Sacher only. Btw Sachertorte: It’s made and sold in most pastry shops, but if you want to have the original, then there’s only this one place to go…
For additional information, please have a look at Salzburg’s official website.
Next month, we’re going to take a look at the castle at Sigmaringen.
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