Until 1816 Salzburg was a city-state, independent of the
Hapsburgs and ruled by powerful prince-archbishops. It is situated
on the northern border of Austria, 70 miles (113km) southeast of
Munich, in a picturesque setting surrounded by mountains. Mozart
was born here and the city's fascination with its most famous son
is best demonstrated during the Salzburg Festival, which presents
world-class performances of opera, drama and concerts each summer.
Even the non-musically minded will find it difficult to avoid
Mozart's impression on the town - his image is on every postcard
and chocolate box and both his birthplace and family house are now
museums offering detailed insight into his life and work.
The city is also the home town of Baroque and the south side of
the river is a Baroque masterpiece of charming churches, squares,
houses and fountains. The original buildings were cleared in the
late 1500s by Prince Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau in order
to create a 'German Rome'. All sights are within walking distance
from the spacious old city (Altstadt), which is now largely
pedestrianised. A few miles to the south of the city are the
historic towns of Hallein and Werfen and to the west are the lakes
of Salzberger, which are especially worth visiting during the
spring and summer when the wild flowers are out.