The medieval bishops residence was given todays magnificent early Baroque appearance at the end of the 16th century. Open to the public: the State Rooms of the Residenz - formerly used by Salzburgs prince archbishops as reception rooms and living quarters - as well as the Residenz Gallery with its fabulous collection of paintings by European artists of the 16th - 19th centuries. The building referred to as the New Building of the Residenz is located across from the Residenz.
Salzburgs Residenz, situated in the heart of the city, is an extensive complex of buildings, containing some 180 rooms and three spacious courtyards. Here the the prince archbishops of Salzburg held court and controlled the destiny of their country up to the 19th century. The prince archbishops continued to add on to their palace for centuries. The building sustained substantial structural changes under Prince Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau (1587 - 1612). The Residenz, used to entertain the important guests of the prince archbishops for many centuries, continues to serve in that function. In recent decades it has seen crowned heads, political leaders and prominent figureheads. In 1867 Emperor Franz Josef I and his wife Elisabeth welcomed the French Emperor Napoleon III and his wife Eugénie for an official visit over a period of several days at the former archiepiscopal court.
Today the Residenz is the venue for official receptions, meetings and international conventions. The Residenz is entered from Residenz Square through a large marble portal bearing the coat of arms of the prince archbishops Wolf Dietrich, Paris Lodron and Franz Anton Harrachs. The wide main staircase leads up to the Carabinierisaal. This hall was built around 1600 under Wolf Dietrich and is named after the prince archbishops bodyguards. The hall was not only used by the bodyguards but also as a theater and banquet hall.
The adjoining state rooms, used by the former prince bishops for court ceremonies, were redecorated under Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt at the beginning of the 18th century. The ceiling frescoes are the work of Michael Rottmayr and Martino Altomonte.
The prince bishops often invited guests to a concert performance in the Rittersaal. Young Mozart also played regularly at the Salzburg Residenz. At that time his father was in the archbishops service as the director of the cathedral orchestra. Today concerts (Salzburg Palace Concerts) are still performed in this hall because of its excellent acoustics.
On May 1,1816 Emperor Franz I administered the oath of allegiance to the Salzburg trades in this room. That was the beginning of Salzburgs affiliation to Austria. His fourth wife, Caroline Auguste, came to Salzburg during the summer for almost thirty years and stayed at the Residenz. She was also one of the greatest promoters of Salzburgs Carolino Augusteum Museum which was named after her.
Other halls in the Residenz are the Conference Room or Ratszimmer (Councillors Room), where Mozart performed his first court concert at the age of six, the Antecamera, the Audience Hall, the most magnificent hall of the Residenz and the most dominating of the archiepiscopal state rooms, symbolizing the power and the magnitude of the ecclesiastical and secular principality and its absolutistic administration. Also noteworthy are the Arbeitszimmer (Study), the Schreibzimmer and Schatullenzimmer (Writing Room and Privy Room), the Bedroom, the Gallery (cornerstone for the present-day Residence Gallery), the Throne Room, the White Hall or Markus Sittikus Hall, the Green Room and the Emperors Hall, formerly called the Emperors Chamber, adorned by portraits of the kings and emperors of the Habsburg Dynasty. A corrider directly connects the Emperors Hall with the mighty late Gothic choir of the Franciscan Church. Wolf Dietrich used this corrider to reach the private apartments of the Residenz where his mistress, Salome Alt, and the children lived.
Today, several characteristic sections of the archiepiscopal palace are part of Salzburg s Paris Lodron University. The so-called Toscana Wing to the north is the seat of the University of Salzburgs Faculty for Jurisprudence. During the renovation of the Toscana Wing important structures were unearthed and significant archeological findings discovered, providing scientists with valuable information about Medieval Salzburg.
It is surrounded by the Cathedral, the Residenz, the New Building of the Residenz with its Glockenspiel (carillon), St. Michaels Church and residents houses with their intact medieval shells.
The monumental Residenz Fountain in the middle of the square is the largest Baroque fountain north of the Alps. Archbishop Guidobald Graf Thun had the fountain erected between 1656 and 1661 under the direction of Antonio Dario. The sculptures are attributed to Tommaso, an artist who also sculpted the figures for the Cathedral façade. The artist is generally assumed to have been Tommaso di Garona.