Baroque Authority – Baroque Glory
The Salzburg Cathedral and Residenz Palace create the historical centre of the city of Salzburg. For 200 years, the passages between the prince archbishop’s palace, the cathedral oratories as well as the cabinet of art and painting galleries were either closed or walled off. With the creation of the DomQuartier, the original unit of the cathedral and palace complex – including St. Peter’s Benedictine monastery – has now been restored. A tour makes it possible to get new views of the city as well as unfamiliar insight into the architectural sights and Baroque treasures. With this, 134 doors opened to 2,000 exhibits from 1,300 years of art and cultural history on 15,000 square metres.
The worldly and religious powers of Salzburg’s prince archbishops manifest themselves in this unique architectural highlight. Since the middle ages, they ruled over worldly concerns as princes and directed the history of the church as archbishops and metropolitans. They began more than 400 years ago to transform this wealthy city into a Baroque jewel based on Italian style. For this, they fetched the most prominent architects of their time to Salzburg. They created a city planning masterpiece that is treasured and protected today as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The tour through the DomQuartier goes back to Prince Archbishop Guidobald von Thun. He was one of the most important builders of Baroque Salzburg. During his 14-year rule (1654–1668), he shaped the city incredibly. He ordered the construction of the cathedral archways, organised the design of the Residenzplatz (Residence Square) and Domplatz (Cathedral Square) and also built an art gallery – today’s Long Gallery at St. Peter’s Abbey. With this, he also created the connection pathways between the cathedral and palace, as well as to St. Peter’s. After the dissolution of Salzburg’s archbishopric in 1803, the unity between the cathedral and Residenz palace was lost. Now, after 200 years, it has been reconstructed once more.
The Tour de Baroque through the DomQuartier takes visitors first through the state rooms of the Salzburg Residenz Palace, home to the prince archbishops’ living quarters and official seat. Opulent interiors, extravagant stucco and superb ceiling frescoes are witnesses to the mission of the rulers to present themselves in a magnificent way. Continue to the Residence Gallery, home to European paintings from the 16th to 19th centuries with a clear focus on Baroque.
The following cathedral archways terrace connects the worldly with the spiritual: the Cathedral. About 400 years ago on 14 April 1614, Archbishop Marcus Sitticus von Hohenems laid the cornerstone of this Baroque cathedral. It was consecrated in 1628 by his successor Paris Lodron. The cathedral archways terrace – to some extent between heaven and earth – provides beautiful, unparalleled views of the city.
Structurally returned to its original state, the North Oratory of the Salzburg Cathedral will host changing special exhibitions in the future. First up is the Salzburg Museum with its Rossacher Collection. The organ gallery, which is home to an impressive view into the cathedral, opens the path to the Cathedral Museum, cabinet of art and Long Gallery, as well as the Museum of St. Peter in the newly adapted “Wallistrakt” wing. After a view into the Gothic chancel of the Franciscan Church, the tour ends in the stately Carabinieri Hall of the Residenz Palace.
Hand in hand with the development of the DomQuartier as a structural and functional unit is that of the rich cultural heritage that dates back to the 8th century when Salzburg was Christianised. Even though the secularisation of Salzburg saw many valuable artistic pieces leave the country, the collection of the participating institutions can be seen today.
In addition to the works of art from the Residence Gallery, Cathedral Museum and Salzburg Museum, St. Peter"s Abbey presents its valuable treasures in one permanent museum – built just for this purpose. The St. Peter Benedictine monastery, located adjacent to the cathedral-residence complex, is considered the oldest continuously existing monastery in the German-speaking world and has made significant contributions to the development of Salzburg’s cultural and spiritual life. The abbey boasts an art collection with an estimated 40,000 pieces. The most beautiful pieces are displayed in the newly founded Museum of St. Peter for the first time since 1982.
With the creation of the DomQuartier, a synopsis of 1,300 years of power, art and church history is brought to life thanks to 2,000 exhibits – embedded in the distinct architecture of a unique complex in Europe.
One tour, one ticket, one experience