The Kapuzinerberg, at 636 m the highest elevation in the city, represents the northern end of the calcareous alps within the city limits. Formerly known as the "Imberg", the Kapuzinerberg has a long history: Settlements on the eastern slope towards the part of town known as Gnigl have been traced back to the Neolithic period and two settlement sites discovered above the Capuchin Monastery date back to around 1000 B.C. It is also assumed that one settlement site may have originated during the La Tène period.
During the Middle Ages a military tower built by the quarrelsome archbishops as part of a fortification system was located on the Kapuzinerberg on the site of the present Capuchin Monastery. The fortified structure was called the "Trompeterschlössl". When Prince Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau called the Capuchin monks to Salzburg in 1594 he decided to transform the Trompeterschlössl into a monastery and church in which to settle the order.
If one climbs the Kapuzinerberg from the Linzergasse the way is lined by six Baroque Stations of the Cross which were built by various Salzburg artists between 1736 and 1744. The graphic scenes and figures in the Passion Chapel document Christ´s Passion, culminating in a mightly crucifixion group on the mound. The "Felixpforte" or Felix Gate, commissioned to be built by Prince Archbishop Paris Lodron in 1632 is located half-way up and affords the wanderer the first magnificent view of the city. The other path to the monastery leads up the Imbergstiege past St. John´s Chapel. Both paths meet at the so-called "Kanzel" or pulpit, from which one can enjoy a breathtaking view over the city´s rooftops.
The monastery is built on a plateau and is of a simple, modest architecture in accordance with the rules of the order. Nevertheless, the Capuchin Monastery with the protruding bastion, the towering cross and the forest in the background is an imposing landmark which is clearly visible from afar. Like the fortress Hohensalzburg one can scarcely imagine the city without the monastery. Its inner portal with its late Gothic oak door, said to be a relic of the old Salzburg Cathedral, is an impressive piece of art. The interior of the monastery church is simple and quite appropriate for meditatio
The Capuchin monks led a quiet and undisturbed life on their mountain for many years. They were not banned from the premises until 1939 to 1945, when the monastery was to make way for a new festival hall, a "Gau" hall and a stadium. These plans, however, were not to materialize.
The wall on the Kapuzinerberg runs from the Felix Gate and surrounds the Capuchin Monastery, giving the impression of a double wall. The wall proceeds along the entire western, southern and eastern mountain slope, following the contours of the terrain.
The "Franziski Schlössl", originally designed by the Cathedral architect, Santino Solari, as a battlement, was built under Archbishop Paris Lodron in 1629 and is located on the northern end of the wall. A tavern was installed in 1849 and became a popular destination for excursions during the 19th century.
From 1919 to 1934 the "Paschinger Schlössl" located at Kapuzinerberg 5 was the residence of the famous writer, Stefan Zweig.
Stefan Zweig, born in Vienna in 1881, chose Salzburg as his residence because it was the perfect starting point for his many journeys and because his secluded house promised to provide undisturbed time for his work. Many prominent contemporaries were visitors to the "Stefan Zweig Villa": Thomas Mann, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Arthur Schnitzler, James Joyce, George Wells, Carl Zuckmayr, Franz Werfel and Hermann Bahr, just to name a few of Zweig´s many intellectual friends.
During his time in Salzburg the pacifist Zweig mainly wrote biographies (e.g. "Marie Antoinette", 1932), translated into many languages, and biographical essays (e.g. "Three Masters", 1920), through which he became world-famous. Stefan Zweig left for London in 1934 due to the political situation and only returned thereafter for short periods of time. In 1939 he moved from London to Bath and in 1941 on to Petropolis near Rio de Janeiro. Anxious about the future of his beloved Europe, he and his wife committed suicide in 1942.
Since 1983 the Zweig memorial beside the Capuchin Monastery commemorates the great writer and unshakable believer in Europe.