In order to understand the special character of Salzburg, one must begin by looking back in history: The city we have today was founded in the year 696 when St. Rupert arrived as a missionary and founded the Benedictine Monastery of St. Peter's, which is considered today to be the "Cradle of Salzburg". The area of Salzburg then developed into an independent church state, and was considered to be the "Rome of the North".
The sovereign rulers were the Prince Archbishops, they possessed spiritual as well as worldly powers and were responsible for building up the picturesque city that we have today. The old city lays testament to the power of the Archbishops, with its spacious squares, its quaint narrow streets, its numerous churches and monasteries, its impressive castles and palaces lying in expansive gardens and parks; it is a maze of unsquared corners, intriguing lanes, and curious steeples - all nestled between the Mönchsberg (monk's mountain) and the Salzach River.
Salzburg's unmistakable silhouette is dominated by the Fortress of Hohensalzburg, which has successfully guarded over the city for more than 900 years. Today, it is considered to be the best preserved Medieval Fortress in all of Central Europe, and offers visitors a chance to step back in time - to explore its numerous chambers or to relax and listen to the music that the city of Salzburg is so well known for. This note on Salzburg would not be complete without the mention of its breathtaking environs: azure glacial lakes, charming, timeless villages, luscious meadows, and the majestic Alps. An intriguing region with endless discovery and adventure possibilities