June 2, 2010
The Salzburg Cathedral was one of the first Baroque buildings to be built north of the Alps. It was consecrated in 1628 during the Thirty Year’s War.
Experts differ on why it was built. Some believe it was to emphasize Salzburg’s commitment to the Roman Catholic church. Others believe it was to show that there could be a peaceful alternative to the religious strife that was spreading across Europe at the time.
Prince Archbishop Wolf Dietrich was technically at the top of the papal offices in the north of the Alps, but the city managed to steer clear of the religious war. With its rich salt production at Hallein, it had enough money to stay out of the conflict and carefully maintain its independence.
In 1959, a partial reconstruction was completed after a World War II bomb destroyed the dome. The statue of Mary, completed in 1771, is looking away from the church, welcoming visitors.
Inside the cathedral, one is drawn toward the resurrected Christ by the brightly lit area under the dome. The beautiful ceiling fresco of the Passion looms overhead. Under the dome, we are surrounded by the tombs of 10 archbishops from the 17th century. In the four balconies there are organs, which when played simultaneously, create a glorious surround-sound experience. Mozart was the organist here for two years, and he was baptized here. His middle name Amadeus means “beloved by God”.
Built in just 14 years between 1614 and 1628, the church boasts the most harmonious architecture in Austria. When Pope John Paul the second visited in 1998, some 5000 people filled the cathedral, which is 330 feet long and 230 feet tall.
Video from our visit: