Dom zu Salzburg – Salzburg Cathedral
Glorious cathedral architecture
Salzburg Cathedral is an imposing example of monumental architecture from the days of the Early Baroque. Visitors are greeted by the magnificent main façade made of Untersberg marble. Four powerful statues look down upon you: the apostles Peter and Paul bearing a key and sword, as well as Salzburg’s two patron saints, Rupert and Virgil, holding a salt barrel and model of the church respectively. The two coats of arms at the top of the gable commemorate the two central figures behind the building of today’s cathedral, Markus Sittikus and Paris Lodron. The Cathedral Square, with a statue to the Virgin Mary, forms the atrium – serving annually as the imposing backdrop for performances of “Jedermann” during the Salzburg Festival, and for the beloved Christmas market.
The treasures of Salzburg Cathedral
The many treasures of this cathedral include a bronze baptismal font (1311) with lions at is base (1200), in which Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Joseph Mohr, the man who wrote the words for “Silent Night!”, were both christened. Other highlights include the resplendent main organ, the cathedral gates by Schneider-Manzell, Mataré and Manzú, as well as seven bells. In the Cathedral Museum you can gaze on other art treasures plucked from 1300 years of church history.
Salzburg Cathedral and its rulers
The history of Salzburg Cathedral is closely intertwined with that of its rulers, the prince-archbishops. The cathedral was destroyed by a number of fires, then rebuilt and expanded. The years displayed on the wrought-iron gates – 774, 1628 and 1959 – recall the three occasions the cathedral was consecrated.
Its medieval predecessors
The very first cathedral was built in 767 under bishop Virgil, subsequently consecrated to Saints Peter and Rupert in the year 774. After a fire in 1167, archbishop Konrad III had the cathedral rebuilt, now more magnificent than ever, with the work completed in just ten years: now the mightiest Romanesque minster north of the Alps. The remains of these two former churches can still be viewed in the cathedral crypt.
The early-baroque cathedral
Yet another fire destroyed major sections of the cathedral in 1598. Archbishop Wolf Dietrich was rather unfocused in tackling the rebuilding efforts. Only after his imprisonment and death was his successor Markus Sittikus able to complete the project. He commissioned Santino Solari to build the first example of Early Baroque sacred architecture north of the Alps. The new cathedral was finally consecrated by archbishop Paris Lodron in 1628. In 1944, an aircraft bomb damaged the dome as well as parts of the sanctuary. In 1959, Salzburg Cathedral was finally re-consecrated, now as magnificent as ever.
The cathedral seats approximately 900 worshippers.