Austria: A tourist mecca (II)-A A +A
Saturday, January 12, 2013
LIZA, German Ilagan, Rey B. and I continue our AUSTRIA sightseeing to SALZBURG.
For many visitors, SALZBURG (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) represents the quintessential AUSTRIA, offering ornate architecture, mountain air, and the musical heritage of the city’s most renowned son, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. For centuries, SALZBURG was a proud state ruled by Archbishops who lavished great wealth and splendid architecture on the city sometimes called “Rome of the North” because of its many churches and cathedrals. Walking around, I was awed by breathtaking Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque artistry. It is famed for its old world glamour, made all the more striking by the majestic backdrop of snow-capped Alps. It is also one of the most popular “movie tourism” destinations in the world for one simple reason - “The Sound of Music”.
Upon crossing a footbridge into the Baroque City Center, we arrive at the CATHEDRAL PIAZZA where the stunning DOMKIRCHE (Dome Cathedral) and a baroque fountain are found. Another is the MOZART PIAZZA with the statue of Mozart. Among the picturesque streets and hidden byways of the Old City are quaint stores selling handicrafts and the famous Mozart-themed chocolates. There are more piazzas, palaces, pleasure gardens, and other churches to visit. And towering above it all is the breathtaking 900-year old fortress FESTUNG HOHENSALZBURG.
On another day we traveled to INNSBRUCK - a compact city cradled by towering mountains and nestled in the Alps encircled by ski resorts. We walk by the main artery MARIA-THERESIEN-STRASSE, famed for the view north towards the mountain range that dominates the city. Halfway along, the ANNASAULE (St. Anne’s Column), a column supporting a statue of the Virgin commemorates the retreat of the Bavarians, who had been menacing Tyrol in 1703.
At the plaza’s southern end is the GOLDENES DACHL, or “Golden Roof” (though the tiles are really copper), built in the 1490s to cover an oriel window from which the court of Emperor Maximilian could observe the piazza below. There are frescoes on the oriel and the terrace as well as coats-of-arms and reliefs. ST. JACOB CATHEDRAL has ceiling frescoes and stuccos by the Assam brothers, Lucas Cranach’s “Madonna”, the tomb of Archduke Maximilian III, is found inside.
The TRIUMPHFORTE (triumphal arch) was erected in 1765 on the occasion of the betrothal of the late Emperor Leopold II to Maria Ludovica. His father Emperor Francis I, died during the celebrations. One side of the arch symbolized the happy event of the wedding, the other side - the grief at the emperor’s death. Our mood was as gloomy as the rainy weather that day when we bid adieu to INNSBRUCK.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 12, 2013.