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     Day 19

    September 20 Tuesday


      We checked out of our apartment in Vienna at 8:30 A.M. and took the taxi back to our favorite train station.  The train left at 10:15 for Salzburg.  There weren’t many people in our car. 

    It was a fast train, traveling sometime at 135 mph. (On map Vienna F , Salzburg G) We arrived in Salzburg at 1:00 P.M., found a Burger King in the train station.  In all the cities we have found many, many McDonald’s and Burger Kings.  They are all large and well decorated.  McDonalds always has a special section called McCafe, and they sell delicious looking pastries and gourmet coffee.

    We took a taxi to our hotel – the Sacher Hotel. It is a luxury hotel right on the river looking towards the old town. Our room is nice size but a come down over the amount of space that we had in our apartments which were all a lot less expensive.  We could have put five of these rooms in our apartment in the Prague Palace.  

    We walked across the bridge to the old town and visited three old churches. 


    The history of this church dates back to the early 12th century.  The pillage of 1167 made a new building necessary at the beginning of the 13th century. The nave still exists today and is much different from the Baroque chancel area.    In the first quarter of the 15th century, work on the new Baroque hall chancel was begun under the direction of Hans von Burghausen, the most important building master of the Bavarian Late Gothic architecture.

    The west façade was very plan, and because of the narrowness of the street, it was impossible to get a full photo.  Upon entering the nave, which is the original part, it appears dark and narrow.  At the end one can see the brightness of the chancel area, called the hall chancel, which is very Baroque. 

      Surrounding the main altar is an ambulatory which contain a number of small Baroque chapels.  The carved main altar which dates to 1498 contains a statue of the Madonna.  Most impressive is the ceiling with many complex vaults support by narrow columns.  It was a most impressive church.  On one of the pillars there were remains of the original paintings which were typical of early church columns.


    Next we walked into a large courtyard with the Abbey Church of St. Peter at the far side.  The founding of the monastery and the erection of a church to St. Peter is due to St. Rupert who came to Salzburg in 696 (more about St. Rupert in my comments about the cathedral – the next church we visited).  After the fire in the city in 1127, Abbot Balderich commissioned the rebuilding of the Romanesque church  (1130-1143) as a three-aisled, flat roofed basilica which still defines the architecture of the church today.   The church was vaulted and domed between 1753 and 1785.  Later it was redesigned in the Baroque style.

    The entrance to the church is through the tower with its onion dome.  Each side of the entrance is flanked by a chapel.  Upon entering the nave, we saw a highly decorated Baroque/Rococo style.  The side aisle on the south side has been extended by a series of Baroque chapels.  The walls and vault are stucco from the late rococo period.  Along the side there are 16 marble altars with paintings of a style reminiscent of Rembrandt.  The high altar, designed by Lorenz Hormbler, was erected in 1777.  The painting over the altar shows “The intercession of St. Peter, Paul, and Benedict before the Mother God.”


    The city of Salzburg was founded only a few decades after the birth of Christ, and Christianity established itself in Salzburg at an early stage.  In 693 the Agilolfingian Duke Theodo sent Bishop Hrodbertus (Rupert) of Worms to reform Bavarian Christianity. Rupert returned to Worms in 714.   In 739 the bishopric of Salzburg was established by St. Boniface.  The Irish monk and scholar “Fergil” (Vergilius), who was abbot of St. Peter’s monastery and also a bishop, was put in charge of the diocese.  It was Virgil who was responsible for the building of the first cathedral.  It was one of the largest cathedrals in the Franconian Empire in the 8th century.

    It was through the efforts of St. Virgil that the bones of St. Rupert were moved to the new cathedral when it was consecrated in 774.  Over the centuries this building was often restored, rebuilt and extended following several fires and the pillaging of 1167.    In 1181 Archbishop Konrad III began a Late Romanesque rebuilding with a five-aisled basilica of massive dimensions.  Following the fire of 1598 and the collapse of the vaults, the cathedral was completely demolished. The Archbishop commissioned a student of Palladio to design a completely new building, but this did not transpire for several more years. In 1614 the foundation of the new cathedral was laid and the not-finished cathedral was dedicated in 1628 to Sts Rupert and Virgil.   Then in 1944 the cathedral suffered severe damage, including the collapse of the dome,  during World War II.   It was restored again in 1959.

    The three story façade is flanked by twin towers extending to another story. The body of the church is made from a dark grey conglomerate with bright Utersberg marble used for the ornamentations and the façade .  The three high round arches at the entrance are flanked by statues of Sts Rupert, Virgil, Peter and Paul.

    The interior is a wide, barrel-vaulted hall with five bays.  There are four side chapels.  It was very light due to the clear windows and a massive dome.  On the high altar is a painting of the Resurrection by Mascagni.  The top section of the altar is flanked by St. Rupert with a salt cellar and St. Virgil with a model of the cathedral.  Maybe St. Virgil was one of first cathedral modeler using stone instead of paper!

    On each of the four dome pillars hangs a small organ.  In fact the cathedral has six organs.  A wonderful baptismal font is located in the first chapel on the left (north side).  Four lions of almost pure copper,made in the 12th century, support the font. It reminded us of the lions support the fountain in the Alhambra in Spain.  The pewter basin dates from 1321.  The chapel has a beautiful ceiling. 

    My wife’s knee was hurting (she had knee surgery the previous year), so we came back to the hotel and had drinks at the very attractive hotel bar. Drinks always help with knee pain!  Then we went back out for our dinner to what had been part of St. Peter’s monastery, a restaurant called Stifitskeler St. Peter.  It is supposed to be the oldest restaurant in Austria dating back to 803.  We ordered Tafelspitz which is beef that has been boiled all day.  We order it for 2.  It comes in a metal pot with a lot of broth.  There is a separate bowl of fried potatoes and a bowl of creamed spinach.  It was delicious.  We finished with a sinful looking cake with apricots.  

    The weather is still cold, but it didn’t rain today.  They said that the surrounding mountains got 10 inches of snow yesterday.  Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and in the 70’s.   My red sweater sure felt good under my jacket today. 

    Next Day

    Day 1 - Berlin

    Day 2 - Berlin

    Day 3 - Berlin

    Day 4 - Berlin

    Day 5 - Berlin - Potsdam

    Day 6 - Dresden

    Day 7 - Dresden

    Day 8 - Prague

    Day 9 - Prague - Kutna Hora

    Day 10 - Prague

    Day 11 - Brno

    Day 12 - Budapest

    Day 13 - Budapest

    Day 14 - Budapest

    Day 15 - Vienna

    Day 16 - Vienna

    Day 17 - Vienna - Melk Abbey

    Day 18 - Vienna

    Day 19 - Salzburg

    Day 20 - Salzburg

    Day 21 - Salzburg