An afternoon at Hellbrunn Palace

Hellbrunn Palace on the southern outskirts of Salzburg is one of the TOP 10 sights in the city of Mozart. On a sunny Sunday afternoon in mid-August, Christoph and Andreas from Vienna and Selina and Lisa from Salzburg were out and about with on the extensive grounds of Hellbrunn.

Hellbrunn Palace was built between 1613 and 1615 by Prince Archbishop Markus Sittikus as a Mannerist pleasure palace – a Villa Suburbana based on the Italian model. Markus Sittikus lived in the residence in the city of Salzburg. In his time, he not only continued the planning of the new construction of Salzburg Cathedral but also built Hellbrunn Palace with its extensive parkland (approx. 60 hectares) at the gates of the city, which is now a listed building.

Enough work for eight gardeners

Here there are, among other things, extensive meadows, mannerist ornamental gardens, a Kneipp facility, the dahlia garden and ponds in which really big sturgeon and carp swim. A majestic complex. Today, the extensive castle park is tended all year round by eight full-time gardeners. You can see that – there is a lot of work. Work that makes the park an experience.

The fountains of Hellbrunn Palace are the best-preserved fountains of the late Renaissance in the world. They are a course of grottos, vaulted cellars, statues and ponds, with numerous moving figures and sculptured testimonies to the past. Everything works with water power. The water features are an ingenious system of pipes and jets – amazing what water power can move. Depending on where you are standing, it can get wet. In summer, as on our walk around Hellbrunn Palace, it was very refreshing.

The Roman Theatre (Theatron) frames the Prince’s Table. Markus Sittikus often received guests at the princely table. When he thought enough was enough, the water jets fixed in the seats were activated. Then every guest knew the party was over, because it got wet from below. Only the prince’s throne remained dry. One may imagine today what delicate situations took place there about 400 years before our time.

The castle served Markus Sittikus as an appropriate place to stay for summer losses of all kinds. In this summer residence, the archbishop received guests – and played all kinds of mischievous tricks on them. In the palace park he invited them to hunt, and in the fountains he surprised his guests with a splash. As prince archbishop, Markus Sittikus was also a man of life and a formative personality for Salzburg – in political, cultural and spiritual terms.

An afternoon at Hellbrunn Palace – traces from 400 years ago

Today, the traces of this can be seen in many ways in the castle. The interactive permanent exhibition “SchauLust – The Unexpected World of Markus Sittikus”, the multimedia installation on the carnival of 1618 or the music room with an oversized bow containing the music material of the opera L’Orfeo by Monteverdi are just as much witnesses of the times as the interactive revolving sofa, the replica of a historical globe from 1613, the room of transience and the larger-than-life unicorn. What awaits you is the unexpected. And the engagement with our history.

A visit to Hellbrunn Palace is an experience that broadens the horizon. The spacious grounds of the palace and park allow you to breathe a sigh of relief and get away from the sometimes very narrow-minded everyday life. Imagining how things might have been 400 years ago at Hellbrunn inspires the imagination. And leaves you with the feeling of having experienced a true holiday.

Thanks to Christoph and Andreas from Vienna, Selina and Lisa from Salzburg, photographer Carina and Olga from the Hellbrunn Palace administration. An afternoon at Hellbrunn Palace that was simply fun!

Hellbrunn Palace. From the main station in 25 minutes by bus line 25.

Published 26. August 2021Updated 25. June 2023
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