Saturday, June 16, 2018

Salzburg and the Sound of Music

Salzburg is a city of churches and beautiful town squares.

From the 1300's until the early 1800's it was an autonomous city ruled by Bishop-Princes who controlled both the religious and secular parts of life.  They also built beautiful residences and countless churches.

However, in the early 1800's, as a result of a command by Napoleon, the autonomous city became part of Bavaria.

Mozart was born and lived here until his early death at the age of 35.

The popular Mozartkugel, a ball of chocolate with a marzipan center, was first made in Salzburg.  Even today they are still handmade here, although mass produced in other European cities.  You can't come to Salzburg without trying one.

Another sweet you must try is a unique version of meringue, served in the form of three mountain peaks.  We lunched in St. Peter's Restaurant and tried them after some wonderful schnitzel.  They were divine.

The Alps have their beginning in Salzburg.  On one of the hills, a large medieval defensive fortresses from the 11th century, one of the largest in Europe, stands guard over the city.

To walk the city is a fine way to discover its fine examples of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Modern architecture.

However, what most tourists, of which there are many, identify with the city is the 1965 movie The Sound of Music.

Set in Salzburg during the run up to WWII, it uses some of the existing sites in and around the city as background for the movie:  the cemetery of St. Peter's, the beautiful gardens across the Danube from the city, the historic Benedictine Abbey and the Salzburg Music Festival, to name a few.

However,it must be remembered that the movie, though based on fact, is not always accurate.

For example, Maria and Captain von Trapp were married in the late 1920's and not the late 1930's.  And, they did not walk over the Alps to Switzerland, hundreds of miles away.  The took the train to Italy and from there proceeded to the U.S.

A beloved movie almost world wide, the movie remains widely unknown, except by tour guides, in German speaking countries.  Made only twenty years after the end of the war, memories were fresh and the depiction of Nazis unappreciated.

It remains unknown to this day.  Ironic.

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