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The Salzburg Myth | second floor

Romantic transfiguration  – Sustainable economic concept

Salzburg a Myth? This has its roots in the early nineteenth century. On the one hand, painters, writers and scientists of the Romantic age propagated their exuberant feeling for the region around Salzburg throughout Europe, in pictures and texts. On the other hand, the political circumstances changed. The prince archbishops lost their power, Salzburg was incorporated into Austria – now the citizens themselves were able to shape public life.
The city and region of Salzburg invested with great success in tourism and culture; the population grew, the pressure for modernisation increased. This resulted in conflicting polarities between the desire to preserve historic building substance and natural landscape, and the need to adapt the city to the requirements of the time. 
Business concerns and politicians exploited the economic potential of the “Salzburg Myth” as a marketing magnet – at first for the “seasonal city”, later for its logical further development, the Festival City. 


Heaven and Earth in One Hand

The archbishops as absolutist rulers

The Baroque jewel that is Salzburg is marvelled at throughout the world. What brought this about? It is the work of the archbishops. For centuries they ruled with unlimited power over city and region, as heads of the Church and as secular sovereigns: “Heaven and Earth” were in one hand. Between 1520 and 1800, the prince archbishops modernised the law and administration. They burdened the population with taxes, yet excluded it from all political and economic decision-making processes. Unrest and riots amongst the citizens, countryfolk and miners were crushed. 
Using the rich economic resources of the region – salt, ore and wood – the archbishops transformed medieval Salzburg into a prestigious Baroque residence capital. This Baroque Salzburg was created within two centuries and is now a world heritage site and tourist magnet on which the prosperity of many of its citizens is based.

Curators: Mag. Peter Husty, Dr. Ernestine Hutter, Dr. Erhard Koppensteiner, Dr. Erich Marx, Dr. Gerhard Plasser, Dr. Nikolaus Schaffer, Mag. Urd Vaelske, Dr. Renate Wonisch-Langenfelder

Image gallery

Salzburg Museum