Gazing down from this fortress's rocky dolomite ledge toward the Salzach River below, you could definitely see an enemy approaching. The building crowns the Festungsberg and dominates the town of Salzburg. Besides being the means of defense, the prince-archbishops resided and ruled from here before they moved to the Residenz "downtown." To get here, visitors can hike up one of the paths or lanes that lead to the fortress, or they can walk from Kapitelplatz by way of Festungsgasse, or from the Mönchsberg via the Schartentor. There is also a funicular from Festungsgasse, at the station behind the cathedral. Advance tickets to the museum are available that include admission and the funicular ride. It took 600 years to build the castle, and a visit here reveals the varying tastes and purposes of the builders. The elegant state apartments, once the dwellings of the prince-archbishops and their courts, are on display. Note the coffered ceilings and intricate ironwork, and check out the early 16th-century porcelain stove in the Golden Room. This is the largest completely preserved castle left in central Europe. The Burgmuseum has a vast collection of medieval art, as well as plans and prints tracing the growth of Salzburg. Travelers who are not enticed by instruments of torture and unique Gothic artifacts can visit the fortress just for the views. From the Reck watchtower there's a panoramic sweep of the Alps, and from the Kuenberg bastion you can imagine the prince-archbishops blessing the domes and towers of Salzburg. It's enough to make you wonder why they moved into town.
- Maggie Childs