Art, history and ...
... of course a hint of literature
Quote of the week
One can run away from anything but oneself.
Back in Innsbruck and efforts to catch up with ‘work’ not done during my travels. This week I will still linger a while in Salzburg. I want to start by apologising for a spelling mistake about Mozart and the name of his sister. She was called Nannerl, and not Nunnery, as the automatic correction indicated.
Apart from our musical experience we managed to visit the fortress Hohensalzburg, lingering high on a hill, or cliff, casting its shadow over the city. Luckily, there is a funicular that takes you up the hill in no time at all. You have a marvellous view from all sides of the fortress, which began construction in 1077 by Archbishop Gebhard von Helfenstein. This was a time when Salzburg was ruled by archbishops. The fortress was continuously expanded through the centuries.
There are several museums inside. We particularly enjoyed the State rooms which were stunningly beautiful. They were built on the third floor by Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach in the end of the 15th century. Mostly used for representative occasions and festivities.
I went through this door to what once was the bedchamber. Although renovated through the years it still gives you a hint of the luxury of the past. A feature which must have been the hight of luxury at the time is the toilette hidden behind a door at the outer wall. I was so eager to see it, thought it was behind a door which was slightly open at the corner of the room. I could not see anything so stepped over the wooden, raised floor to walk up to the door where a sign said forbidden to go. I was not intending to go through the door, but when I stepped on the wooden panel the alarm was set off. Quite embarrassing I quickly stepped back on the floor. The guard courteously guided me to the door where the toilette was. It is what we in Sweden call an outdoor toilette, basically a hole in the floor with a wooden frame. Used already by the Romans.
The Dom Quartier museum is an interesting museum with a variety of exhibitions; galleries, the Dome, curiosity cabinet etc. Unfortunately, the state rooms were closed when we were there. A short visit to the catacombs at St. Peter’s Cemetery, built into the cliff that the fortress is built on. It is the oldest cemetery in Salzburg. It dates back to around 700 when the Abbey was established. Lots of stairs and small alleys to climb to see the two chapels built into the cliff.
At the entrance is the place for some of the more famous people buried here. Here lie Anna Maria (Nannerl) Mozart, the elder sister of Amadeus, and Michael Haydn, the younger brother of Joseph.
In search of Stefan Zweig
I had saved the best to the last day, that is, a visit to the house once owned by Stefan Zweig (1881 -1942). He was an Austrian author, and at the height of his career, one of the most popular writers in the world. He was a journalist and excelled not only in fiction but also as a biographer and playwright. He grew up in Vienna, and studied philosophy at the university there.
Between 1919 and 1934 Zweig lived in Salzburg, He bought a stately home known as the Paschinger Castle on Kapuzinerberg. The building dates back to the 17th century. He wrote a number of his most successful works here. He travelled extensively in Europe at the time, being involved in many cultural projects. In 1934, due to the Nazi Party’s rise in Germany, Zweig emigrated to England. He moved on to New York and then Brazil in 1940. At the time he was much disillusioned about the future of Europe. He wrote his last book and memoirs Die Welt von Gestern (The World of Yesterday) in 1942, shortly before he and his second wife Lotte committed suicide. The book looks at the declining years of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and has been called “the most famous book on the Habsburg Empire.” (Wikipedia and Giorgio Manacorda (2010) Nota bibliografica in Joseph Roth, La Marcia di Radetzky, Newton Classici quotation: "Stefan Zweig, l'autore del più famoso libro sull'Impero asburgico, Die Welt von Gestern.)
The house has been in private hands for some time and not accessible to the public. However, in 2020, a member of the Porsche family bought it, and in co-operation with the Zweig center, opened some of the rooms for a museum. A must visit for me, in other words. I had seen a picture of the house, a stately, pink house on the hill, and had located it by vision from the other side of the river.
We started the serpentine road up the hill. I would not say the road was vertical, but at least 80% was. It was really hard to try to walk up the road. Finally, up there, no signs to the house. I had to gather my breath before trying to find out where the house was. We were standing at a view-point over the city and surroundings. To the left were stairs leading down the hill to the city. A little bit further down, just below the monastery was a big, pink house, that looked liked the one I had seen. We started down the stairs, and I was thinking, that if we would have to go up again, I would not make it. Finally, down by the pink house, which was not anything like a museum. A private name at the door. Asking people passing by did not help. Nobody knew where the house was.
What don’t I do for literature? I did venture up the stairs again. Martin had already gone up, but I needed to stop every 10th step. IT WAS STEEP. And, it must have been far more than hundred steps. It felt as I could have ended up at the hospital with a heart condition. Once up on the hill again, having caught my breath, I saw Martin speak to someone from the monastery museum. It turned out that the house was situated just opposite the monastery. I had already taken a photo of that building which you could see over the garden area. But, the house was yellow?! And … it was closed for renovations. I was somewhat mad, since it said on line that the museum was open.
The pink house I had seen on-line was the Zweig center which is situated on the other side of the river. No time for a visit there, but one has to leave something for the next time. I do hope the house is open as well. We slowly took the stairs down again, and made it to our hotel to pick up the luggage.
Having had a quiet time here in Innsbruck after our busy days in Venice. We are planning for a tour with our van over Easter. We will go to a camping with a thermal bath in Bad Griesbach in Germany, close to the Austrian border. The temperatures will be rather low, but the hot water should make up for that.
Been rather quiet on my blog these last weeks. I read nine books in March, but have not written any reviews. I have two posts to show for those interested.
See you next week.