Salzburg Cathedral

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Salzburg Cathedral
Cathedral of Saint Rupert and Saint Vergilius
Salzburg Cathedral 1.jpg
Salzburg Cathedral
Salzburg Cathedral is located in Austria
Salzburg Cathedral
Shown within Austria
Basic information
Location Salzburg, Austria
Geographic coordinates 47°47′53″N 13°02′45″E / 47.798056°N 13.045833°E / 47.798056; 13.045833Coordinates: 47°47′53″N 13°02′45″E / 47.798056°N 13.045833°E / 47.798056; 13.045833
Affiliation Catholic Church
State Salzburg
Year consecrated 1628
Ecclesiastical or organizational status Active
Leadership Archbishop Dr. Alois Kothgasser
Architectural description
Architect(s) Santino Solari
Architectural style Baroque
Founder Saint Rupert of Salzburg
Groundbreaking 1614
Completed 1628

Salzburg Cathedral (German: Salzburger Dom) is the seventeenth-century Baroque cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Salzburg in the city of Salzburg, Austria, dedicated to Saint Rupert and Saint Vergilius.[1] Founded by Saint Rupert in 774 on the remnants of a Roman town, the cathedral was rebuilt in 1181 after a fire.[2] In the seventeenth century, the cathedral was completely rebuilt in the Baroque style under Prince-Bishop Wolf Dietrich Raitenau to its present appearance.[2] Salzburg Cathedral still contains the baptismal font in which composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was baptized.[3]


The first cathedral was built under Saint Vergilius of Salzburg, who might have used foundations by St. Rupert. The first Dom was recorded in 774. The so-called Virgil Dom was built from 767 to 774 and was 66 metres long and 33 metres wide.

Archbishop Arno (785 – 821) was the first to arrange renovations of the Dom, which was in place for less than 70 years. In 842, the building burned down after being struck by lightning. Three years later, the re-erection of the building started.

Under Archbishop Hartwig, a choir with a crypt was built towards West between 1000 and 1080. Under Archbishop Konrad I., the West-towers were built from 1106 to 1147.

This original church thus experienced at least three extensive building and rebuilding campaigns during the early Middle Ages, the final result of which was a somewhat ad hoc Romanesque basilica. In 1598, the basilica was severely damaged, and after several failed attempts at restoration and reconstruction, the building was finally ordered to be demolished by Prince-Bishop Wolf Dietrich Raitenau (Archbishop from 1587–1612). Wolf Dietrich was a patron and supporter of modern Italian Baroque architecture, having seen it from its origins in Italy and particularly Rome. Indeed, it was Wolf Dietrich who was also responsible for the building of the nearby Alten Residenz, which is today connected to the cathedral.

Salzburg Cathedral

Wolf Dietrich hired the Italian architect Vincenzo Scamozzi to prepare a plan for a comprehensive new Baroque building. Construction did not begin however until Wolf Dietrich's successor, Mark Sittich von Hohenems (Archbishop from 1612–19), in 1614 laid the cornerstone of the new cathedral. The present cathedral, designed by Santino Solari, who fundamentally changed the original Scamozzi plan was completed remarkably in less than 15 years, being finished by 1628. At its consecration on September 24, 1628, 12 choirs positioned in the marble galleries of the cathedral sang a Te Deum (the score of which is since lost) composed by Stefano Bernardi, the Kapellmeister to the Salzburg court. The present Salzburg Cathedral is built partially upon the foundations of the old basilica. Indeed, the foundation stones of the preceding church building may be seen in the Domgrabungen, an excavation site under the cathedral that also features mosaics and other artifacts found here when this location was the forum of the Roman city Juvavum. One other surviving relic that predates the baroque edifice is the 14th Century Gothic baptismal font. The relics of Saint Rupert were transferred here when the cathedral was completed.[4]

The finished church is 466 feet long and 109 feet high at the crossing/dome.[5] The baroque style of St. Rupert's can be seen in the choir and the nave.

The Salzburg Cathedral was damaged during World War II when a single bomb crashed through the central dome over the crossing. Repairs were somewhat slow to take place, but restoration was complete by 1959.


Salzburg Cathedral from the Hohensalzburg fortress

Salzburg Cathedral is located adjacent to Residenzplatz and Domplatz in the Altstadt (Old Town) area of the city. The Domplatz is accessed by three open arcade arches in the north, south, and west. These "cathedral arches" unite the cathedral with the Salzburg Residenz and St. Peter's Abbey to form a unique self-contained square.[6]

The Domplatz is dominated by the Maria Immaculata (Immaculate Mary) column, commissioned by Archbishop Sigismund von Schrattenbach and executed by the brothers Wolfgang and Johann-Baptist Hagenauer between 1766 and 1771.[6] Modeled after similar columns in Vienna and Munich and constructed of marble and cast iron, the Maria Immaculata depicts the Virgin Mary enthroned on a mountain of clouds made of Untersberg marble and a globe.[7] The central Marian figure is surrounded on four sides by allegoric figures representing angels, the devil, wisdom, and the Church.[7] According to a plaque on the side of the cathedral, the figure group shows reactions to the mystery of the Immaculate Conception—the angels are delighted, human wisdom vanishes, the envious devil growls, and the triumphant Church rejoices.[7] When viewed from the center of the arcades at the back of Domplatz, the classicist column is positioned in the central axis of the cathedral and shows the central Marian figure surrounded by the angels on the cathedral façade and seems to wear the crown mounted on the building.[7]

The body of the church is made of dark grey conglomerate; the ornamentation and façade are made of bright Untersberg marble.[6] The richly decorated façade is framed by two towers and a curved gable. The north tower houses an old oven used for baking communion bread.[6] The façade is divided into three horizontal sections.[8] The lower section has three high round arches or portals that provide access to three bronze doors.[6] The portals are flanked by four large sculpted figures representing the diocesean and cathedral patrons. The mitred figures of Saint Rupert holding a salt barrel and Saint Virgilius holding a church were created c. 1660 by Bartholomäus van Opstal. The inside figures or Saint Peter holding keys and Saint Paul holding a sword were sculpted c. 1697 by Bernhard Michael Mandl, who also created all the pedestals.[6][8] The bases bear the coats of arms of the Prince Archbishop Guidobald von Thun and Prince Archbishop Johann Ernst von Thun.[8]

The central section of the façade contains statues of the four evangelists—Saint Matthew, Saint Mark, Saint Luke, and Saint John—and represent the salvation offered through their preaching.[9] The mantelpieces over the central windows contain a lion and an ibex, the animals depicted in the coats of arms above, and a golden crown that aligns with the Marien column in the Domplatz.[8] The top section tympanum bears the coats of arms of the builders of the cathedral, Markus Sittikus and Paris Londron.[9] The figure group on the pediment represents the Transfiguration of Jesus on Mount Tabor, showing Christ as Salvator Mundi, with Moses holding the tablets on the left and the prophet Elijah to the right.[9] The three statues were created in 1660 by Tommaso di Garona, the mason who built the Residenz Fountain.[8]

The three bronze gates inside the portals were erected in 1957 and 1958 and represent the three divine virtues (Göttliche Tugenden) of faith, hope, and love.[9] The Tor des Glaubens (gate of faith) on the left was created by Toni Schneider-Manzell, the central Tor der Liebe (gate of love) was created by Giacomo Manz, and the Tor der Hoffnung (gate of hope) on the right was created by Ewald Matare.[8][9]


The oldest bells in the cathedral are the Marienglocke and theVirgilglocke, which were both cast in 1628.

On 24 September 1961, 5 new bells were added. The Salvator bell of the cathedral is the 2nd largest bell in Austria, after the Pummerin bell in Vienna Cathedral.

[anm. 1]
1 Salvator 1961 Robert Schwindt und Ing. Georg Sippel
(Glockengießerei Oberascher)
2790 14256 es0 +4 Nord [„Dich, Gott, loben wir, Dich Herr, preisen wir, Dich, den Vater unermessbarer Majestät, Deinen wahren und einzigen Sohn und den Heiligen Fürsprecher Geist. Wir loben in Ewigkeit Deinen Namen.“]
2 Rupertus 1961 Robert Schwindt und Ing. Georg Sippel
(Glockengießerei Oberascher)
2330 8273 ges0 +4 Süd „Heiliger Rupertus, Schutzpatron unserer Erzdiözese, erhalte uns den Glauben!“
3 Maria 1628 Wolfgang und Johann Neidhart 1830 4004 b0 +4 Süd [„Heilige Maria, Pforte des Himmels, öffne deine Hilfen den Flehenden und halte alle Angriffe des widerwärtigen Feindes fern beim Klange dieses Metalles, das deinem glorreichen Namen geweiht hat Paris aus dem Geschlecht derer von Lodron, Erzbischof und Fürst von Salzburg im Jahre des Heiles 1628.“]
4 Josef 1961 Robert Schwindt und Ing. Georg Sippel
(Glockengießerei Oberascher)
1560 2517 des1 +4 Süd „Sankt Josef ist von Gott ersehn, das Werkvolk zu beschirmen. Das unbesiegt es möge stehen, in aller Zeiten Stürmen.“
5 Virgil 1628 Wolfgang und Johann Neidhart 1360 1648 es1 +4 Süd [„Hl. Rupert, Lehrer und getreuester Patron! Damit du für deine Herde die Ohren Gottes fleißig bestürmst und Pest, Hunger, Krieg und die Nachstellungen des Erzfeindes vertreibst, ließ diese Glocke dir weihen Paris aus dem Geschlecht derer von Lodron, Erzbischof und Fürst von Salzburg, im Jahre des Heiles 1628.“]
6 Leonhard 1961 Robert Schwindt und Ing. Georg Sippel
(Glockengießerei Oberascher)
1190 1025 ges1 +4 Süd „Gott schütze die Salzburger Bauernschaft.“
7 Barbara 1961 Robert Schwindt und Ing. Georg Sippel
(Glockengießerei Oberascher)
1040 715 as1 +4 Süd „Heilige Barbara, Patronin der Sterbenden, bitte für uns!“



  1. ^ Friedrich 2007, p. 4.
  2. ^ a b Parsons 2000, p. 307.
  3. ^ Davenport 1932, p. 3.
  4. ^ Butler 2003, p. 139.
  5. ^ Baedeker's Handbook for Travellers in Southern Germany (1914) p.182
  6. ^ a b c d e f Friedrich 2007, p. 6.
  7. ^ a b c d "Domplatz & Marienstatue". Retrieved 9 April 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f "Salzburg Cathedral". Retrieved 10 April 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c d e Friedrich 2007, p. 7.
  • Bousfield, Jonathan; Humphreys, Rob (2001). The Rough Guide to Austria. London: Rough Guides. ISBN 978-1858280592. 
  • Butler, Alban (2003). Paul Burns, ed. Butler's Lives of the Saints. Collegeville: Liturgical Press. ISBN 978-0814629031. 
  • Davenport, Marcia (1932). Mozart. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. ISBN 978-0880291248. 
  • Friedrich, Verena (2007). Salzburg Cathedral. Passau: Kunstverlag Peda. ISBN 978-3-89643-674-0. 
  • Maier, Dieter (1998). Insight Guide Austria. Singapore: APA Publications. ISBN 978-0887296109. 
  • Parsons, Nicholas T. (2000). Blue Guide Austria (Fourth ed.). London: A & C Black Publishers Ltd. ISBN 978-0393320176. 
  • Schulte-Peevers, Andrea (2007). Alison Coupe, ed. Michelin Green Guide Austria. London: Michelin Travel & Lifestyle. ISBN 978-2067123250. 


  1. ^ Die Nummerierung der Glocken am Salzburger Dom erfolgt entgegen der Norm, der größten Glocke die N0. 1 zuzuordnen.

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