Hellbrunn Palace

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Hellbrunn Palace
The castle from the Roman theater

Hellbrunn Palace, located in the city of Salzburg, is a Mannerist pleasure palace built in the early 17th century with well-known water features in the palace garden of the same name and in the landscape garden of the same name or south of the Morzg district . The palace is lined with extensive landscaped parks. Part of the historic palace park is now used by the Salzburg Zoo . The entire complex including the horticultural monuments is under monument protection .

The lock

Hellbrunn Palace with the water parterre

Markus Sittikus von Hohenems was elected Prince Archbishop of Salzburg in 1612 . From 1613 to 1615 he built a villa suburbana based on the Italian model at the gates of the city of Salzburg, incorporating a late Gothic aristocratic residence . The architect was Santino Solari , who had also been commissioned to build the new Salzburg Cathedral . The ballroom is richly painted on the walls and the vaulted ceiling with allegorical representations (most likely by Donato Arsenio Mascagni ). Also noteworthy are the octagon with its social and music scenes, as well as the fish room, bird room and corner room. Outbuildings are symmetrically arranged around the closed courtyard. The castle forms together with the access road from the east, i. H. the east portal and the Fürstenweg (today crossing the Alpine road) a castle axis that extends far into the landscape.

The water features

Ballroom in the castle

The world's best preserved late renaissance fountains with numerous water jokes and various moving figures as well as numerous grottos adorned with sculptures can be admired here: the theatrum (Roman theater) with the princely table and pond, the Orpheus grotto, the wine cellar, the star pond including the Altembs fountain with Perseus, the Neptune grotto (rain grotto), the mirror, shell, bird song and ruins grotto (in the castle), the Venus grotto, fools and wild boar statues, the ibex grotto and the fountain of the goddess Diana, the Mydas and crown grotto and the Neptune fountain. From 1749 to 1752, under Archbishop Andreas Jakob von Dietrichstein , the artistic " Mechanical Theater " was added to the old water features .

Hellbrunn Gardens

The Hellbrunn Gardens are among the most important garden architectural monuments in Austria and are under monument protection ( No. 41 in the appendix to Section 1, Paragraph 12 of the DMSG ). The entire Hellbrunn facility is located in the Salzburg-Süd landscape conservation area ( LSG 52 , 1147 ha). It also forms an important part of the green belt for the Salzburg metropolitan area .

The mannerist ornamental garden

The spacious, ornamental gardens of the "Wasserparterre" are freely accessible. This ornamental garden forms a landscape axis with the Fichtenallee, which is oriented over the Salzach to the Goldenstein Castle . It consists of a geometrically designed main pond with a central island, which is the central focus of the park and on which a strawberry mountain originally rose. Two more water basins (ponds) are symmetrically designed on both sides of this pond. Various statues, box ornaments and architecturally trimmed tree-lined avenues enrich the original mannerist, geometrical pleasure garden, which was redesigned in the baroque period and in some cases also in a later period.

The hunting garden and the Hellbrunn mountain

See also the main article Hellbrunner Berg

Here are today

  • the large meadows east of the mountain, which were part of the prince-archbishop's hunting gate until 1800,
    • with the adjacent lawn,
    • the children's playground
    • and the Kneipp facility
  • as well as the Hellbrunn mountain
    • with the monthly castle
    • and the stone theater.

The Monatsschlössl (originally Waldems-castle called) was built in 1615 and overlooks the Hellbrunner mountain on the center of the ornamental garden. Today the Salzburg Folklore Museum is located in this little castle . The wild and romantic stone theater on Hellbrunnerberg, carved entirely into the conglomerate rock, is unique. Here in 1617 (after a performance in the old Salzburg residence), the Pastorale Orfeo was probably the first opera performance north of the Alps.

The sacred garden

As a counterpoint to the princely splendid pleasure garden (laid out in the very north of the park), the archbishop built a sacred wilderness garden above the Alterbach in the spirit of the Capuchin order of St. Francis or in the spirit of his uncle, St. Carlo Borromeo in the form of a Calvary, in which there were also various sculptures of hermits (who worshiped the Calvary chapels) and an inhabited hermitage. The wilderness as a contrast to the feudal, lavish pleasure garden is intended to symbolize the natural divine creation. The prayer should not be disturbed by worldly pomp. Only a few foundations of these sacred monuments have survived today. However, the natural wilderness garden around the Anifer Alterbach has been preserved as an independent part of the historic castle park. Large parts of the sacred garden are now part of the Hellbrunn zoo area , which, especially with the spacious open-air facilities at the south end of the park, make use of the old stock.

The landscape garden surrounding Hellbrunn

See also the main article Hellbrunn landscape garden The well-preserved surrounding landscape is also unique:

  • The Hellbrunn Alley , together with the Fürstenweg the oldest avenue in Central Europe (probably even the world's oldest surviving Avenue), which Markus Sittikus 1614/1615 in the spirit of the late Renaissance in the axis of the moated castle Freisaal did create out extends the princely garden well into the Landscape and manifests the young prince's claim to absolute rule. It is a protected part of the landscape (GLT50) .
  • The Fürstenweg , designed as an old lime tree avenue, leads to the alluvial forest and on to the banks of the Salzach . It forms - also extending far into the landscape - the axis of the castle building and the star pond.
  • The large garden axis begins at the water features with a sculpture of the goddess Diana. As a result, it forms the axis of symmetry of the ornamental Great Water Parterre towards the east and continues in a straight line through the hunting garden, the alluvial forest and over the Salzach to the elevated Goldenstein Castle . Originally, the axis was deliberately interrupted by the artificially created high strawberry mountain with grottoes as the center of the ornamental palace garden. The large garden axis was made even more clearly visible in the landscape around 1730 by the creation of a spruce avenue running on both sides in the hunting garden, at the same time the strawberry mountain was removed. Another axis also leads from Anif Castle to Goldenstein Castle. A short section of this formerly longer avenue is still visible today. Hellbrunn Palace, Goldenstein Palace and Anif Palace, form a kind of triangle.
  • The Keltenweg (at today's city limits between Anif and the city of Salzburg) forms the long axis to the west towards Glanegg Castle .

The row of oaks in Hellbrunn Palace Park is also a protected part of the landscape (GLT100) .

Images and quotes

“What you see here in the lovely hills, lush meadows and glistening waters, Markus Sittikus, Archbishop of Salzburg and sovereign prince, admiring the neglected gifts of nature not without pity, girded with walls, decorated with theaters; from a swamp he collected all the various sources and dedicated them to beloved posterity in 1613. "

- Inscription on the central part of the Altemps fountain

“Oh, what a paradise on earth! The garden: a labyrinth of water, a game of naiads , a theater of flowers, an arena for those who look around, capitol of statues, museum of graces , an abundance of sensible perception in happy gazing! Oh sweet loneliness! Oh mysterious forest only worthy of a king! In such forests I lose myself, rather than in a labyrinth. I just don't have the words to describe everything. I find Venice embodied in the waters, but Rome as it were summarized in the artificial structures. "

Future design along the Fürstenweg

At present, the former historical garden areas of Hellbrunn within the castle walls are still used as unsightly asphalted parking spaces. The once representative access area from Hellbrunner Allee to the east portal of the castle is currently also an asphalt car park. Relocating these very annoying parking spaces and merging the various car and bus parking spaces into one closed parking lot is a good idea. As a result, the design of the asphalt surfaces according to historical models is important.


  • Wilfried Schaber: Hellbrunn - palace, park and trick fountains . Hellbrunn Palace Administration, Salzburg 2004. ISBN 3-200-00075-9 .
  • Reinhard Medicus: The Kreuzwegberg in Hellbrunn and the Anifer Alterbach . In: Bastei - magazine of the Salzburg City Association for the preservation and care of buildings, culture and society. 54 Volume Salzburg 2005. 2nd episode, pp. 31–35.
  • Robert Bigler: Hellbrunn Palace, cabinet of curiosities of garden architecture . Böhlau Verlag , Vienna 1996.
  • Sibylle Kampl and Christof Kühberger (editors): Schaulust - The unexpected world of Markus Sittikus. Verlag Schlossverwaltung Hellbrunn, Salzburg 2016.

Web links

Commons : Hellbrunn Palace  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Coordinates: 47 ° 45 ′ 44 ″  N , 13 ° 3 ′ 39 ″  E