Hellbrunn Castle

Hellbrunn Castle

Hellbrunn Castle is technically not even a castle. Instead it is a large villa build in Baroque architectural style.



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Apr & Oct: 9:00am - 4:30pm

May-Jun & Sep 9:00am - 5:30pm

Jul-Aug 9:00am - 10:00pm



Description of Hellbrunn Castle

Hellbrunn Castle is located not far from Mrozg in the southern district of Salzburg and can easily be accessed if you take bus 55. Schloss Hellbrunn was build in 1613- 19 by Prince- Archbishop of Salzburg, Markus Sittikus von Hohenems. It is widely known for water- powered figures and trick fountains that were intended to surprise guests. As you take a tour through the Hellbrunn Castle you probably will get as well. They only person who won’t get caught is your tour guide. He or she knows every spot and the only seats that doesn’t get sprayed by fountains. The owner of the Hellbrunn Castle obviously did not want to get caught by his own trick. Interestingly enough Schloss Hellbrunn does not have a bedroom since Prince- Archbishop intended to stay here only during the day.


The Castle

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 outside the gates of the city of Salzburg, incorporating a late Gothic aristocratic residence. The architect was Santino Solari, who was also commissioned to rebuild the Salzburg Cathedral. The ballroom is richly painted with allegorical representations (probably by Donato Arsenio Mascagni) on the walls and on the vaulted ceiling. Also noteworthy are the octagon with its society and music scenes, as well as the fish room, bird room and corner room. Outbuildings are arranged symmetrically around the enclosed courtyard. The castle, together with the access road from the east, i. H. the east portal and the Fürstenweg (today crossing the Alpenstraße) a castle axis that reaches far into the landscape.


The water games

The best-preserved fountains of the late Renaissance in the world with numerous water tricks and various moving figures as well as numerous grottoes decorated with sculptures can be admired here: the Theatrum (Roman theatre) with a princely table and a 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 ruin grotto (in the castle), the Venus grotto, jesters 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, Archbishop Andreas Jakob von Dietrichstein added the artistic "mechanical theatre" to the old trick fountains.


Hellbrunn Gardens

The Hellbrunn Gardens are among the most important garden architecture monuments in Austria and are under monument protection (No. 41 in the appendix to § 1 Para. 12 DMSG). The entire Hellbrunn complex is located in the Salzburg-Süd 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 garden of the "Water Parterre" is freely accessible. This ornamental garden forms a landscape axis with the spruce avenue, which is aligned across the Salzach to 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 further water basins (ponds) are symmetrically designed on both sides of this pond. Various statues, book ornaments and architecturally pruned avenues of trees enrich the original Renaissance mannerist garden, which was later transformed into a baroque geometric garden.

The Jagdgarten and the Hellbrunner Berg
Here you are today
the large meadow areas east of the mountain, which were part of the archbishop's hunting gates until 1800,
with the adjacent lawn,
the children's playground
and the Kneipp facility

as well as the Hellbrunn mountain
with the monthly castle
the stone theatre.
and the Watzmann view

The Jahresschlössl (originally called Waldems-Schlösschen) was built in 1615 and overlooks the center of the ornamental garden from Hellbrunnerberg. The Salzburg Folklore Museum is located in this little castle. The wildly romantic stone theater on the Hellbrunnerberg, which was hewn entirely into the conglomerate rock, is unique. Here in 1617 (after a performance in the old Salzburg residence) the first opera performance north of the Alps took place with the Pastorale Orfeo.

The Sacred Garden
As a counterpoint to the princely, magnificent pleasure garden (located in the very north of the park), the archbishop erected a sacred wilderness garden above the Alterbach in the extreme south of the palace garden in the spirit of the Capuchin order of St. Francis and in the spirit of his uncle, St. Carlo Borromeo in the shape of a calvary, in which there were also various sculptures of hermits (who admired the calvary chapels devoutly) and an inhabited hermitage. The wilderness as a contrast to the feudal, elaborate pleasure garden is intended to symbolize the natural divine creation. Nor should the devotion be disturbed by worldly pomp. Only a few foundations of these sacred monuments have survived today. The wilderness garden around the Anifer Alterbach, which has been left in its natural state, has been preserved as an independent part of the historic castle park. Large parts of the sacred garden now belong to the area of ​​the Hellbrunn Zoo, which uses the old stock, especially with the spacious outdoor areas at the southern end of the park.

The landscaped garden surrounding Hellbrunn
Also see the main article Landscape Garden Hellbrunn. The well-preserved surrounding landscape is also unique:

The Hellbrunner Allee, together with the Fürstenweg the oldest surviving avenue in Central Europe (probably even the oldest surviving avenue in the world), which Markus Sittikus had laid out in 1614/1615 in the spirit of the late Renaissance in the axis towards the Freisaal moated castle, extends the royal garden far into the landscape and manifests the young prince's absolute claim to power. It is a protected part of the landscape (GLT50).
The Fürstenweg, designed as an old avenue of lime trees, leads to the floodplain forest and on to the banks of the Salzach. It forms the axis of the castle building and the Sternweiher, also extending far into the landscape.
The Great Garden Axis starts with the fountains with a sculpture of the goddess Diana. As a result, it forms the axis of symmetry of the ornamental large water parterre to the east and continues in a straight line through the hunting garden, the floodplain forest and over the Salzach to the elevated Goldenstein Castle. Originally, the axis was deliberately interrupted by the artificially created high strawberry mountain with grottos as the center of the ornamental palace garden. The Great Garden Axis was made even more visible in the landscape around 1730 by planting a spruce avenue running on both sides in the hunting garden, at the same time the Strawberry Mountain was removed. Another axis leads from Anif Castle to Goldenstein Castle. A short stretch of this formerly longer avenue is still visible today. Hellbrunn Palace forms a kind of triangle with Goldenstein Palace and Anif Palace.
The Keltenweg (on today's city boundary between Anif and the city of Salzburg) forms the long axis to the west in the direction of Glanegg Castle.
The row of oaks in Hellbrunn Palace Park is also a protected part of the landscape (GLT100).

pictures and quotes
“What you see here of lovely hills, lush meadows and sparkling waters, Markus Sittikus, Archbishop of Salzburg and sovereign, not without pity admiring the neglected gifts of nature, has girded with walls, adorned with theaters; he collected all the different sources from a swamp and dedicated them to beloved posterity in 1613.”
– Inscription on the central part of the Altemps fountain

"Oh, what paradise on earth! The garden: a labyrinth of waters, a play of naiads, a theater of flowers, an arena of those who look around, Capitol of statues, museum of graces, a wealth of reasoned contemplation in joyful gaze! Oh sweet solitude! O mysterious forest fit only for a king! I lose myself in such forests, more so than in a labyrinth. I just don't have the words to describe everything. I find Venice embodied in the waters, but Rome is summed up in the artificial buildings, so to speak.”
– Domenico Gisberti, 1670

Future design along the Fürstenweg
Hellbrunn's former historic gardens within the castle walls are currently still being used as unattractive, asphalted car parking spaces. The once representative access area from Hellbrunner Allee to the east portal of the palace is currently also an asphalt parking lot. A relocation of these very disruptive parking spaces and the merging of the various car and bus parking spaces into one closed parking lot would be an option. As a result, the design of the asphalt surfaces according to historical models is important.