Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is known throughout the world for his music: He produced 22 operas, in addition to instrumental compositions, symphonies, serenades, marches, string quartets and songs.
However, not everyone knows details about his childhood.
In Salzburg, visitors can walk in places where Mozart grew up and began composing. They can also see historic landmarks that pay tribute to him throughout the city.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, or “Wolferl,” was born on Jan. 27, 1756, in Salzburg as the seventh child to parents Leopold Mozart, a chamber musician, and Anna Maria Pertl.
Wolfgang Amadeus was only 4 years old when he learned to play the piano and the violin. His father also gave him lessons in music composition.
In 1762, Mozart’s first musical performances in Salzburg were followed by several concert tours throughout Europe, where the “Wunderkind” (child prodigy) was introduced to nobility.
In 1781, Mozart moved to Vienna. Most of his world famous operas, including “The Marriage of Figaro,” “Don Giovanni,” and the “Magic Flute” were produced there.
Mozart died shortly after the premiere of the “Magic Flute” in Vienna on Dec. 5, 1791, from “Frieselfieber” (fever with rash). He was only 35.
Ever since Mozart’s early death, many myths have circulated concerning his life. In Salzburg, visitors can discover the “real story” by visiting Mozart’s birth house (Getreidegasse 9), and the Mozart family residence, called “Tanzmeisterhaus” (Makartplatz 8), where they can see Mozart’s first piano and violin, paintings, letters and family memorabilia.
Another highlight is the “Mozartplatz” (Mozart Square) in Salzburg’s historic downtown area, which features a bronze statue of Mozart from 1842. The town center is part of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
The coffee house “Tomaselli” (Alter Markt 9), one of Austria’s oldest coffee houses, is just a few steps away. According to locals, Mozart frequently took coffee breaks here.
For something sweeter, visitors can try the “Salzburger Nockerl,” a typical Austrian dessert made from eggs, sugar, vanilla and butter. Austrian composer Fred Raymond described it “as sweet as love and as delicate as a kiss.” This treat is served fresh with raspberry sauce at Cafe Mozart (Getreidegasse 22).
Salzburg also has several chocolate and souvenir shops dedicated to selling “Mozartkugeln,” chocolate balls filled with pistachio marzipan and nougat.
Besides Mozart-related activities, Salzburg also offers a picturesque stroll along the Getreidegasse (Grain Alley), with its artfully decorated store signs and historic building facades, quaint courtyards and side alleys.
For a bird’s-eye view of Salzburg, visitors can walk up to the Festung Hohensalzburg, a fortress that dates back to the 11th century. One of Europe’s largest and most well-preserved fortresses, it also houses a gallery, torture chamber, observation tower, prince’s rooms and a museum.
For another view of Salzburg and the Hohensalzburg, visit the roof terrace of Hotel Stein at Giselakai 3-5.
“Salzburg combines culture and tradition with a charming lifestyle,” said Sandra Rouagha, a visitor to Salzburg. “I was able to experience the city’s rich history and simply enjoyed the ‘Austrian way of life’ accompanied by Mozart, music and many sweet delights.”
For more information on Salzburg (in English), visit www.salzburg.info/en/.