Fotoeins Fotografie

faces of home & place-story

Posts tagged ‘Salzburger Land’

My Salzburg: city views from above on Mönchsberg

In Salzburg, I’m motivated by a search for Mozart and for signs of modernity. I’ve already examined part of the city through its art: what more can Salzburg offer?

Excellent views of the city and surroundings.

The Mönchberg hill on which the Hohensalzburg fortress sits provides many viewpoints over the city. You can walk along the entire length of Mönchberg for varying perspectives, or you can approach a number of the viewpoints separately.

I ascended and traversed the hill on foot from southeast to northeast, beginning from Kapitelplatz to the viewpoints just north of the Museum der Moderne. I returned to the Old Town below with the MönchsbergAufzug elevator which is a part of Salzburg’s public transport.


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Silent Night, Stille Nacht, Stille Nacht Museum, Stille Nacht Platz, Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Oesterreich, Austria, fotoeins.com

Austria’s Silent Night: 200 years, 300 languages

One of my early childhood memories surrounding Christmas is learning and singing “Silent Night”. This humble melodic carol is known around the world and sung in over 300 languages and dialects. 2018 is the 200th anniversary of the hymn’s first public performance, and that’s why I’m on a train traveling north from Salzburg to the Austrian town of Oberndorf.

With over 5000 residents, Oberndorf lies opposite the German town of Laufen along the winding flow of the Salzach river. Laufen-Oberndorf was once a single community whose people derived their greatest business and wealth with salt carried on barges from upstream in Hallein and transferred onto larger ships for transport downstream to the Inn river and Passau. After the arrival (and departure) of Napoleon’s French troops, the river became a border, and the town was split in two after over 1000 years as a single community#. Although Oberndorf and Laufen remain in separate countries, the European Schengen treaty has helped reforge their common bonds with the abolishment of border controls.

Short History

Between 1817 and 1819, Joseph Mohr lived and worked in Oberndorf as curate, minister, and schoolteacher for the salt-barger community. The organist for Oberndorf’s St. Nicolas Church was Franz Gruber, a fellow schoolteacher and sexton at a parish in nearby Arnsdorf. Mohr and Gruber tended to spiritual and education needs for their towns, and with their common zeal for music, they quickly became friends. On Christmas Eve 1818, Mohr brought his song to Gruber who added the melody. That very evening after evening mass at Oberndorf’s St. Nicholas Church, Mohr’s completed song, “Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht” was performed for the first time with Gruber on his guitar as the only accompaniment.

Over years and decades, the song had generally been considered to be Tirolian in origin, but handwritten letters show Joseph Mohr composed the song by 1816 when he lived in Mariapfarr, a town 120 kilometres southeast from Salzburg. The original German-language version of the song has six verses; the English version has three which are translations of verses 1, 6, and 2.

At Oberndorf’s Stille-Nacht-Platz (Silent Night Square), the two key elements are the Stille-Nacht-Kapelle (Silent Night memorial chapel) and the Stille Nacht Museum. The original St. Nicholas church was in bad shape and torn down in 1906. To maintain the memory of the first performance of the Christmas song, construction began in 1928 for a chapel at the same location, and the townspeople celebrated the chapel’s inauguration in 1937. With the museum’s opening in November 2016, exhibits describe the history of how the song came to be, highlight the lives of Mohr and Gruber, explain the context of culture and place of the times in the late-18th to early-19th century, illuminate the importance of the salt trade on the neighbouring Salzach river, and celebrate the song’s longevity and popularity around the world.

Every year, evening mass on Christmas Eve from the Silent Night memorial chapel is broadcast to the world on webcam.

# The 1814-1815 Congress of Vienna enforced the Salzach river as the border and separation between the nation-state of Bavaria (Laufen) on one side and the Austrian Empire (Oberndorf) on the other side.


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Old Town, morning, Kapuzinerberg, Festung Hohensalzburg, Untersberg, Salzburg, Oesterreich, Austria, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: 7am light on Salzburg’s Old Town

If you want an elevated but zero-cost view of Salzburg’s Old Town, make sure you get the sun angle right. And if early mornings don’t give you the beatdown (because hey, coffee), ascend the steep steps of Kapuzinerberg. This rewarding view from the Hettwerbastei (Hettwer Bastion) faces southwest with the Hohensalzburg fortress at the upper left and Untersberg mountain in the background at right. Out of view from this vantage point and tucked behind Untersberg is Berchtesgaden in the southeast corner of Germany. Meanwhile, I’m sure you can make do with the illuminated colours from buildings along the south flank of the Salzach river. In 1996, UNESCO declared Salzburg Old Town as World Heritage Site.

I made the above photo on 22 May 2018 with the Fujifilm X70 fixed-lens prime and the following settings: 1/1000-sec, f/11, ISO2000, and 18.5mm focal length (28mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie on fotoeins.com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-bUy.

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