Legend has it that Salzburg’s first cathedral was consecrated by Bishop Virgil in 774 on the same spot where St. Rupert had built a church. Through the middle ages, it underwent a series of renovations and calamities – including being struck by lightning – and was finally condemned by, you guessed it, Prince Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau.
Although Wolf Dietrich had plenty of plans for his new baby, he didn’t live long enough to see it rise from the rubble. The current Baroque masterpiece was designed by the architect Santino Solari and constructed under the aegis of Prince Archbishop Marcus Sitticus von Hohenems. Begun in 1614, it was completed in 1628. The oldest bells in the cathedral – the Marienglocke and the Virgilglocke – were cast at this time.
There are 4 sculptures flanking the portals of the Dom. As founders of Salzburg’s faith, St. Rupert carries the salt box and St. Virgil carries the church. St. Peter – “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven” – holds the keys and St. Paul – beheaded in Rome in A.D. 67 – holds the sword.
Mozart Bonus: The Dom holds the baptismal font where Mozart was baptized and the organ where he played some of his compositions.