Schloss Mirabell (“Mirabell Palace”) began as a love nest.
Originally called Altenau and now known as the “Taj Mahal of Salzburg,” the palace was created by Prince Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau for his mistress, Salomé Alt. He had 15 children with Salomé, an exhausting routine for any monarch but Wolf Dietrich. After all, this is the man who tackled the Residenzplatz, the Dom, the Residenz, and still found time to please the Capuchins and the Augustinians.
Wolf Dietrich overreached himself in 1611, when he rumbled with Bavaria over the salt trade. His order to occupy the territory of the abbey of Berchtesgaden led to Bavarian troops storming Salzburg. Wolf Dietrich was imprisoned in the Festung and Salomé and her brood were banished to Weis.
The garden itself has undergone a series of reincarnations. Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach created the initial design in 1689 (his vases still stand on the marble railing of the Grand Parterre) and Franz Anton Danreiter altered it in 1730. In the 19th century, areas such as the Dwarf Garden were destroyed.
Sound of Music Bonus: Maria and the Von Trapp children practice “Do Re Mi” on the steps of the rose garden and run down the hedge arcade next to the Grand Parterre.