Hellbrunn Palace - Schloss Hellbrunn Castle
The main building of Schloss Hellbrunn Castle or the Hellbrunn Palace (which is more of a manor and pleasure ground than a proper palace, to be quite honest, but nevertheless one of the top-attractions of Salzburg and clearly recommended by us), was built between 1613 and 1615. It is a rectangular court with two pavilions on the front corner. The three storeys are divided in the fašade by so-called "Kordongesimse" decorations. A long alley connects Hellbrunn with the city of Salzburg.
A double-sided stairway in the front leads to the central main gate of Schloss Hellbrunn Castle. Under this staircase you will find a grotto - fountain by Santino Solari. On the first floor of Hellbrunn palace, you will find the remarkable "Fürstenzimmer" or "Prince′s chambers", most significant the "Festsaal".
It was decorated by Arsenio Mascagni around 1615; the Italian painted the walls and ceilings completely with street scenes and 12 very plastic, golden Caesars. The plastic mode of the painting simulates a peristilium or "pillar court". In a similar fashion, Mascagni painted the octagonal "Musikzimmer" or simply "Octagon", a music room which borders the Fürstenzimmer.
Baroque beauty & trick fountains of Hellbrunn Castle
In front of the Hellbrunn Palace, you will find the "Ehrenhof" ("court of honour"), which stretches in a crescent towards the palace. Before Christmas, there is a very popular Christmas Market that takes place on this square. The two side-wings have one floor, the southern one contains the Palace Chapel.
Previously, the chapel was in the northern side-wing. In 1955, it was transferred to its current position. It is a rather plain room with a vaulted ceiling, which is divided into units by decoration in the stucco and arches. The altar painting dates back to the 18th century and depicts Maria Immaculata. The frame is from the early 17th century.
The "Ziergarten" or "pleasure garden" behind Hellbrunn Palace was built in its core in the 17th century. Its centre is marked by a main pond with a rectangular island, which is flanked by two minor ponds. The flowerbeds were initially designed in high Baroque style in 1730, but later changed repeatedly. The only two pieces left from the original decorations are two obelisks on the western side of the gardens.
Scenic views from Hellbrunn Castle: Salzburg at its best
The two unicorns on the main pond of Hellbrunn Castle date back to around 1700, the other statues on the island depict Roman gods and goddesses and were added in the years of the early 18th century.
On the hill Hellbrunner Berg, set apart a bit from the Hellbrunn Palace, you find the Monatsschlössl, sometimes also called Schloss Waldems. Santino Solari presumably built it, on order by Prince Archbishop Markus Sittikus in 1615.
The name means "month palace" and legend has it that it is based on a bet that I wouldn′t be feasible to build the palace in a single month. The Monatsschlössl is visible from almost anywhere in southern Salzburg as well as from Hohensalzburg Fortress. On the other side, Hellbrunner Berg will provide you with stunning views towards the city of Salzburg. Since 1923, the Monatsschlössl hosts exhibitions and is used by the Salzburg Museum as a Volkskundemuseum.
Hellbrunn Wasserspiele: Pleasure for the Prince Archbishop
Schloss Hellbrunn′s fame, however, is based on its pleasure grounds and trick fountains (Wasserspiele) west of the main palace. The grounds and gardens contain wells, fountains, ponds, five artificial grottos, sculptures and statues - a Baroque Disneyland, created for the sole purpose of entertaining the immensely rich Prince Archbishop of Salzburg and his guests.
The trick fountain gardens of Hellbrunn Palace were built by masons from Salzburg and Italy, the best craftsmen of their time, under the guidance of Santino Solari. The most famous features are the Neptunfountain by H. C. Asper, built in the early 17th century and the so-called Roman Theatre with a marble table with seats that are part of a hidden fountain.
If the Prince Archbishop hosted a dinner in Hellbrunn Palace, nobody was supposed to get up from his or her seat as long as the Prince Archbishop was still seated - which explains why his chair is the only one not targeted by the fountain.
The machinery underlying this mechanism is based on five automatic water pumps that are part of the original ensemble. They were supplemented with waterpower driven mechanical theatre between 1749 and 1752. This theatre of Hellbrunn contains 138 moving, wooden figures. Nearby, you will find the Salzburg Zoo and the Steintheater.
Top-10 Sights of Salzburg
Official website of the castle and trick fountains - opens in new window
Zoo Hellbrunn in Salzburg - opens in new window