Leopoldskroner Weiher pond in Salzburg

The Leopoldskroner Weiher is a large pond (or little lake, depending on your standards) in the Riedenburg district of Salzburg. It is associated with Schloss Leopoldskron, which was made famous by featuring as the Villa Trapp in the musical-gone-movie "The Sound of Music". The pond is about 13 hectares large and hugely popular with elderly locals to walk their dogs or grandchildren as well as a large duck population. The Leopoldskroner Weiher is 650 metres long and about 220 metres wide. It is situated at 431 metres above sea level. As a recreational area, the Leopoldskroner Weiher is also highly suitable for skating in winter.

The Leopoldskroner Weiher can be tracked back to the Middle Ages. For a long time, it served as a fish pond. It is likely that the pond was extended for producing turf or for increasing the fish breeding capacities on more than one occasion. In the 18th century, Schloss Leopoldskron was built as the representative residence for the Firmian family. It was built by Prince Archbishop Leopold Anton von Firmian, descendent of a once impoverished dynasty that now wanted to show the re-appearance of his house of the stage of power. Thereby, the Leopoldskroner Weiher was incorporated into a Rococo ensemble.

In the early 19th century, the area became an army base for the local regiment Erzherzog Rainer. In 1828, the head of this regiment collaborated with the owner of the Leopoldskroner Weiher, Leopold Graf von Firmian, to build a swimming school for the soldiers. The school opened as a military lido the following year. In 1842, this facility was modernised and extended by a swimming school for ladies.

In 1900, the military closed the site and the city of Salzburg made it a public lido in 1912. This lido was destroyed by allied bombs in 1944. Note that before WWII, Max Reinhardt (then owner of Schloss Leopoldskron) often used the Leopoldskroner Weiher as a stage for his Baroque-inspired garden parties and social events. After the war, the lido Leopoldskroner Bad opened nearby. The Leopoldskroner Weiher itself is not used for swimming and is now a nature reserve. The nearby Königswäldchen, parks and former swamps in the area also belong to this protected stretch of land.

Further Reading

http://www.salzburg.com/wiki/index.php/Leopoldskroner_Weiher
Leopoldskroner Weiher on SalzburgWiki (in German, but with pics)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schloss_Leopoldskron
Leopoldskron Palace (with Weiher pond) on Wikipedia


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