Bruderhaus Hospital & Bruderhof

The "Bruderhaus zu St. Sebastian" is a former hospital on the right side of the Salzach, off Linzergasse and thus still inside the Altstadt (Old Town). It was first built in 1496 as the second hospital of Salzburg, the other one being the Bürgerspital on the left side of the river. The Bruderhof is the piazza formed by the opened courtyard of the facility; it has become a popular place for bars and cafes in recent years. This has improved the entire area significantly.

The Bruderhaus of the 15th century was endowed by the burghers of Salzburg, on contrast to the Bürgerspital, which had been partly funded by the Prince Archbishop. The core of the endowment was the heritage of a butcher′s widow named Dorothea Glimpf; she stated in her will that her money should be spent on the construction of a hospital, due to the "hard nature of these days and the plague". The builder in charge was a certain Virgil Fröschlmöser.

The Sebastianskirche church was built in association with the Bruderhaus in 1505. The church, too, was funded by private donations. Initially, the Bruderhaus was meant to be a shelter for pilgrims and poor residents of Salzburg; but soon it focused increasingly on caring for the sick, especially those who could not afford getting care at their homes. Domestic servants were charged a fee for which their employer was liable; pilgrims and travellers were allowed to stay free of charge, but only for a period of up to eight days.

Old people were also cared for, and young ones could already reserve a room for later years by donating a fixed amount - the package would later include shelter, food, bath and care. A separate section of the Bruderhaus was dedicated to mentally ill people (then simply referred to as fools, appropriately cared for in a facility called "Narrenkäfig" or "Cage of Fools"). The cage of fools was extended in 1562.

The Bruderhaus continued to be operated as a hospital and home for the aged and poor until 1898; only then, the Vereinigte Versorgungsanstalten were opened in the district Nonntal and linked various charitable facilities. In 1909, an emergency service was established at the Bruderhaus and in 1927, a fire brigade joined it. A bell factory was there, too, but it later had to leave the Altstadt due to the high risk of setting fire. It moved to Kasern, where the old factory closed in the 1990ies and is used as an event venue since then.

Afterwards, the Bruderhof was a dark little square, generally ignored by anyone but the odd youngster who went there to smoke weed. Only after 2000, new life came to the Bruderhof with various cafes and bars that have transformed it to a very pleasant corner.

Further Reading
German Wikipedia on the Bruderhaus

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