‘MirabellGarten’ is easily the most visited place in Salzburg, Austria. After the thrilling morning at Salzwelten Hallein, I headed straight to the Salzburg city and my first stop was Mirabellgarten. While ‘Garten’ means garden, Mirabell was the name of a beautiful lady from Italy. The ornate name is the compilation of two words ‘Mirabile’ admirable and ‘Bella’ Beautiful. The gardens definitely stand up to this ornate name. As a result, a visit to Salzburg is incomplete without a stroll through the magnificent gardens of Mirabell Palace.
The History of Mirabellgarten
The Mirabell Palace and its Mirabellgarten were first built in the year 1606. Prince-Archbishop built this country estate for his secret mistress Salome Alt. Throughout the years the Mirabellgarten went through various transformations and renovations. One of the major ones was when the gardens were considerably downsized for enlarging the Palace. Furthermore, several noted artisans have taken part over the years in making this a masterpiece. The Mirabellgarten houses several elegant fountains and sculptures among the aesthetically manicured lawns.
The Mirabellgarten today has several sculptures, fountains and formations of huge stunning lawns. The gardens are open to the public and the palace houses the Municipal offices and the Mayor’s office. Moreover, Mirabellgarten is the best location for the most romantic weddings. Several weddings, ceremonies and functions take place in the great halls of the Mirabell Palace. The Mirabellgarten is next to Mirabell Palace. The terrain and it’s placing is such that it overlooks the Fortress of Hohensalzburg.
Orangerie and Papagenabrunnen
I walked over from the Makartsteg Bridge in from the southeast entrance of the Mirabellgarten. The first thing you see before the Orangery is the ‘Papagenabrunnen.’ This is a fountain that stands in the front of the Orangerie. It features the motionless figure of Papagena, the consort of Papageno from the ” Magic Flute ” by Wolfgang Amadé Mozart.
It is the sculpture of a young woman with 4 birds. One each in both of her hands and one on her head and one on her shoulder. Jets of water fly in different directions from the beaks of each of the birds. While around her is a flat pool of water forming a shallow fountain.
The orangery at Mirabellgarten is open to the public as a baroque garden today. Earlier the Orangerie had Citrus and Lemon trees which spread across the orchard. These were relocated to the adjoining Orangerie Building in winter. Today the Orangerie has the Papagena fountain and beautifully manicured baroque garden.
Four Element Fountain and its Sculptures
In the very centre of Mirabellgarten is a large octagonal fountain. But what makes it more spectacular is the four sculpture pairs on its four sides. The sculptures around the fountain have a complex meaning and are indeed difficult to decipher. Above all these sculptures show four mythological stories. They represent four elements- Water, Fire, Air, and Earth.
- Water Element: ‘Paris robs beautiful Helena and flees with her over the sea.’
- Fire Element: ‘Aeneas flees carrying his father Anchises out of burning Troy with his son Ascanius.’
- Air Element: ‘Hercules wrestles with the giant Antaeus’, who when lifted into the air cannot draw any strength from the touch of his Mother Earth.
- Earth Element: ‘Hades kidnaps Persephone into the underworld.’
Rose Garden at Mirabellgarten
Towards the south of the castle of Mirabell Palace is another garden, the Rose Garden. A garden full of roses is surely a breathtaking sight. But in order to truly feel its charm, you have to breathe in. Yes, the thick scent of roses hovers all around making it a perfect place for a summer afternoon. Moreover, the Rose Garden is divided into two parts and a walkway goes across it. On one side are rows upon rows of common roses. On another side is a special variety of roses which are as big as the size of your face. All around are several benches where you can spend that afternoon you are never gonna forget.
Dwarf Garden at Mirabellgarten
The dwarf garden in the Mirabellgarten is yet another piece of symbolism in its own. It is the oldest dwarf garden in Europe. This garden originally had 28 dwarves with grotesque features. Today only 17 out of the original 28 are in existence at Mirabellgarten. Moreover, the dwarf garden is declared as a protected monument.
Opposite the dwarf garden is the Magic Flute Playground. Historically, there used to be a children’s playground which was redesigned as the Magic Flute Playground. Consequently, concerts and musical events happen here today.
Pegasus Fountain, Unicorns and Lions
The Pegasus is a winged horse that in Greek mythology helped the heroes to fly over the sea. The Pegasus sculpture at Mirabellgarten today was historically a part of a water well. Relocated a few times the bronze sculpture finds its final place in the centre of a round fountain here. Similarly, around the fountain are several unicorns and lions apart from the lovely lawns.
The Film Sound of Music
The Mirabellgarten is a gorgeous garden on its own. But it gained its popularity fast due to the film ‘Sound of Music.’ They featured it in the song ‘Do-Re-Mi’ in the year 1964. Mirabellgarten still pulls a lot of tourists all around the world. Some prominent parts like the Pegasus fountain, the Dwarf garden and of course the steps of the gates are pictured in the film. Just look at how the garden remains the same throughout the years. Mirabellgarten will continue to astound a lot of generations to come.
Some other stories handpicked for you
- How much can you experience in a day in Salzburg, Austria?
- Mystical experience at Salzwelten Hallein (Salt Mine of Hallein)