- Salzburg Cathedral
The site occupied by the Salzburg Cathedral was probably a sacred place for
sacrifices in Celtic as well as Roman times. The first cathedral was built under Saint Vergilius of Salzburg, who might have used foundations by St. Rupert. The first Dom was recorded in 774.
The so-called Virgil Dom was built from 767 to 774 and was 66 metres long and 33 metres wide.
ArchbishopArno (785 – 821) was the first to arrange renovations of the Dom, which was in place for less than 70 years. In 842, the building burned down after being struck by lightning. Three years later, the re-erection of the building started.
Under Archbishop Hartwig, a choir with a crypt was built towards West between 1000 and 1020. Under Archbishop Konrad I., the West-towers were built from 1106 to 1147.
This original church thus experienced at least three extensive building and rebuilding campaigns during the early middle ages, the final result of which was a somewhat "ad hoc" Romanesque
basilica. In 1598, the basilica was severely damaged, and after several failed attempts at restoration and reconstruction, the building was finally ordered to be demolished by Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich(Archbishop from 1587-1612). Wolf Dietrich was a patron and supporter of modern Italian baroque architecture, having seen it from its origins in Italy and particularly Rome. Indeed, it was Wolf Dietrich who was also responsible for the building of the nearby "Altes Residenz", which is today connected to the cathedral.
Wolf Dietrich hired the Italian architect
Vincenzo Scamozzito prepare a plan for a comprehensive new Baroque building. Construction did not begin however until Wolf Dietrich's successor, Markus Sitticus von Hohenems(Archbishop from 1612-19), in 1614 laid the cornerstone of the new cathedral. The present cathedral, designed by Santino Solari, who fundamentally changed the original Scamozzi plan was completed remarkably in less than 15 years, being finished by 1628. Additionally, the present Salzburg Cathedral is built partially upon the foundations of the old basilica. Indeed, the foundation stones of the preceding church building may be seen in the "Domgrabungen", an excavation site under the cathedral that also features mosaics and other artifacts found here when this location was the forum of the Roman city "Juvavum". One other surviving relic that predates the baroque edifice is the 14th Century Gothic baptismal font. The relics of Saint Rupert were transferred here when the cathedral was completed. [Butler's Lives of the Saints, ed. Paul Burns, Collegeville, MN 2003, p. 139.]
The finished church is 466 feet long and 109 feet high at the crossing/dome. [Baedeker's Handbook for Travellers in Southern Germany (1914) p.182] The baroque style of St. Rupert's can be seen in the choir and the
The Salzburg Cathedral was partially damaged during
World War IIwhen a single bomb crashed through the central dome over the crossing. Repairs were somewhat slow to take place, but restoration was complete by 1959.
The Salzburg Cathedral in numismatics
The cathedral is so popular and famous, that it was the main motive of one of the most famous collectors coins: the Austrian 10 euro The Castle of Hellbrunn commemorative coin, minted in
April 21 2004. The reverse side features a portrait of Archbishop Markus Sitticus von Hohenems, holding a construction plan of the Salzburg Cathedral. In the background the "Roman Theatre" in Hellbrunn, is shown.
* [http://www.salzburgexplore.com/salzburg-dom-museum.html Salzburg Cathedral - Salzburg City Guide]
* [http://www.kirchen.net/dommuseum Cathedral Museum Website]
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