Shooting Locations

Iconic Salzburg’s History

The Exceptionally Diverse Austrian City’s Architecture

We would like to share in depth knowledge on Salzburg, one of Austria’s most iconic cities. We believe that in order to know which locations are ideal for specific projects, one needs to know the historic and cultural background of the city - this is what we would like to assist, by sharing this knowledge. It is not only Salzburg’s stunning beauty that makes it compelling, but also its musical, cultural and architectural significance. This town is the birthplace of one of the most influential composers on the world; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Also, in the 20th century it has been a much loved film location; the city became loved and familiar to millions thanks to the classic film The Sound of Music. Of course film projects continue here to this day; for example Progressive worked here on a documentary revisiting the previously mentioned film’s iconic locations with its star; Julie Andrews.

We would like to share in depth knowledge on Salzburg, one of Austria’s most iconic cities. We believe that in order to know which locations are ideal for specific projects, one needs to know the historic and cultural background of the city - this is what we would like to assist, by sharing this knowledge. It is not only Salzburg’s stunning beauty that makes it compelling, but also its musical, cultural and architectural significance. This town is the birthplace of one of the most influential composers on the world; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Also, in the 20th century it has been a much loved film location; the city became loved and familiar to millions thanks to the classic film The Sound of Music. Of course film projects continue here to this day; for example Progressive worked here on a documentary revisiting the previously mentioned film’s iconic locations with its star; Julie Andrews.

My favourite thing about Salzburg is that it never changes. That it is timeless. I mean its beauty. You know you can be away for ten years, twenty years, fifty years, come back and you can walk down the streets and they will be as they were. That to me is a real gift. Extraordinary beauty, and the people.

Nicholas Hammond, child star of The Sound of Music

Many Centuries Ago

Salzburg is a city rich in history and culture, with most of its most historically significant buildings clustered in the Old Town, in the heart of the city. During the Middle Ages many Romanesque and Gothic churches were built, some of which are still standing, for example the mighty St. Hippolyte's Church, the Festung Hohensalzburg’s Chapel and the Franciscan Church both with stunning, ornate vaulting.  The Medieval Hohensalzburg Castle overlooking Salzburg on the top of the Mönchsberg is the largest intact castle in Central Europe, ideal for any medieval siege scenes.

Rome of the North

A few centuries later the leaders of the town wanted to catch up with the Italian peninsula's Renaissance culture, but due to complications those plans fell through. Yet when it came to a new period in Art History; the Baroque Salzburg was able to become active in time: two top  Italian architects were commissioned to build Salzburg’s cathedral, where later on the genius, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was baptised. This new design had a strong impact on other architects and influenced the whole of Austria and Germany.

Salzburg's cathedral The Cathedral where Mozart was baptised

In these times, the leaders aimed to rebuild and modernise the Medieval city, by building many significant Baroque buildings, for example an university, fortifications, as well as such as the Hellbrunn Palace, which was the Archbishop’s day time residence in the summer, which is why the palace surprisingly does not have a bedroom! It has an extraordinary feature; an old, water-powered mechanical theater made of wood, depicting the everyday life of a 18th century town.

The Sound of Salzburg

The world famous and much loved classic The Sound of Music was set and shot in and around the outskirts of Salzburg. This Alpine story made the most of many beautiful historic locations this city has to offer, making it a destination of ten thousands of fans every year. The main character and the children prepare to sing in the Salzburg Festival, which is part of the city’s bustling cultural life. The movie consists of many memorable scenes of them singing and dancing in places they made known world wide. This film makes it a real privilege to be able to shoot in Salzburg.

The Wealth of Historicism

Most of this development was funded by the prince archbishop, so after he deceased the architectural flourishment came to an end, which is why there are no Rococo style buildings in Salzburg. Still all the buildings standing by then had already created Salzburg’s unique atmosphere with historic churches and residential buildings connected by narrow, winding streets and small squares decorated by centuries old shop and trade signs. One of the most notable lanes is the Linzergasse Lane, with lots of quality shops and memorial plaques of famous inhabitants on the buildings, some dating back to the 14th century. Its skyline also enchanting with its many spires and cupolas towering over the rooftops. Viewed from a boat or one of the many bridges the riverside is colourful from the rows of charming painted houses.

In the 19th century, dynamic urbanising expansions were needed due to a period of wealth in which the number and wealth of citizens grew. In this period many tenement houses were built in Historic style, which imitated previous styles in Art History. These new buildings, that were significantly larger than previous housing, surrounded the old town, giving accommodation to the masses in style.

The Constant Innovation of the Modern and Postmodern Architecture

There are many other significant buildings, that were created in the 20th century in Salzburg. In the 1960s Clemens Holzmeister design the Großes Festspielhaus built into the side of the Mönchsberg mountain, which is one of the world’s largest operas. A scene of The Sound of Music was shot here. He reinterpreted the clarity of local architectural traditions, which he used in and outside of Europe; he was so renown, he was even commissioned to build the Turkish Parliament too!


Salzburg’s historic architecture in the old town is so significant that it is listed as part of the UNESCO World Heritage. This status makes it harder for contemporary architecture projects to happen in the heart of the town, but there are some exceptions, such as the simplistic Mozarteum University of Salzburg. By Salzburg’s airport is an one-of-its-kind organic steel and glass structure; the Hangar-7, owned by Red Bull. Thanks to the transparent walls, visitors can enjoy a panorama view of the Alps. It houses a collection of historic airplanes, helicopters and racing cars, that can be viewed by the public. An unique construction is the modern "Makartsteg" pedestrian bridge in the heart of the town, which is covered by locks left by visitors of the city.

Youtube red bull's hangar 7

Next to its rich musical and literary history, Salzburg has a tradition of becoming home to iconic productions thanks to its unique and characteristic locations. Beautiful baroque churches, charming tiny streets or brilliant modern concert halls; this city has all you can want - with an unique mountainous setting. These diverse places have much to offer for shooting all sorts of projects, set either in the past, present or future.


This was our final article of our series on the history of architecture in Austria for filmmakers. If would like to read into our one on the gorgeous capital city Vienna or on the architecture of the Tyrolean Alps, click here.

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