Altstadt is the German language word for «old town», meaning «historical city centre within the city wall», in contrast to younger suburbs outside.
The Old Town of Salzburg (also called Historic Centre of the City of Salzburg or simply Altstadt) is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. It comprises of a Medieval and Baroque ensemble of buildings that is unique in the world and draws millions of visitors every year.
Legally, the Old Town is a district of Salzburg and building activities are strictly regulated in order to preserve the ancient buildings.
Some sources that we reviewed for this article stated that the Salzburg Old Town is the biggest World Heritage Site in terms of size — we assume that this is hard to prove, but the area over which it extends is indeed remarkable.
The site includes the Old Town left of the Salzach river, the inner Nonntal area, the Festungsberg hill with the Fortress Hohensalzburg, the entire Mönchsberg (the big hill right of the castle if viewed from the centre), the Old Town right of the Salzach river including Linzergasse, Steingasse and the Äußerer Stein, and the rather big Kapuzinerberg hill with the Capuchin monastery.
The vast majority of Salzburg′s tourist attractions can be found within this area. When it was made a cultural heritage site in 1996, the jury of UNESCO published a declaration stating the following (we found it in German and translated the highlights ourselves, so note that this is not a direct quote).
Justification and protection status
The world heritage was awarded on 5 December 1996 by the UNESCO old town of Salzburg.
This award was given on the following grounds:
«As a spiritual centre of in Central Europe the importance of the former Prince-Archbishop's residence of Salzburg dates back to in the early days of Western culture.
The Bishop’s seat, the oldest continuously existing Roman Catholic Archdiocese of North of the Alps, the DOM, and also in the declining Carolingian time, preserved in living tradition monasteries of St. Peter and Nonnberg form the core of the structural development of the well-preserved historical concept and substance City went out. The archbishops were through all centuries significant artists of their time.
A living each other varied medieval and Baroque monuments adds up in the old town into a unique, dominated by the Fortress Hohensalzburg urban ensemble. See the impressive skyline of towers and domes of many churches line the closed facade brochures of townhouses on the squares and winding streets left and right banks of the Salzach.
The music associated with the genius Loci Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Festival tradition is one of the special flair of this unique monument of the city."
-UNESCO Committee: 5 December 1996
UNESCO on the Old Town (Altstadt)
The significance of Salzburg as a site of residence for Prince Archbishops as a spiritual centre of Central Europe goes back to the earliest days of Western-Christian culture.
At the core of this well-preserved city, you will find the oldest preserved Archdiocese north of the Alps, and ancient monasteries such as St. Peter and Nonnberg, which, like the cathedral Salzburger Dom date back to Carolingian days.
The Prince Archbishops have hired significant artists over the course of centuries. The Old Town of Salzburg combines Medieval and Baroque buildings into an ensemble that is dominated by the Salzburg castle, the fortress Hohensalzburg.
The Old Town′s skyline is characterised by the spires and cupolas of the many churches of Salzburg, the narrow lanes and small squares of the Old Town by the colourful Baroque facades of the burgher houses on both sides of the Salzach river.
The unique Old Town of Salzburg is intertwined with the spirit of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, music traditions and the Salzburg Festival.
Whilst this might sound a bit like a promotional text written by somebody working for the official tourist information centre or some tourism-mafia hotel owner, we as determined and highly motivated Salzburgians can wholeheartedly say: It′s all true. The Old Town is magical, dive into it and enjoy!
The famous Altstadt is a wondrous square kilometre that has more to offer than any other district in Düsseldorf.
This is where the waiters («Köbesse») are diamonds in the rough, where the next beer comes without it being ordered and where pork knuckles are a staple of people’s diet as well as where tales are told and tranquillity goes hand in hand with the city’s hustle and bustle.
More than 260 pubs line the «longest bar in the world»: local breweries, lounges, cocktail bars, electro-clubs and sophisticated ambiences — this is the place to find the venue to suit your personal taste.
But it’s not only body and soul that will feel great in Düsseldorf's Altstadt: the district will also provide intellectual stimulation because this is where most of the state capital’s art and cultural venues are to be found.
The major Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, the innovative NRW-Forum, the venerable Museum Kunstpalast and the Film museum, which has even been praised by Hollywood greats, are just a few of the many museums that leave an impression on visitors.
Düsseldorf also has many important performance venues: the Deutsche Oper am Rhein (Opera House), the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus (Theatre) and the Tonhalle (Concert Hall) all bear witness to Düsseldorf's reputation as an international centre for the arts and culture.
Düsseldorf's centre is also home to some of the city’s most beautiful churches. For instance, the Sankt Lambertus Basilika, which was first built in the 13th century, and which with its twisting spire helps make Düsseldorf's skyline unique.
In conjunction with the Schlossturm (Castle Tower) and the River Düssel, the basilica remains part of the Old Town’s original core. This church’s parish altar also houses a shrine containing relics of Saint Apollinaris, the city’s patron saint.
The Bergerkirche, which dates from the 17th century, the Johanneskirche and the former Kreuzherren Kirche (Church of the Knights of the Cross) are also always worth a visit!
Finally, watch the video: