Thursday, August 14, 2014

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 155

Hellbrunn Palace, ca 1916

Looking from the Palace toward the Pavilion

 In the Pavilion facing the Palace. The table and chairs have trick fountains.

We spent almost two weeks in Salzburg, Austria and took some day trips to notable sites such as Hellbrunn Palace with its trick water fountains.  The Prince-Archbishop Markus Sittikus von Hohenems named it for the clear spring that supplied the water.  He had lived in Italy and seen similar places, had enough money so had the Palace and gardens built in 1615-1619. Hellbrunn was used as an entertainment venue during the summer.  An interesting trivia fact, since the Archbishop returned to Salzburg in the evening the palace was only used during the day and there are no bedrooms in Hellbrunn.

The inside of the palace has a self-guided tour with an audio headset device but a tour of the extensive gardens with all the waterworks requires a tour guide.  We did both.   The garden tour was fun and we had ample warning therefore got minimally wet when the guide turned on the trick fountains.  It seemed she was more interested in our ability to keep cameras dry rather than to keep us dry but it was raining part of the time hence a little more water was not a big deal.  As can be seen in one of the photos above the water spouts up from behind the seats and also in the middle of the seat thoroughly drenching the occupants.  All the mechanical devices in the garden were water powered including the fantastic village scene shown below where the people moved when it was turned on.

 Village with tiny people

When the switch was turned on the little people moved, danced and worked

 A little stream ran through the gardens with small grottoes here and there that housed moving figures like the potter below.

Larger grottoes big enough to hold a group of people had other displays inside.  We soon became wary and wise enough to look for the tiny brass nozzles hidden in the pavement and ran to avoid getting too wet when the water was turned on. 

 There were statues of animals, Mythological gods, dwarves and people as symbols in stone from power to foolishness all through the gardens.  The gardens were meant to delight the senses. Some of the figures were water spouts like the goat below.

The inside of Neptune’s grotto was fanciful and included shells and other adornments but had a watery exit lane.

A “golden hat” or crown rides on a fountain of water going up and down symbolizing the ever-changing political climate. 

There are several large ponds filled with fish and decorated with statues and we took a leisurely stroll before entering the palace itself.  I don’t remember if there were signs forbidding the use of cameras but the audio device had to be held so using a camera was not an option, instead I purchased a small booklet with a few pictures in it of the gardens and the inside of the palace.  The interior was divided into several different rooms, one had been painted with Chinese designs very popular for that time period and also extremely costly, a ballroom had street scenes and people painted on the walls and even fake windows had been painted on the walls.  

The Prince-Archbishop collected rare animals and fish so there is a section with paintings depicting some of the more memorable curiosities from his collection such as the horse with two extra legs and the giant sturgeons that swam in the outdoor pools.  The collecting of oddities was also popular among the wealthy aristocrats of this time.

 The palace and grounds are vast and I am not sure these photos will adequately demonstrate the size but here below is the front entrance.   The second picture is looking out from the front toward the roadway.

Here is a “Where’s Waldo” picture—we are here, can you find us?

It was a happy coincidence to find the card at a shop in Salzburg and be able to compare Hellbrunn today with the photo on the card from the early 1900s.  The small building seen in the top postcard on the hillside just to the left of the Palace is called the Monatsschloessl and according to legend was built in one month.  It is said that Markus Sittikus had the hunting lodge built in 1615 to impress the Archduke Maximilian with his own guest quarters when he visited.  Today it houses the Salzburg Museum of Ethnic Studies.  The postcard was mailed in November of 1916 and has one of the Emperor series stamps showing Franz Joseph that was issued in 1908 and used until the end of 1916. 

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