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At the very heart of baroque Salzburg, the Residenz overlooks the spacious Residenzplatz and its famous fountain. The palace in its present form was built between 1600 and 1619 as the home of Wolf-Dietrich, the most powerful of Salzburg's prince-archbishops. The Kaisersaal (Imperial Hall) and the Rittersaal (Knight's Hall), one of the city's most regal concert halls, can be seen along with the rest of the magnificent State Rooms on a self-guided tour. Of particular note are the frescoes by Johann Michael Rottmayr and Martino Altomonte depicting the history of Alexander the Great. Upstairs on the third floor is the Residenzgalerie, a princely art collection specializing in 17th-century Dutch and Flemish art and 19th-century paintings of Salzburg. On the state-room floor, Mozart's opera La Finta Semplice premiered in 1769 in the Guard Room. Mozart often did duty here, as, at age 14, he became the first violinist of the court orchestra (in those days, the leader, as there was no conductor). Today the reception rooms of the Residenz are often used for official functions, banquets, and concerts, and might not always be open for visitors. The palace courtyard has been the lovely setting for Salzburg Festival opera productions since 1956—mostly the lesser-known treasures of Mozart.
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