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The Altstadt

Intent on becoming a patron of the arts, the prince-archbishop Wolf-Dietrich lavished much of his wealth on rebuilding Salzburg into a beautiful and Baroque city in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. In turn, his grand townscape came to inspire the young Joannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart. In fact, by growing up in the center of the city and composing already at five years of age, Mozart set lovely Salzburg itself to music. He was perhaps the most purely Austrian of all composers, a singer of the smiling Salzburgian countryside and of the city's Baroque architecture. So even if you're not lucky enough to snag a ticket to a performance of The Marriage of Figaro or Don Giovanni in the Haus für Mozart, you can still appreciate what inspired his melodies just by strolling through these streets.

Ever since the 1984 Best Film Oscar-winner Amadeus, the composer has been the 18th-century equivalent to a rock star. Born in Salzburg on January 27, 1756, he crammed a prodigious number of compositions into the 35 short years of his life, many of which he spent in Salzburg (he moved to Vienna in 1781). Indeed, the Altstadt revels in a bevy of important sights, ranging from his birthplace on the Getreidegasse to the abbey of St. Peter's, where the composer's Great Mass in C Minor was first performed.

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