As I stated in A Merry Cemetery in Romania, I find cemeteries fascinating. I don’t have an obsession with death, I just find that cemeteries not only offer a unique view of a cities history but can also offer a very peaceful and beautiful haven amongst even the largest cities.
Nestled up against the Mönchsberg you will find St. Peter’s Cemetery. Dating back to 1627 this is the oldest Christian cemetery in Salzburg and should not be neglected during your stay in this wonderful city.
This cemetery is not sad or scary but would be a lovely place to spend eternity. . . or some time during an afternoon! As you wander through you will be amazed at the beauty, the color and the serenity. Each of the plots is still tenderly taken care of by family members.
This World Heritage Site is enclosed by beautiful wrought-iron on three sides and the Mönchsberg on the fourth making it a perfect home for the aristocratic families of Salzburg. Among the families interred are Mozart’s sister, Nannerl, Joseph Haydn’s brother, Michael, and the architect of the cathedral, Santino Solari.
There are rumors that St. Peter’s Cemetery was the filming sight of the scene where the Von Trapp family hid behind the tombstones during their escape in the Sound of Music. In actuality the scene was filmed in Hollywood but the cemetery was used as inspiration for the set.
Another interest tidbit is that the plots in the cemetery are rented which means if your relatives stop paying the rent your remains are moved to a nearby ossuary! There’s a reason to be nice to your relatives.
After enjoying St. Peter’s Cemetery make sure you take the stairs back in time to the Catacombs. Carved into the rock above St. Peter’s Cemetery the catacombs are worth a visit, if only for the views of Salzburg! Be careful as you climb the very steep stairs on your way to exploring the rooms containing altars and frescoes from yesterday. As you gaze out the windows, you will be amazed at the beautiful site unfolding before your eyes.