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The Archbishop’s very own water park

The title here is no joke – Prince-Archbishop Marcus Sittikus, the first owner of Salzburg’s Hellbrunn Palace, ensured that his guests would be spoiled with watery surprises galore.  Water parks were a popular status symbol back in the seventeenth century, and the Archbishop took advantage of Hellbrunn’s many natural springs to set a high standard to follow.



Sittikus became Archbishop of Salzburg in 1612, and immediately busied himself with the commissioning of the new cathedral, the foundation stone of which was laid in 1614. But he didn’t hold back on a place of pleasure, turning rapidly to his “Villa Suburbana” of Hellbrunn, with the basic work completed by 1615. Documentation of his life and works is minimal, but paintings show Hellbrunn and its gardens in spectacular shape by 1619. I find it hard to think back all those centuries and imagine the relaxation, and fun, he and his guests had at Hellbrunn. However, a walk through the Trick Fountains garden soon solves that problem.


The entrance and walk to the dining table are beautifully peaceful, with a few hints of Greek mythology and calm reflections.


But sit down at the table at the back and you may get a little damp down below. All places but the Archbishop’s, has a water feature neatly fitted into the seat itself.


From here you can walk along the stream, explore grottos fitted with “natural showers” and admire the moving automatons powered by water, not electricity.  Springs, streams, hydraulics and art unite to delight and cool down all visitors. I recommend a carrier bag, or posher cover, for your camera, then go have fun!


If you’re up for some watery fun, the Trick Fountains are open to the public from early April to late October – more information here.




Copyright Debbie Smyth, 11 August 2018

Posted as part of Wit’s End

9 replies »

  1. You really highlighted this cool
    Place with your journalistic and photo-terrific skills – seriously – succinct with depth of history and just the right amount of text between pics!
    Would like to maybe see it in person and how interesting that water was the allure – makes sense!
    And I taught science at Alum Rock park in CA and there were very old water bath dugouts and all these areas of some type of man-made watery past – your post reminded of that place

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad it brought back some memories – and thank you for your kind comments – glad it all worked for you.
      It really demonstrates the power and importance of water – not just for our fun, but to provide power

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh yes – the power factor – and you mentioned it a little
        In your post!
        And I know for a season in my life I was desperate for pool time – we used to have a pool in Fl and CA and had withdrawals our first few years without one (first world


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