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