Richterhöhe: Look-out on the fortress

The Richterhöhe is a platform and look-out on a former bastion that secured the Mönchsberg. It is known for the impressive vista that it offers on the Festung Hohensalzburg. The Richterhöhe is still embraced by mighty walls and secured by two towers, the Josefsturm and the Michaelsturm. A third tower can be seen if you lean over the walls and look downwards: This is the Bertholdsturm. The three towers date back to the Middle Ages and thus, like the nearby Bürgerwehr, to the oldest fortifications that you can find on the Mönchsberg.

All three towers were part of the extended fortifications and city walls that secured the Mönchsberg. The Richterhöhe served as a strategic spot from which you could oversee the south of Salzburg; it therefore provides you with nice vistas on Schloss Leopoldskron (one of the places that featured in "The Sound of Music") and the Untersberg mountain.

Later Life of the Richterhöhe

At the latest with the conquest of Salzburg by Bavarian and French troops in the course of the Napoleonic Wars, the towers on the Richterhöhe lost their strategic importance. The French troops used them as ammunition and gun powder storage facilities. Later, they became property of the city of Salzburg and put to various uses. Since 1965, the Michaelsturm is rented by the Salzburger Pfadfinder, boy scouts. Later, the Josefsturm became the headquarter of another boy scout group, the division of Morzg.

In 2008, the boy scouts made it into the regional news when they started to grow vine on the flanks of the Richterhöhe. You have to lean over the walls to see them: It is the first vineyard since the Baroque age and meant to commemorate the tradition of growing wine on the now strictly protected and non-accessible Rainberg hill.

The Richterhöhe was named after a local geographer; there is a memorial plate that commemorate him. Walking on from there, you will get to a wall of bare rock which is popular for bouldering, a type of free rock climbing. Above this wall, you can see a castle-like villa at Mönchsberg 17 in which the famous Austrian writer and playwright Peter Handke lived as long as his daughter attended school in Salzburg. The surroundings of the Richterhöhe are attractive for extended walks ("old men′s hiking", as the locals say).

Hidden Treasures of Salzburg

Richterhöhe on SalzburgWiki (German!)

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