Mozart Living Place: Tanzmeisterhaus

The Tanzmeisterhaus or Mozart Wohnhaus is the former living place of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. It can be found on the Markatplatz and is now home to one of the two Mozart Museums in Salzburg (the other one being his birthplace in the Getreidegasse). The building can be tracked back to 1617, but was damaged severely in the course of WWII and effectively re-built in the 1990ies. In fact, the Tanzmeisterhaus effectively comprised of two buildings until 1685. They were then merged into a singe house that belonged to a gentleman called Franz Gottlieb Spöckner.

In 1711, Spöckner earned the privilege to operate a dancing school. A dancing school back then (and in Austria until today) did not only teach dances, but etiquette and mannerisms in general; the purpose of a dancing school was to prepare noble children for their social life as high-ranking people. Spöckner was also a close friend of Leopold Mozart, the father of the composer. He died in 1767 and his widow Maria used the Tanzmeisterhaus only to let the facility (mainly the ballroom) for weddings and other occasions. At his time, the Mozart family was touring Europe.

New new Living Place for the Mozarts

When they returned to Salzburg with the intention to settle in properly in 1773, their old apartment in the Getreidegasse was not sufficient for the family anymore. Both Wolfgang and his sister had grown up and the apartment was to small. The more or less empty Tanzmeisterhaus was a perfect alternative: Spacious, central and available. Mozart lived in the Tanzmeisterhaus from 1773 to 1780. There he composed very productively, held receptions and had visitors - including influential people such as Emanuel Schikaneder, who wrote the libretto for "The Magic Flute”.

In 1778, Mozart′s mother died during a stay in Paris. Nannerl, the older sister of Mozart, married a man from St. Gilgen and moved there in 1784. By then, Mozart himself already lived in Vienna and his father Leopold was now the only inhabitant of the Tanzmeisterhaus. In 1785, Nannerl gave birth to a boy in the house and left him under the custody of his grandfather. Leopold Mozart died in 1787 and was buried on the nearby Sebastiansfriedhof. After his death, the Tanzmeisterhaus changed owners repeatedly.

Destruction & Reconstruction of the Tanzmeisterhaus

In October 1944, the Tanzmeisterhaus was hit by a bomb. Two thirds of the building were destroyed; several other buildings in the immediate surroundings of the Makartplatz were also damaged. After the war, the ruined Tanzmeisterhaus was sold to an insurance company. The company preserved the remaining third more or less and added a modern office building on the open space. Only in 1989, the International Mozart Foundation bought the property, opened a little memorial site in the remaining parts of the Tanzmeisterhaus.

In 1994, the office building was demolished. Old plans of the Tanzmeisterhaus and authentic materials (small, solid bricks, for example) were used to reconstruct the Tanzmeisterhaus in the state that it had at the time of Mozart. The new old building was opened as the "Mozart Wohnhaus” museum soon thereafter and is now one of the main sightseeing attractions of Salzburg.

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