2011 viewings on 7 February, 2014.
Schloss Leopoldskron is a rococo palace and a national historic monument.
Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg Count Leopold Anton Eleutherius von Firmian (1679 – 1744) commissioned the palace in 1736 on the shores of an already existing pond after he had enriched himself in the process of expelling over 22,000 Protestants from Salzburg. He acquired the area between the palace and the Untersberg as a family estate which he passed on in May 1744 to his nephew Count Laktanz Firmian, who used it to house his large colleection of paintings, which included works of Titian Durer, Poussin, Rubens and Rembrandt.
After the death of the Archbishop in 1744 his heart was buried in the chapel of the palace, while the rest of his body was placed in the cathedral of Salzburg. The palace stayed in the possession of the Firmian family until 1837, even after the death of Count Laktanz in 1786. It was then sold to the owner of a local shooting gallery, George Zierer, who stripped the palace of most of the valuable interior decorations, including paintings, etchings and sculptures.
The palace had several owners during the 19th century until it was bought in 1918 by the famous theatre director Max Reinhardt, co-founder of the Salzburg Festival. By this time the palace was in urgent need of repair. With the help of local artisans Reinhardt spent twenty years revitalising the palace. Besides renovating the staircase, the Great Hall, and the Marble Hall, he created the Library, the Venetian Room and a garden theatre. He used the whole building for his theatre productions (the audiences had to move from room to room) and as a gathering place for writers, actors, composers and designers from across the world.
While Reinhardt was in Hollywood during World War 11 the palace was confiscated as a national treasure and “Jewish property”. Reinhardt himself, however, never returned and died in 1943 in New York. During the same year, the estate was turned over by Herman Goring to Stephanie vol Hohenlohe who was given the assignment of transforming it into a guest house for prominent artists of the Reich and to serve as a reception facility for Hitler’s Berghof home. The property was later returned to the Reinhardt estate.
After the war the palace was used by the Salzburg Seminar after it was offered in 1946 by Helene Thimig, the widow of Max Reinhardt, to Clemmens Heller who founded the “Marshall Plan of the Mind” together with Scoll Elledge and Richard Campbell, all Harvard graduate students. The Salzburg Seminar originally offered education in American history, art, literature, and culture and was later transformed into a “global forum”. The first session took place in 1947, and has been followed since then by more than 400 sessions on a wide variety of issues.
In 1959 the Salzburg Global Seminar purchased the palace and in 1973 the adjacent Meierhof, a part of the original Firmian estate. Extensive renovations and restorations also allow the palace to be used as a conference centre and venue for events beyond the session of the Salzburg Seminar.
In 1965 the film “Sound of Music” was produced in Salzburg with the grounds to those of Schloss Leopoldskron as one of the main locations. The place was never used. Only shots showing the lake were filmed there, using a replica of Leopoldskron’s terrace. The ballroom for the interior shootings, which were done in a studio, is a copy of the Venetian room from the palace.
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