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Salzburg (state) facts for kids

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Flag of Salzburg Coat of arms of Salzburg
Coat of arms
Location of Salzburg
Country  Austria
Capital Salzburg
 • Total 7,156.03 km2 (2,762.96 sq mi)
 • Total 531,800
 • Density 74.315/km2 (192.475/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
ISO 3166 code AT-5
HDI (2017) 0.928
very high · 2nd
NUTS Region AT3
Votes in Bundesrat 4 (of 62)

Salzburg is a state (Land) of Austria. It is officially named Land Salzburg, colloquially Salzburgerland, to distinguish it from its eponymous capital Salzburg city and as such is the only state to be named after its capital. By its centuries-long history as an independent Prince-Bishopric, Salzburg's tradition differs from the other Austrian lands.


Alpen by Horst Michael Lechner
Typical Salzburg Alpine landscape near Sankt Koloman


Salzburg state stretches along its primary river, the Salzach running from the Central Eastern Alps in the south – reaching a height of 3,657 metres (11,998 ft) at the mountain Großvenediger – down into the Alpine foothills in the north, with an area of 7,156 km2 (2,763 sq mi). It is located in the north of the country, close to the border with the German state of Bavaria. It is surrounded by the Austrian lands of Upper Austria in the northeast, by Styria in the east, by Carinthia in the south as well as by Tyrol, South Tyrol (Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, Italy) and East Tyrol in the southwest. With 529,085 inhabitants, it is one of the country's smaller states in terms of population.

Running through the south are the main ranges of the Alpine divide (incl. the Hohe Tauern mountains) with numerous three-thousanders. The Dachstein massif and the Berchtesgaden Alps ranges of the Northern Limestone Alps border Salzburg Land to the east and north.


The state is traditionally subdivided in five major regions (Gaue), congruent with its political districts (Bezirke, see administrative divisions).

Bezirke Salzburg mit Namen
Salzburg regions
  • In the northern part:
    • Flachgau (Salzburg city and environs), the flat (German: flach) Salzburg Basin around the confluence of Salzach and Saalach, stretching from the slopes of the Salzkammergut Mountains in the east to the Untersberg massif and the Chiemgau Alps in the west.
    • Tennengau (district capital Hallein), named after the Tennen Mountains, including the broad Salzach Valley south of Salzburg and the surrounding ranges of the Limestone Alps.
  • The southern, mountainous (colloquially Innergebirg) part is divided into:
    • Pinzgau (Zell am See) in the southwest,
    • Pongau (Sankt Johann im Pongau) on Salzach and Enns, and
    • Lungau (Tamsweg) in the southeast, separated by the Niedere Tauern range.

Major cities and towns

Salzburg municipalities with town privileges:

  • AUT Salzburg (Stadt) COA.svg Salzburg city (pop. 148,521)
  • AUT Hallein COA.jpg Hallein (20,022)
  • AUT Saalfelden COA.svg Saalfelden (16,046)
  • Wappen at st johann.png Sankt Johann im Pongau (10,740)
  • AT Bischofshofen COA.svg Bischofshofen (10,352)
  • AUT Zell am See COA.svg Zell am See (9,683)
  • Wappen at seekirchen.png Seekirchen (9,945)
  • Wappen at neumarkt am wallersee.png Neumarkt am Wallersee (5,846)
  • Wappen at oberndorf bei salzburg.png Oberndorf bei Salzburg (5,600)
  • Wappen at mittersill.png Mittersill (5,443)
  • AUT Radstadt COA.jpg Radstadt (4,864)

Wals-Siezenheim, a common municipality with about 12,000 inhabitants, is known as 'Austria's largest village'.


See also: Archbishopric of Salzburg

Salt has played an important role in the region's development; Salzburg means "salt castle".

Salzburg as an independent state

Independence from Bavaria was secured in the late 14th century. The Archbishopric of Salzburg was an independent prince-bishopric and State of the Holy Roman Empire until German Mediatisation in 1803.

Electorate of Salzburg

The territory was secularized and, as the Electorate of Salzburg, given as compensation to Ferdinand III, former Grand Duke of Tuscany, the brother of Emperor Francis II.

The end of the independence

Following the Austrian defeat at Austerlitz in 1805, Salzburg was annexed by Austria as compensation for the loss of Tyrol to the Kingdom of Bavaria, and Ferdinand was transferred to the Grand Duchy of Würzburg.

Bavarian Salzburg

After Austria's defeat in 1809, the province was handed over to Bavaria in 1810.

The country divided between Bavaria and Austria

In 1816, following the defeat of Napoleon and the provision of adequate compensation to Bavaria at the Congress of Vienna, it was returned to Austria with the exception of the north-western Rupertiwinkel which remained Bavarian. The Salzburger Land was administered as the department of Salzach from Linz, the capital of Upper Austria. In 1849 the Duchy of Salzburg was established as a crown land of the Austrian Empire and, after 1866, Austria-Hungary.

World War I

Salzburg participated in World War I, as part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. 49,000 Salzburgers were called to arms, of whom 6,000 were killed.

Post-World War I Austrian Republics

In 1918 after World War I, the Duchy of Salzburg was dissolved and replaced with the State of Salzburg, as a component part initially of German Austria and subsequently of the First Republic of Austria, the separate state which was mandated by the Allied powers. (However, in the November Plebiscite 99% of Salzburgers voted in favor of union with Germany.)

Salzburg in Germany

After the plebiscite of 1938, Salzburg state and all the territory of Austria was annexed to the Third Reich.

American control

After the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, the Allies occupied the territory of Austria, being recognized as an independent territory under their rule. Salzburg was occupied by the United States.

Salzburg as an Austrian State

In 1955 Austria was again declared independent of the Allies and Salzburg was once again one of the reconstituted federal states of the second Republic Austria.

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