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For Loving Couples: the Marble Hall at Schloss Mirabell

The Marble Hall is one of the most popular wedding venues in the world – and was built as the symbol of an everlasting love. While concerts are also held in the Marble Hall at Schloss Mirabell, now as then it belongs above all to lovers.

Even as we make our way up the first steps of the famous marble staircase, the murmur of many excited voices seeps down to us. Between the gentle tones of romantic music, we make out a mix of laughter and muted sobs. When we reach the top of the stairs, we are finally able to see what we had already heard at the foot of the staircase. Surrounded by relatives and friends, the happy couple, she, beautiful and totally in white, he in dark tails; both of them glancing with joyous anticipation at the big wooden winged door. For awaiting them behind it isn’t only the registrar with his weighty question for the couple, but also what is probably the world’s most beautiful wedding hall.

From every corner of the globe

Before we tip-toe away, we catch a few sentences that are flitting back and forth between members of the excited wedding party. Listening as closely and unobtrusively as we possibly can, we are in agreement: The bridal couple and their guests are from Spain. Which puts them in good company: People from every far-flung corner of the globe come to Salzburg every year in order to exchange their marriage vows in the Marble Hall at Schloss Mirabell. In this magnificent room, totally clad in marble, imitation marble and gilded stucco, there is not a dry eye in sight.

An enduring symbol

Ah yes, true love. The reason the Marble Hall exists today. To be precise, we are talking about the love between prince-archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau and Salome Alt, the daughter of a commoner and love-of-the-life of the ruler of the Salzburg prince-archbishopric of that time. In 1606, Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau had Schloss Mirabell built, though known back then as Schloss Altenau. Nowadays, the beautiful Marble Hall isn’t only used for weddings, but also for concerts and receptions. Though “first fiddle”, as it were, is always played by brides and grooms from around the world.

Of cherubs, Pegasus and love

As we walk back down the stairs, we run our hands along the bannister and admire the balustrade made of white marble, which is populated by an array of cheerful, chubby-cheeked cherubs. It is rumored that, if you give them a little slap on their bottoms, it will bring luck to your marriage. We give it a try – after all, everybody can use a little bit of extra luck from time to time. We step out into the balmy late-afternoon air and opt for the exit in the direction of Mirabell Garden. There, we encounter the next wedding party, already boisterously celebrating, while the red-cheeked photographer attempts to get everyone lined up in half-way orderly fashion in front of the Pegasus Fountain. A wedding photo with Hohensalzburg Fortress in the background is a must, of course, a shot that doubtlessly graces every wedding album. Watching the high-spirited goings-on from a safe distance, we sit down on one of the benches next to the walls of Schloss Mirabell, flowers in full bloom before our eyes and the laughter of the happy couple in our ears. And we imagine how Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau must have surprised Salome with this magnificent palace and the unique Marble Hall. How she must have delighted in this gift which has stood the test of time so marvelously.
Ah yes, love indeed.