Steingasse is one of the oldest streets on the right side of the Salzburg historic district. It runs parallel to the River Salzach at the foot of the Kapuzinerberg, its medieval charm captivating visitors from around the world.
Aside from the River Salzach, which was a vital transportation artery for salt – the “white gold of the mountains” – the Steingasse, which entered the city from the south, also had a very important role to play. It was the most traveled road into the mountains, and to Italy beyond, making it one of the most vital north-south routes for medieval commerce! That said, local artisans and merchants also did business along this narrow city street. Pottery makers, dyers and tanners – in particular, those trades that had the greatest need for water – tended to gather here. Until the flow of the Salzach was regulated in 1862, virtually all of the imposing houses here, most of which stand to this day, had magnificent back gardens and direct access to the river.
The Steingasse today
A stroll through the Steingasse is a leisurely experience, especially in the late morning when the sun illuminates the facades of the old houses so beautifully. Nowadays, there are only a few shops in this street. The wide Imbergstraße has supplanted the narrow Steingasse as a main artery. The houses along Steingasse are now mainly used as residential buildings. Joseph Mohr, the famous poet of the Christmas song “Silent Night”, once lived at No. 31 Steingasse. At the end of the street, we find the so-called “Engelwirtsbrunnen” – an impressive wall fountain made of marble.
The Steingasse is the ideal starting point for a walk to the top of the Kapuzinerberg. The relatively minimal effort that goes into the hike up there is rewarded by one of the most beautiful panoramic views of the city on the far side of the river. Half way up the steps (known as the “Kapuziner-” or “Imbergstiege”), somewhat tucked away in a corner is the enchanting small church of St. Johann am Imberg, which the Mozart children frequently enjoyed visiting.