The Austrian ski resort Radstadt is not like its neighbors, if only because the cultural-historical center with real ancient towers is attached to the ski slopes. The city is located as if in a defensive ring – on one side it is protected by mountains, and on the other – by a fortress wall. And from this he has some kind of absolutely cinematic look. We were also lucky enough to visit the Night Watchman night and hour and a half, once a month conducted by the tourism office, and now we know that the walls of this Medieval city in the Alps still keep the memory of important historical events of the Salzburg region.
Of course, we were not lucky with the weather: it was sleet this evening, it was chilly and uncomfortable outside, but it didn’t stop those who wanted to explore Radstadt’s secrets: at 8.30 pm a whole group of fifteen interesting tourists gathered near the Watchtower. The guide, wearing a black cape and hat, with a prop in his hand — a lantern and a pole-ax — greeted the enthusiasts with the famous watch song “Alle meine liabn Herrn und Frauen, lasst Euch sagn …” and then led the entire procession along the ancient walls along the road Millennium, laid in honor of the millennium of the Austrian state and has a thousand steps. Along the entire route there are signs with interesting facts, so you can explore the city on your own (although all the information is in German, so the English-speaking guide turned out to be very useful).
Our guide during the night walk provided us with the necessary historical references. So, he told us that as early as the 4th century BC, there was a Celtic settlement on the site of Radstadt, but the history of the city begins only from the 7th century AD, when Germanic tribes settled on the territory. The settlement received its present name in the 11th-12th centuries (many historians believe that it came from the word “wheel”, since Radstadt was an obligatory stopping place for many merchants traveling in carts). In the 12th century, the city was fortified, and at the same time it became part of the Salzburg archdiocese (the only settlement in the mountains that received the town charter from the then Archbishop Rudolf Gokhenek).
There were still many remarkable facts in the history of Radstadt: he gained his privileged position after successfully repelling the uprising of five thousand farmers during the Peasant War in 1525-1526. Then the city was awarded the title “Always devotee” and its main gift – Letters of Freedom. But in 1861, when the lands of Salzburg were ceded to Austria, a completely different story began. Unfortunately, due to numerous fires, there is very little evidence of all these bright events, but the atmosphere of an important historical center is still preserved here. It can be felt in the Capuchin Tower (Kapuzinerturm) with a unique wooden roof design, made without a single nail, which now houses the Museum of Cultural Heritage. His visit is one of the points of the night tour.
The next shock is a mini-concert of organ music, the author of which is Paul Hofheimer (the great 15th-century composer, born in Radstadt), organized specifically for the “night watchmen” in the parish Ascension Church, which was rebuilt several times due to fires (it reached us in the form of a trihedral basilica in the Romanesque-Gothic style). And at the end of the day we were waited by the enthusiasts with the famous music. Well, and a toast to the impressive past and not less attractive present Radstadt, who is always glad to his guests. The night walk is free all year round, information about the dates and times of the next excursion should be clarified at the resort’s tourism office.