Walking through Salzburg’s cathedral, a masterpiece of beautifully-defined baroque decoration, a thought strikes. “This must have cost a fair amount.”

The same thought comes to mind while lapping up the ridiculously over-the-top decoration in the Residenz cross the square, or while clocking any number of the palaces dotted around the city. Salzburg’s opulence is totally out of context with its historic importance.

Salzburg was never the seat of a massive empire, or even a state that people anywhere else would really pay attention to. Until Napoleon came along and brought everything tumbling down in the 19th century, it was ruled by autocratic Prince Archbishops as an ecclesiastic microstate.

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