Salome Alt
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The Burgher Woman and the Archbishop


Around 400 hundred years ago, a remarkable love story was exciting the attention of both Catholic clergy and burghers. Salome Alt (1568–1633), the beautiful daughter of a rich Protestant tradesman in Salzburg, and Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau (1559–1617), the power-conscious archbishop of Salzburg, enjoy a connubial but illicit partnership for twenty years and have fifteen children. What shocks the ecclesiasts of the day is not so much the relationship itself but the provocation they see in the unembarrassed way the couple present themselves on the public scene.


Salome Alt is renowned as a clever adviser and discerning hostess. Wolf Dietrich persuades Emperor Rudolf II to elevate her to the noble estate and builds her a residence with spacious gardens: Altenau Palace – now Mirabell Palace. Despite all hostility and adversities, they remain true to each other when Wolf Dietrich is forced to spend his final years as a prisoner of the Pope in the castle of Hohensalzburg and Salome Alt lives in exile in the city of Wels until her death.


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