It was grey and raining for my visit to the Mirabellgarten, but the flower displays were superb and the flat lighting was on my side for a change, enabling some good colour saturation and a chance to hang on to some shadow detail in the pictures – provided I could mostly avoid the white sky.
The gardens were laid out in 1690 by the influential Baroque architect Fischer von Erlach – whose long CV also includes Schönbrunn Palace and the Karlskirche in Vienna – at the request of the ruling Prince Archbishop Johann Ernst Graf von Thun, and they were redesigned again around 1730 by Franz Anton Danreiter. The 1661 copper statue of the prancing winged horse Pegasus, by Kaspar Gras, was moved here in 1913 to provide a focus for the gardens, after standing in several other places in the city; it provided me with some good foreground interest for my distant view of the Hohensalzburg through the rain. The gardens were opened to the public by Emperor Franz Joseph in 1854.
Not far from Pegasus is the politically-incorrect Zwerglgarten [Dwarf Garden], which dates back to Archbishop Franz Anton Graf Harrach, at the beginning of the 18th Century, who had a dwarf theatre with 28 dwarves set up near the palace. These little people – attached to almost all of the Baroque European courts for entertainment – were highly respected and well-treated because of their integrity and loyalty. The statues here were removed in the 19th Century, but were rediscovered in 1921 and nine of them have been restored and replaced. The original garden gnomes!