The World of Puppets Museum – Salzburg, Austria - Atlas Obscura
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Salzburg, Austria

The World of Puppets Museum

A small marionette collection located within the dark cellars of an 11th-century Austrian castle. 

In the Prince’s Cellars at the Hohensalzburg Castle, you’ll find a collection of historic marionettes from the iconic Salzburg Marionette Theatre. The museum is unexpected and interesting, though viewing the stringed figures trapped within the fortress’s dark, tunnel-like basement is also a somewhat creepy experience.

The puppets are spread throughout a handful of rooms, frozen within scenes set inside glass cases. Along with the marionettes collected from the city’s famous theater, the museum also contains items from around the world. Some of the exhibits feature puppets that are hundreds of years old.

A few displays are based on musical performances like The Sound of Music and Mozart’s The Magic Flute. There are also sections that show historical episodes, like farmers squaring off against the castle walls in the peasant uprising of 1525.

Beyond admiring the historic puppets, you can even try your hand at controlling one (which is way harder than it seems). There are also some puppets for sale, should you feel compelled to take one home with you.

There’s no fee to enter and look around. It’s a small museum, made up of only a couple rooms, so a visit may last only a few minutes. The dim lighting and dungeon atmosphere add an unsettling feeling to the already unnerving puppets.

Know Before You Go

This museum is in the Prince's Cellar near the top of the tram that takes people up to the fortress. If you’re going to the fortress anyway, the marionettes are worth a quick stop.