Zwerglgarten (Dwarf Garden) – Salzburg, Austria - Atlas Obscura

The Zwerglgarten, or “Dwarf Garden,” in Salzburg, Austria was created in 1715 by Prince Archbishop Franz Anton Harrach. Many of these creepy dwarf statues were modeled after dwarves who lived in the court and served as entertainers to the archbishop. The rest were inspired by peasants and foreigners.

The Mirabell Palace and the adjoining garden, which is filled with statues, fountains, and geometric floral designs, was built by Prince Archbishop Wolf Dietrich in 1606 for his mistress and her children.

The Dwarf Garden resides at the north end of the beautiful Mirabell Gardens, but for a time, the gardens were dwarf-less, thanks to a very superstitious resident of Mirabell Gardens.

“In concern for his wife and their unborn child, Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria had the disfigured creatures with their goiters and hunchbacks removed from the Dwarf Garden (they were to be destroyed). Fortunately, they were only auctioned off and the dwarfs were forgotten for over one hundred years. Not until 1921 did the Salzburg Society for the Preservation of Local Amenities recall this part of Salzburg’s cultural heritage to mind and convince the city councilors to place the nine dwarfs then in the city’s possession in their historical positions.” (

Today, these “disfigured creatures with their goiters and hunchbacks” have returned to their rightful place at Mirabell, standing in a semi-circle, a charming and delightful blemish in a perfectly landscaped garden.

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