The Wirth Institute takes us on a journey through the Prince-Bishopric of Salzburg

The CMN booth outside of the Senate Chamber for the talk and tour

The CMN booth outside of the Senate Chamber for the talk and tour

The Canadian Mountain Network kicked off it’s 2017 International Mountain Day celebrations with a riveting presentation from the University of Alberta’s own Joseph Patrouch on the Prince-Bishops of Salzburg and the foundation of their economic power through control of natural resources such as salt, wood, and precious metals.

The lecture was followed by a tour of the “Salt, Sword, and Crozier” exhibit in the Peel Library, guided by the co-curators of the exhibit themselves: Joseph Patrouch, professor and Director of the Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies, and Felice Lifshitz, professor, and cultural historian. The exhibit showcases select titles and coins from the University of Alberta’s Salzburg collection. Purchased from the Salzburg seminary library, the collection contains roughly 3,500 titles in total.

Highlighting the importance of salt as the economic cornerstone of the Prince-Bishopric of Salzburg, Dr. Patrouch delivered a compelling lecture on the role of various factors such as geography, politics, and economics in the salt trade in Central Europe. One particular feature was the mountainous geography of the region and the role that the tumultuous alpine rivers of Central Europe played in the transportation of resources.

This event is a part of a series of talks and tours put on by the Wirth Institute. Established in 1998, is an interdisciplinary group of programs in the fields of Central European, Habsburg, and Austrian, history, society, and culture.

Stay tuned to this blog at and check out a comprehensive list of associated events at the U of A and across Canada at