In 1612, Salzburg's prince archbishop Markus Sittikus von Hohenems commissioned the construction of a summer residence at the foot of the Hellbrunn Hill. The country estate was to be able to compete with the magnificent southern models and so, after a short construction period, the Hellbrunn summer residence was built on the southern outskirts of Salzburg. The palace, one of the most magnificent Renaissance buildings north of the Alps, captivates visitors with its extensive park and water features that are unique in the world. Thanks to the many springs of the Hellbrunn Hill, water has been the defining design element of the palace from the very beginning. The natural stone quarry was transformed into a stage by Markus Sittikus, creating the oldest open-air theatre in Europe: the Stone Theatre.