Murau Tourist Attractions
The old town of Murau nestles amid extensive forests in the upper valley of Styria's principal river the Mur, at the foot of the Stolzalpe, which rises to over 1,800m/5,900ft. In summer Murau is a good base for excursions, walks and climbs in the surrounding valleys and hills; in winter the Frauenalpe in the south (2,004m/6,577ft) and the Kreischberg in the northwest (2,050m/6,728ft) offer excellent skiing.
Parish Church of St Matthew
Above the left bank of the Mur in Murau stands the Early Gothic parish church of St Matthew (13th C.). It contains some fine frescos, mainly 14th C., and a Gothic Crucifixion group, which once formed part of the main altar, later to form part of the nave when the church was remodeled in Baroque. In front of the church entrance will be found a fine "lantern of the dead".
Higher up from Murau's Parish Church of St Matthew on the left bank of the Mur stands the handsome Schloss Obermurau, the seat of the Schwarzenburg family. Originally a Liechtenstein castle, it was converted in the 17th C. to a four winged Renaissance building with a beautiful arcaded courtyard, chapel and staterooms. Also of interest are the 14th C. cemetery chapel of St Anne, with Late Gothic stained glass in the choir and fine frescos, as well as the church of St Giles (St Ägidius), the oldest church in the town (Romanesque, with 14th C. frescos). South of the Mur lies the Kalvarienberg (Calvary), with the prominent St Leonard's Church 15th C., accessible through the cloisters) and the ruins of Burg Grünfels, destroyed in the 13th C.
Mur Valley Railway
The normal trains which run in the Mur valley are modern stock and diesels; however, a few steam locomotives remain in use for nostalgic "Oldtimer" journeys. The Mur Valley Railway (Murtalbahn) operates in summer between Tamsweg and Unzmarkt. Once a week a slow steam train runs to both those places from Murau, which lies roughly half way between them. Trips for amateur enthusiasts are also possible - book in advance at the travel agency in Murau.
The health resort of Krakaudorf near Murau (1,172m/3,845ft; pop. 550) has an interesting parish church (15th and 18th C.) with a painted coffered ceiling, altar paintings and frescos (1790). In the Late Gothic daughter church (c. 1500) can be seen a Renaissance winged altar (1521). The village has retained many old customs, such as races and bell ringing competitions held at Shrovetide.
North of Murau lies the resort of Schöder (898m/2,946ft), with a Late Gothic church (frescos) and the impressive Günsten Falls. From here a toll road crosses the Sölker-Tauern pass (1,790m/5,873ft) into the Enns valley.
The market town of St Lambrecht (1,036m/3,399ft), situated near Murau in a nature park, is the seat of a Benedictine abbey founded in the 11th C., probably by monks from St Blasien in the Black Forest. The church, with twin onion-domed towers, a beautiful pulpit and richly carved choir stalls, dates from the 14th-15th C., the other buildings from the 17th-18th C. The abbey possesses an art collection and a collection of Austrian birds. The parish church of St Peter (1424) has fine carved winged altars.