Castle and Cathedral District, Graz
Castle and Cathedral district in Graz can be toured on foot.
The Burg (castle) northeast of the Graz Hauptplatz, originally a massive 15th C. Imperial stronghold but much altered in later centuries, now preserves only a few remains of the original structure. Notable features are the grand courtyard with a double spiral staircase of 1499, and a smaller courtyard with portrait busts of eminent Styrians (the "Styrian Gallery of Honor").
South of the Graz Burg stands the Late Gothic Cathedral (Dom; 1438-62), on the site of an earlier church dedicated to St Giles, which is first referred to in 1174. In 1564 it became the court church, and in 1786 the seat of the Bishops of Seckau. Particularly fine is the main doorway, decorated with the coat of arms of its builder, Emperor Frederick III. On the south external wall, facing on to a small square, are the remains of a Late Gothic fresco (1485), the "Landplagenbild", depicting Graz threatened by pestilence, the Turks and a plague of locusts. The interior of this church, mainly Baroque, is impressive. The wide nave is separated from the choir by a narrow triumphal arch, flanking which are two fine reliquaries of 1477. The choir is dominated by the high altar of colored marble (1730-33). The altar-piece portrays the "Miracle of St Giles". In the aisles are fine monuments and altars with beautiful statues and paintings. The finely carved pulpit dates from 1710. The fresco of St Christopher in the cloister chapel is part of the original Gothic interior.
Baroque Mausoleum of the Emperor Ferdinand II
To the south of the Graz Cathedral stands the sumptuous Baroque Mausoleum of the Emperor Ferdinand II (died 1637), partly designed by J. B. Fischer von Erlach. It consists of the domed St Catherine's Chapel and a burial vault to its south. In the center of the vault stands a marble sarcophagus in which Maria of Bavaria, the Emperor's mother, is interred. The grave of Ferdinand II lies to the left of the altar under two marble slabs; on his right lies his first wife.
Northeast of the Graz Burg you will find the Karmeliterplatz, a charming square laid out after 1578 as the central feature of an extension to the town, and named after the former Carmelite convent which was secularized in 1784 and now houses the police headquarters. On the eastern side of the square stands a memorial to those who fell in the Second World War, and on the southern side the Palais Galler (c. 1690), with a Trinity Column (1680) in front of it.
Map of Graz Attractions