Graz Tourist Attractions
The old capital of Styria and Austria's second largest town, Graz is the economic and commercial focus of the whole region. It lies on the River Mur, which here emerges from a narrow defile to enter the fertile basin known as the Grazer Feld.
Above the town is a prominent hill, the Schlossberg. Graz, the seat of the provincial government and a major industrial town, has a University, a Technical College, various institutes and an Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Its tourist attractions include many historic old buildings; these and the old town with numerous Baroque facades are of great interest. Excavation has shown that there were settlements here as early as 800 AD, but the town is first mentioned in the records in 1128. The name comes from the Slavonic "gradec" (small castle). Graz was of some consequence in trading under the Traungau family and later under the Babenbergs. In 1233 it passed into the hands of the Habsburgs, and in 1281 King Rudolf I granted the town special privileges. From 1379-1619 Graz was the residence of the Leopoldine branch of the Habsburgs. As a stronghold of the Habsburg empire against attack from the East the town was strongly fortified in the 15th-17th centuries and several times withstood sieges by the Turks. The architecture of the town was influenced by Italian models, among the fine buildings erected during this period being the sumptuous palace of Prince Hanns Ulrich von Eggenberg. In the 19th century Graz became an important cultural magnet. The Habsburg period came to an end in 1918. In 1938 the city reached its present extent with the incorporation of a number of adjoining communes. It suffered considerable damage during the Second World War but this was subsequently repaired.The Old Town of Graz was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1999 due to the blend of typical buildings from different time periods and architectural styles. In 2003, Graz held the title of European Capital of Culture. This designation is given out by the European Union to allow a city to highlight its cultural life for a one year period.
Schlossberg Hill in Graz is the site of many interesting attractions. Amongst these is the landmark Clock Tower, an open-air theater, the Garnison museum and a miniature railroad known as the Fairytale Grotto Line.
Sights on the far bank of the River Mur
Convent of the Brothers of Mercy
In Graz, several bridges lead over the river to the districts on its right bank. There stands the Convent of the Brothers of Mercy (Kloster der Barmherzigen Brüder), with a church built in 1769.
From the Convent of the Brothers of Mercy on Graz's right bank it is only a short distance to the former Minorite Friary (Minoritenkloster; now housing the diocesan museum), with the Mariahilfkirche (1607-11) containing an image of the Virgin, the "Madonna of Graz", painted by the architect, Giovanni Pietro de Pomis.
On a hill about 3km/2mi west of Graz stands Schloss Eggenberg (1625-35), a Baroque domain with four towers, fine state apartments containing murals, and rich Roccoco fittings. The walls and ceiling of the banqueting hall, a masterpiece of Baroque architecture, are painted with the signs of the zodiac and the planetary system.The reception room is known as the Room of the Planets. It includes a suite of 24 rooms decorated by Styrian artist Hans Adam Wissenkirchen.
Address: Eggenberger Allee 90, A-8011 Graz, Austria
Opening hours: Mar 20 to Oct 31: 10am-5pm; Closed: Mon
Entrance fee: FREE
Eggenberg Castle Hunting Museum
There is a Hunting Museum on the first floor of the Schloss Eggenberg, and in the grounds a deer-park and lapidarium housing the collection of Roman remains from the Landesmuseum Joanneum.
Eggenberg Castle Collection of Styrian Antiques - Strettweg Votine Chariot
This is the centerpiece of the Styrian Antiques Collection, housed in Eggenberg Castle.The bronze chariot is at least 2,700-years-old, dating back to the eighth century B.C. It was found in a tumulus at Strettweg, near Judenburg.A female figure stands in the middle of the chariot holding an offering in a bowl. The chariot is surrounded by soldiers on horseback and on foot.
Austrian Open-Air Museum at Stübing
At Stübing, on the right bank of the Mur by way of the northwestern suburb of Gösting (18th C. Schloss), will be found the very interesting Austrian Open-Air Museum (Österreichisches Freilichtmuseum), with old peasant houses, barns and mills from the various Austrian provinces. It can be reached from Graz by bus. 10km/6mi further north, at Peggau, is the Lurgrotte, a stalactitic cave through which flows a small stream.
Castle and Lock Museum
Robert Stolz Museum
Several markets operate in Graz throughout the year. The farmermarkets (Bauernmärkte) are held at Kaiser-Josef-Platz, Lendplatz and Hauptplatz regularly.Fleamarkets (Flohmärkte) are held at Karmeliterplatz and Messeparkplatz-Fröhlichgasse at various times throughout the year.Art Markets (Kunstmärkte) are also held at Färberplatz at Easter, in May, June, October and November.
This annual three-week festival runs from late June to mid-July and includes events such as operas, classical concerts and seminars. Each year the festival focuses on one composer and includes a seminar focusing on the musician's life and work.There are over 25 annual evening performances and the venues include the Schlossberg, the Congress, the Minoritensaal, Eggenberg Palace and Stainz Parish Church.
Styrian Autumn Festival
This annual two-month festival runs from early October to late November in celebration of the autumn harvest. The festival is renowned for showcasing contemporary theater, music and visual arts. Folk performances and some classical works are also included in the rich program.
Arnold Schwarzenegger Museum
Map of Graz Attractions