Klagenfurt Tourist Attractions
Klagenfurt, capital of Carinthia, lies on the edge of the wide Klagenfurt basin, which is bounded on the south by the wooded ridge of the Sassnitz range, with the Karawanken rearing up behind.
Although Klagenfurt is an important traffic junction and a busy industrial and commercial town, it has an attractive old quarter with picturesque little lanes and historic old buildings. It is also now a university town. Founded about 1161 as a market village, Klagenfurt was granted its municipal charter in 1252. The old town was destroyed by fire in 1514, whereupon the provincial Estates of Carinthia petitioned the Emperor Maximilian I to grant them possession of the now impoverished little town. It was duly transferred to them in 1518, and Klagenfurt then displaced St Veit an der Glan as capital of the province and began to expand. Between 1527 and 1558 a canal was constructed to supply water for the moat surrounding the town, and this still links Klagenfurt with the Wörther See. The line of the old fortifications is marked by a circuit of streets, the Ring, around the old part of the town, which today has many parks and gardens. Klagenfurt is the birthplace of Robert Musil (1880-1942), who became world-famous for his novel "The Man without Qualities", and of Ingeborg Bachmann (1926-73), well known for her lyric writings. A literary competition is held every year in Klagenfurt.
Neuer Platz and Dragon Fountain
The central feature of the newer part of Klagenfurt is the spacious Neuer Platz, with the massive Dragon Fountain (Lindwurmbrunnen), the heraldic emblem of Klagenfurt. This huge piece of sculpture was carved by Ulrich Vogelsang about 1590 from a single block of chloritic schist. Legend has it that the town was built on a swamp inhabited by a dragon, which was later slain. The model for the dragon's head was the skull of a woolly rhinoceros found near the town (now in the Provincial Museum). The figure of Hercules and the iron railings were added in 1636. On Neuer Platz, too, stands the Trinity Column ("Dreifaltigkeitssäule", 1689; the square used to be known as the "Dreifaltigkeitsplatz", or Trinity Square).
Maria Theresia Monument
On the eastern side of the Klagenfurt Neuer Platz can be seen a bronze statue (1873) of the Empress Maria Theresa, who reigned 1740-80. On the southern side of the base can be read the inscription "In Memory of the Great Empress".
Carinthian Provincial Art Gallery
To the east of Meuer Platz, at Burggasse 8 (once the residence of the governor of the castle), will be found the Provincial Art Gallery of Carinthia (Landesgalerie), with a collection of modern pictures and sculptures.
On the western side of Klagenfurt's Neuer Platz stands the former Palais Rosenberg, built c. 1580 and remodeled several times in the 17th C. The three-storied and gabled building has been the Town Hall (Neues Rathaus) since 1918.
Old Town Hall
The core of the oldest part of the town of Klagenfurt is the long street known as Alte Platz (now a pedestrian zone), surrounded by many handsome Baroque buildings. Among these number the Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall), with a picturesque three-storied arcaded courtyard, the Haus zur Goldenen Gans (Golden Goose: c. 1500; arcades) and the Stiegenhaus.The Altes Rathaus was formerly the Welzer Palace and is now the Rosenberg Palace. The Rosenberg coat of arms is located above the side entrance. There is also an arcaded courtyard and a Fromiller painting.
Parish Church of St Egyd or Giles
To the north end of the Klagenfurt Alte Platz stands the parish church of St Egyd or Giles (Stadtpfarrkirche), a handsome but rather gloomy building of the 17th-18th C., with many gravestones and coats of arms on the external walls and a trompe l'Üil ceiling painting inside. There are extensive views from the 91m/300ft high tower with its onion dome.
Between the Alter Platz and the Heiligengeistplatz stands Klagenfurt's most imposing secular building, the Landhaus, built in 1574-90 on the site of an earlier moated ducal castle, with two impressive onion-domed staircase towers and a two-storied arcaded courtyard. The fine Heraldic Hall (Grosser Wappensaal) was built in 1739-40 after a fire; on the walls hang 665 coats of arms belonging to members of the Carinthian Estates, and on the ceiling can be seen a painting by J.F. Fromiller depicting the Estates paying homage to Emperor Charles VI (1728). In the Lesser Heraldic Hall (Kleiner Wappensaal) will be found another 298 coats of arms. In the garden can be seen Roman stones with inscriptions.Remains of the old arsenal can still be found in the North Wing.
Southeast of the Neuer Platz in Klagenfurt rises the Cathedral (Domkirche), built by the Protestant Estates of Carinthia in 1578-91. It was handed over to the Jesuits in 1604, and since 1787 has been the cathedral of the Prince-Bishop of Gurk who resides in Klagenfurt. The interior of the columned church, the design of which is defined by three galleries running right round it, has rich stucco decoration and wall and ceiling paintings of the 18th C.; the pulpit (1726) and the painting (1752) by Daniel Gran on the high altar are also worthy of note, as are the side chapels with much marble decoration.
Gurk Diocesan Museum
The house next to the Klagenfurt Cathedral contains the Gurk Diocesan Museum. On display are church vestments, religious art, altarpieces and stained glass, including the "Mary Magdalene Glass" (Magdalenenscheibe, 1170), considered by many experts as possibly the oldest piece of stained glass in Austria.This is one of the main art and treasury museums in Carinthia.
South of the Klagenfurt Cathedral lies Arnulfplatz, on the eastern side of which stands the handsome building occupied by the Provincial Government (Landesregierung).
Carinthian Provincial Museum
Immediately east of the Provincial Government building in Klagenfurt's Arnulfplatz is the Provincial Museum (Landesmuseum), built in 1879-84, with rich collections of material on the natural history, art and life of Carinthia, and also on the history of the town (including a model of Klagenfurt as it was about 1800). Particularly notable among the medieval items are the "Fürstenstein" (Prince's Stone) from Karnburg, on which until 1414 the duke elected by the peasantry was enthroned, and the ceremonial sword of the Knights of St George from Millstatt (1499). Items of interest in the natural history section include the Ice Age rhinoceros skull which provided the model for the Dragon Fountain and relief models of the Grossglockner mountains, the Villach Alps and the eastern Karawanken. In the museum park can be seen Roman gravestones and votive stones from Virunum in the Zollfeld and other sites. The Concert Hall (Konzerthaus) to the east of the museum also houses the Little Theater (Kammerspiele).
South of Klagenfurt's Arnulfplatz, on the far side of the Viktringer Ring, the Koschat Museum exhibits relics and mementos of the Klagenfurt composer Thomas Koschat (1845-1914), author of many songs (Lieder).
Trams run along Ursulinenstrasse to the extensive wooded area on the northwestern edge of Klagenfurt. Here will be found the Municipal Theater (Stadttheater: opera, operetta and plays), the Stadthaus with its Classical triangular gable-end and the Künstlerhaus (Art Exhibitions).The city theater is an Art Nouveau, built between 1908 and 1910 at the site of the 17th century ball room.
The Bishop's Palace (Bischöfliche Residenz), northeast of the Klagenfurt town center, was originally built at the end of the 18th C. as a palace for the sister of Emperor Joseph II.
In the south of the town of Klagenfurt lie the Stadthalle (civic hall), the ice rink and the fair and exhibition grounds; many trade fairs are held annually in Klagenfurt, including the Klagenfurter Messe (Klagenfurt Fair: August), the Fachmesse für Gastronomie und Fremdenverkehr (Gastronomy and Tourism Fair: March) and the Fachmesse für Freizeitgestaltung (Leisure Fair: April).The City Hall is a Renaissance palace of the Counts of Rosenberg. Built in 1650, the interior also includes a beautiful staircase.
Golden Goose House
This is thought to be Klagenfurt's oldest house still in existence. The house dates back at least to 1489. It was intended to serve the Emperor as a pied-à-terre in exchange for the castle he ceded to the Diet for the construction of the Landhaus. The courtyard includes a relief with Centaur and a female figure, which dates back to the 16th century, as well as fine arcades.
Klagenfurt boast's Austria's first pedestrian zones on Kramergasse. The second zone is on the Alter Platz. Various architecturally-important houses can be found in these zones.
The Stadthaus is built on the former Woelfnitz-Bastion ramparts. The site was the first exit point of the water supply system, which provided water to the city moat. The building also includes a classicist three-cornered gable.
Carinthian Provincial Botanical Gardens
The palace has a 16th century core, with an added 17th century arcaded courtyard with beautiful Empire decor. There is also a three-sectioned doorway.
The Floriani statue is located on Heuplatz. It was erected in 1781, to commemorate the fire that broke out the previous year.
The palace was built between 1734 and 1738. It has an impressive façade, with pilasters, the Göess coat of arms, a grilled staircase and a stone balustrade.
Ossiach Abbots' Residence
This is the town residence of the Abbots of the Ossiach Benedictine Monastery. The building is beautifully decorated and has an arcaded courtyard in the south wing.
Church of the Holy Ghost
This was originally a Gothic structure but was redecorated in the Baroque style. Note the six coats of arms carved in wood and a font dating from 1623.
St Mary's Benedictine Church
The church was commissioned by the Catholic nobility in 1613 and built by Adam Kolnig as part of the Franciscan Monastery. There have been frequent alterations since, but the original octagonal tower and stucco decor still remain. The church was handed over to the Benedictines in 1807.Also note the Crucifixion by painter Fromiller and memorial plaques for the Barons of Herbertstein and the Countess Rosenberg.
The Trinity Column in Klagenfurt was erected in 1680 in commemoration of the plague of the plague of 1679-80.
The Mining Museum in Klagenfurt has informative displays on mining and metals.
Map of Klagenfurt Attractions