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Graz Travel guide

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The name Graz is Slavic and means small castle or fortification. The oldest settlement dates back to the year 800 a.d.

In 2003 Graz was cultural capital of Europe. Graz was the centre of European cultural life in 2003 and was able to position itself as a cultural intermediary between Northwestern and Southeastern Europe and as a link between all of the continent's cultures.

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Travel Guide

Graz Sights, sightseeing, culture:

Travel Guide

The colourful and exciting cultural scene of Graz offers events for everyone's taste - from classic to modern art.

As one walks through Graz, one has a feeling of being in a city that is totally in harmony with the gorgeous nature surrounding it: in fact, it is not easy to tell where the green parks of Austria's second-largest city end and where the forests and meadows of "green" Styria begin. Even in the perfectly preserved medieval city center, nature and urban life complement each other delightfully. The citizens of Graz are so fond of nature that they made certain that the very heart of the city would not lack for green oases. Indeed, the romantic Schlossberg with the Graz landmark, the Clock Tower (Uhrturm), is an integral part of the city and a favorite destination for leisure strolls.

The old city center, which has been maintained with much tender loving care and attention to detail, deservedly won a series of prizes and many accolades from the Council of Europe and other organizations as an outstanding example of faithful and careful preservation of urban heritage.

This green hill rises up 473 m above the unique red-tile roofs cape of Graz. At one time the Schlossberg housed a fortress of which only little remains today. More remnants such as the casemates, which are today a beautifully restored open-air stage. (Many routes to the top. The casual alternative: the Schloßbergbahn).

A highlight of any Schloßberg tour and the symbol of the city is the Clock tower. Its heart has been beating for Graz since 1712 - with the original works and one of the oldest bells in the province (1382). The tower with ist characteristic wooden wall-passage is not only twined around with ivy, but also numerous love stories. And talking of symbols: a lot of people from Graz have their first kiss here.

The Schloßbergbahn has been carrying passengers up the 61 % gradient to the top of the Schloßberg since 1894. And for the trips back down, we highly recommend the steps of the Kriegssteig hewn in stone during World War II that lead down to the pitcuresque Schloßbergplatz.

A real pice de résistance next to the Landhaus in Graz. Since 1551 all manner of weaponry has been collected and preserved in the Provincial Armoury. Today the Landhaus boasts the world's largest collection of historical arms. 30,000 exhibits are proof positive.

Graz is a city of the Italian Renaissance; the arcaded courtyard of the Landhaus is the icing on the cake. The house and its courtyard, a work of art of the fortress builder Domenico dell' Allio dating back to the 16th century, form the backdrop for many an atmospheric concert and open-air performance.

Located on the south edge of the main square with its numerous market stalls. In actual fact, it is the third town hall to stand exactly on this spot. At the centre of the main square stands the Archduke Johann fountain, in commemoration of the "Styrian Prince", founder of the provincial museum Joanneum that was to give rise to the University of Technology.

The peculiar name of this house on the corner of the Main Square and Sporgasse comes from the German phrase "ums Eck lugen" (peering round the corner). The Luegg with its lavish Baroque stucco decoration has been the starting point for much hustle and bustle ever since the 13th century. So our modern-day "shopping mile" in Graz is older than you might think.

You won't have to "sack" the town to buy the most wonderful antiques in shops along the Sackstrasse. At the corner to the Schloßbergplatz is located the beautiful Palais Attems, a Baroque jewel housing the offices of the avantgard festival "steirischer Herbst" and the music "styriarte". And directly opposite is the Schloßbergstiege leading up to the clock tower via the Herberstein garden.

Emperor Friedrich III built the Gothic cathedral from 1438 as a city parish and court church. The architect Pietro de Pomis designed the mausoleum by order of Emperor Ferdinand II from 1614. Together with the Burg, Schauspielhaus and the old Jesuit university, it forms the so-called "city crown of Graz". Tip: Take a look inside the cathedral!

The impressive Burg houses the seat of the Styrian provincial government. Here, you can marvel at the famed late Gothic double spiral staircase dating back to 1499. When the sun shines through the the windows the sandstone shines in many colours.

The Opera house was built in 1898/1899 after the plans of Europes most renowned theatre architects Fellner and Helmer. Modernism and tradition are combined in an impressive manner: initially a bone of contention, Hartmut Skerbischs "light-sword" has now come to be a symbol for cosmopolitan attitudes.

In view of the fact that the "fruit and veg garden of Styria" starts just outside Graz, it is hardly surprising that the Farmer´s markets are characteristic of the city. And always worth a visit: the Farmer´s markets at Kaiser- Josef- Platz and Lendplatz. Here, you will be buying Styrian specialitiers like the renowned pumpkin seed oil or Käferbohnen.

The Sporgasse is of the most romantic streets in the whole city, winding its way up the Schloßberg, narrow and steep. A sight worth seeing is the idyllic courtyard of the house of the Teutonic Order of Knights at number 22 paved with stones from the river Mur, the socalled "Murnockerln".

Keen eyes will discover a Turkish warrior just below the cornice of the Palais Saurau.

The 100- year- old carved portal of the court bakery Edegger in the Hofgasse decorated with parquetry is a special gem of Graz. Since 1569 the family business has been opening up the delicacies of Styrian baking tradition to all visitors to the city.

The Glockenspielplatz: Stop by at 11 am, 3 pm or 6 pm - it is well worth it. Two sides of a window open up and out come a wood-carved couple in traditional costume, turning to the sound of the chimes. They have been doing their rounds for almost 100 years now, never a minute too late.

Graz has been an important university city of international repute since 1585. (Studying at the only faculty of jazz in all Europe is in great demand). More than 40,000 students guarantee that the nightlife in Graz will stand up to closer examination.

The Palm house is a blossoming example of modern architecture, designed by Volker Giencke, a representative of the Grazer Schule.

A different view for every day of the year : 365 windows! Construction of the biggest, most luscious stately home in the province was commenced in 1625 after the style of mannerism. Inside, the Baroque and Rococo will enthrall you. Today, the Chateau Eggenberg is a venue for numerous music events. The enormous park is just the job for games of hide- and- seek.

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