Graz City Travel Guide
Graz is the capital city of Styria, a region in the southeast corner of Austria. The city of Graz is located in between rolling hills, to the north, east and west, only open to the south. The first settlements date back to 800 AD and through the medieval times, the Styrian landowners, took over the city and turned it into a flourishing trading center. Because of its easily fortified and nearly invulnerable Schlossberg in the heart of the city, Graz has always been a very important strategic location. Throughout the reign of the Babenbergers and the Habsburgs, the city was considered to be the second capital of Austria.
Graz's architecture is dominated largely by the struggle of the Reformists and the Habsburgs' Counter Reformation. Protestant buildings like the Landhaus and many different palaces encounter buildings like the old University, the Mausoleum and the Minoritenkirche, were erected to represent Graz's strict Catholic beliefs. The Counter Reformation was very successful in placing Protestants in the minority, a trend which remains to the present day.
The most important example of Baroque architecture in Graz is without doubt the Schloss Eggenberg. A very significant landmark of the city is the romantic Uhrturm, a tower still using its original mechanism from 1712 and a traditional location for locals's first kiss. The fortress on the Schlossberg has had a big influence on the layout of the city and contains the largest collection of early modern weaponry and suits of armour to be found in Europe. In the 19th century Graz grew to be a large city and many buildings that are representative of this development e.g. the Karl-Franzens-University, the City Hall and the opera house were erected.
Today Graz is the second largest city in Austria and home to around 230.000 people. It offers a great deal of cultural opportunities, like the Styriade, an annual exhibition, dedicated to contemporary art, theatre and performance art.